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Nikola Tesla and Innovation Today46:06
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In this undated photograph, Nikola Tesla sits in front of the spiral coil of his high-voltage transformer at East Houston St., New York. (Wikimedia Commons)
In this undated photograph, Nikola Tesla sits in front of the spiral coil of his high-voltage transformer at East Houston St., New York. (Wikimedia Commons)

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The world could use a new dose of innovation. The U.S. economy, in particular, is in the market for some game-changers.

A century and more ago, Thomas Edison was shaking up life with spectacular innovations in electricity. And right there also was the great visionary of innovation, Nikola Tesla — with alternating current, hydroelectric power, the guts of the radio, and much more.

Edison won the fame battle. But Tesla is back in big way.

This hour, On Point: “Tesla-mania” — as the U.S. looks for innovation.

Plus, we’ll hear expectations for Apple’s new hot product.

Guests:

Joining us from Brussels is Daniel Michaels, correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. He wrote recently about Tesla's resurgence in a piece headlined “Long-Dead Inventor Nikola Tesla Is Electrifying Hip Techies.”

Joining us from Charlottesville, Va., is W. Bernard Carlson, professor of science, technology, and society at the University of Virginia. He’s currently working on a biography of Nikola Tesla, to be published next year by Princeton University Press .

Joining us from Davos, Switzerland, is Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. He's in Davos at the World Economic Forum, where he’ll moderate a panel with technology pioneers.

Later this hour we'll check in on today's announcement from Apple of its latest product, the much-anticipated tablet device:

Joining us from Seattle is Scott Steinberg, publisher of the technology product review site Digital Trends.  See their Apple tablet coverage.

This program aired on January 27, 2010.

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