How to listen to this talk: Marco Tempest: The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla
Discuss these questions with a partner or write short answers to them on your own.
How has electricity changed our lives? (What was life like before? What’s it like now? What’s the future of the technology?)
How about radio?
Watch and listen to this video
Listen to it twice.
If you didn’t understand everything, listen two more times with subtitles. (Click “English” in the box below the video.)
If you didn’t understand everything, visit the website and read the transcript. (Click on the box below the video that says “show transcript”. You’ll have to visit the TED site to do this.)
For any difficult parts, click on the words in the transcript. Then, you can listen to him say those parts again.
Now, if you’re really having trouble, you can listen with subtitles in your language. After you’ve listened with subtitles in your language, listen again in English.
Who is this about?
What talents did he have?
What future did he imagine?
What mistake did he make?
Why did he do what he did?
What was his question at the end?
Who are other great thinkers? What did they do?
In your country, who are some great thinkers of the past and today?
Are great thinkers always respected while they live?
If you could have a conversation with a great thinker from the past, who would you choose and why?
What will technology be like in the future? How will it change our lives?
Answers to Comprehension Questions
Who is this about? It’s about Nikola Tesla
What talents did he have? He could do math problems easily. More importantly, he could see how a machine would work in his mind before he built it. Therefore, he could design and test an invention in his mind before building it in his workshop.
What future did he imagine? “A world where there would be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich, where products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life.”
It means he wanted a world where technology helps everyone—so that the rich don’t humiliate the poor.
What mistake did he make? He explained that his world telegraphy center (similar to today’s cellular networks and internet) could contact aliens. This scared people.
What was his question? He asked “what will man do when the forests disappear, and the coal deposits are exhausted?”