online listening practice with stories about Nikola Tesla

Tesla

English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 3
Audio file: 2:10 min
Story length: 293 words

Audio

Here is the listening file for this lesson.

Script

Tesla

Here’s a question. Who made the radio, neon lights and the laser?

One man. Nikola Tesla. He’s not a famous inventor like Edison. But, his work changed the world.

Tesla was born in Serbia in 1856 and died in 1943 in New York City. In 1884, he moved to America and worked for Thomas Edison. He left after a year because Edison did not pay him. Tesla quit and started his own company.

Tesla was very intelligent. He spoke 8 languages. He could read a book and remember everything in it. He was also good at thinking up new ideas.

Sometimes he imagined things that were not possible. For example, he said wireless phones would be used in the future. Today, we call that a mobile phone.

Sometimes, he imagined things and built them. His most important idea was AC electricity. That’s the power we use in our homes and offices.

When Tesla first made AC, there was a problem with Edison. He wanted to sell DC electricity. AC was better because it moves long distances without losing much power. AC was also cheaper. If a city wanted DC, they needed many power stations because it loses power when it moves long distances.

Tesla had some strange habits. He was always washing his hands. He did not like to shake hands with people and he loved number 3. He would walk around a building 3 times before going in.

This great scientist made more than 200 things. Many of these machines are still used today. Sadly, he was not good at business and died a poor man.

That’s different from Edison. He made things that people wanted and he made money.

Tesla’s life shows us that it’s good to be intelligent. It’s also important to be good at business.


The image used in this listening lesson is in the public domain because of its age.

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