The Belgrade IAGA/IMAGO Awards Event wasn’t all work and no play, fortunately. Some of us had to catch a bus for the airport at three o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, so that left us a couple of hours to explore the surroundings. The delegation from Denmark, affectionately known as ”The Danish Guys”, put together their own little sightseeing tour and anyone crazy -Ahem, sorry, adventurous- enough to string along was welcome!
With one additional newcomer each from Spain, Russia and two more from Sweden, we fit perfectly into the hotel elevator, and during the ride down from the sixth floor we realized with dread how disastrously we’d failed -when putting together the group- on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation… and height! ”Where are the dwarves?” as one of us exclaimed with anguish.
Team Denmark had already decided on the objective of our little excursion: the Nikola Tesla Museum! Looking at the map, it was only 1,8 kms from our hotel, so I guess we could have walked, but it seemed like good fun and promised a little extra sightseeing as well to take a taxi ride, so that’s what we did. Strangely, driving less than 2 kms in Belgrade took upwards of twenty minutes, so we can’t completely rule out that we we’re taken for a ride in more ways than one…
However, once at the museum the proceedings were kicked off with a very interesting and educational film covering Tesla’s life and major achievements. After that our delightful museum guide got busy demonstrating the various amazing electrical equipment in the exhibition area, gadgets that would put Kenneth Strickfaden’s magnificent booming, spark-blasting contraptions from the 1930s Frankenstein movies to shame!
The first thing she asks her audience is: ”is anyone here wearing a pacemaker?” Oh-oh! I say to myself, taking a couple of steps backwards, ”I’m not going anywhere near those Tesla coils!"
Because these puppies generate hundreds of thousands of volts, and if you hold up a neon tube anywhere near them, the tube glows in mid-air! The smaller of these Tesla Coils you could actually safely put your hand close to -and sparks would literally fly from the device to your hand as you did this! The reason this doesn’t lead to wholesale involuntary manslaughter at the museum all the time, is that this is high-voltage, low-current, high-frequency AC, and that kind is a lot less dangerous than it’s low-voltage, high-current counterpart we find in our homes.
Our guide then zeroed in on Juan Antonio Fernández, AEC, and did her level best to electrocute him (as you can see in the pictures), but alas, to no avail -he must have been wearing thick rubber boots!
Meanwhile, our Russian friend Yurii Klimenko managed to retain a dignified, statesmanlike poise in the background, which on this day and in this company must count as a major accomplishment!
Wandering through the museum halls, it’s a sobering experience to witness all the accomplishments of Nikola Tesla that surround us here, and at the same time pondering it’s offspring: the modern everyday comforts which we take for absolutely granted.
Everything electrical around us seems to have some relation to Nikola Tesla: AC electricity in every wall socket everywhere, electrical lighting, electric motors in everything from our toothbrushes to luxury Tesla cars, etc etc.
Towards the end of the museum visit, the Danes withdrew to a corner at the foot of a grand staircase, and you could tell they were now in "Do not disturb!” mode. Although their language is indecipherable, to me it’s obvious! ”The Danish Guys” are laying their plans for their ultimate objective: Danish World Dominion! :-)
Lars Pettersson, FSF