Inside the Beetle Engine

Bloomberg News catches up with Samantha Hunt, author of The Invention of Everything Else, a novel about the final days of Nikola Tesla. (It’s a great premise that I wish was better executed.) The end of the conversation between her and Bloomberg’s Manuela Hoelterhoff:

Hoelterhoff: What drew you to Tesla?

Hunt: I never had heard about him through 20 years of an American education. And so, when I finally did stumble on him, I was quite surprised to learn that he had invented AC and the wireless.

And then I learned that when he was 8 years old, he created an engine that was powered by June beetles. And I thought, “Oh, boy, this man is so creative.”

He had plans to build a ring around the equator so that just by staying stationary, you would be able to travel around the world in 24 hours. And plans that almost seem like dreams. He was thinking about wind power, thinking about solar power, thinking about batteries that are far, far more efficient than the batteries that we even have here 110 years later. He had plans to photograph thought. He thought, well, thought is electrical energy, and we record electrical energy all the time. Why shouldn’t we be able to photograph it?

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