Occasionally NPR calls me for a quick job – recording an interview for the Science Desk or All Things Considered. On Tuesday of this week, a producer called and asked if I might be available to record an interview on Long Island. Her program was doing a story about the incredible fundraising efforts of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American scientist. He is credited with inventing alternating current (AC), wireless communication and radio (you know, stuff like that). In an effort to save his original laboratory from being torn down (or being turned into condominiums), the Tesla Science Center has raised over $927,000. Everyday people from all over the world have given to the fund.
On most Wednesdays, I’m in my office editing, or in someone’s home conducting an interview for StoryKeep. It was good to be outside with the birds for a change. As I drank in the sunshine, I pointed my microphone at Jane Alcon, the President of the Tesla Science Center. She and Mary Daum, the Treasurer, talked about their organization’s efforts. As we chatted, we turned our attention to the majestic brick building, hidden behind a tall chain-linked fence. Crawling ivy covered most everything. Like a woman’s greying hair, mossy green patches announced the building’s age.
I loved being with Jane and Mary. They were down-to-earth, yet entirely sophisticated. Their passion was palatable and contagious. They’ve been working to save Tesla’s laboratory for over 17 years. Can I get a “woo-rah-rah”?
Nearing the end of our interview, Jane emphasized how much Nikola Tesla’s tenacity-of-spirit inspires her work:
“This is a lesson in tenacity. I think that everybody who has a dream should consider that they shouldn’t give up, that you never know if the next person you reach out to will be the one who can help you…I know that Tesla was very tenacious in what tried to do. I think we’re taking inspiration from him and that, and we hope that he’ll inspire other people as well – the inventors and the scientists and the tinkerers who may come up with some of the solutions for today’s problems.”
- To learn more about the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, click here.
- To listen to NPR’s Science Desk story the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, click here.
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