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Question
Hi! For school, I'm doing a speech on Nikola Tesla and I need a visual. I wanted to reproduce some of his inventions/experiments, like the Tesla coil, but obviously that's much too dangerous. Is there anything I can do that is safe for a 13 year old and that I could bring to school? Thank you!

Answer
Here are some suggestions that might work for you.  However, as you have noted, the high voltage coil may be too dangerous.  Tesla's work was in high voltage and creating sparks and ladders, etc. and it makes his works and associated experiments and demos difficult because of the safety aspects.

http://www.teslaboys.com/

And, a personal comment, I believe Tesla was an intelligent scientist but that many of his ideas were not based on good science putting much of his work in the "crack-pot" category.  Some of his claims were never realized and others were given up because he could not satisfy the investor community for lack of evidence and scientific repeatability.  Therefore, I am not an enthusiastic adherent of Tesla.

Here is further commentary and suggestions (that may not be very encouraging, either).

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081204170249AAIj7aL

There are many youtubes showing various experiments and ideas that you can search for.  Here is an interesting one using the plasma jar that may be of interest to you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etYFLdCdBDk

Good Luck.

PS: I think you can buy the plasma generator jar at edmunds scientific catalog or such places.  

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Expertise

Electronics questions about AC, DC and digital theory.

Experience

Graduate electrical engineer with over 40 years in electronic design, manufacturing, project organization and patent review. Experience in fields of industrial and consumer electronics (audio, video, acoustics, etc.)

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IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers); Senior Life member AES (Audio Engineering Society), Fellow Life member

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BSEE University of North Dakota

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