Use a smartphone? Thank Nikola Tesla

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Nikola Tesla, circa 1890

Here’s a question: when was the last time you picked up your smart phone?

Chances are you have one. And you probably last glanced at it – well, maybe you’re looking at it now.

One of the people you can thank for that miracle of telephony is Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. And today is his birthday. He would’ve been 158.

To celebrate, we asked Marc Seifer, who wrote “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla,” to talk about how much of an influence he had on the technology we use today.

Seifer says if there’s a Nikola Tesla today, it’s Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors. Today, Musk pledged $1 million toward a new science museum honoring Tesla in Long Island, on the site where he built a 187-foot transmission tower to experiment with wireless power transmission.