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Charles Proteus Steinmetz Rare Story american mathematician and electrical engineer

Charles Proteus Steinmetz Rare Story american mathematician and electrical engineer and history which is very interesting and rare

Charles Proteus Steinmetz (April 9, 1865 – October 26, 1923) was a German-American mathematician and electrical engineer. He fostered the development of alternating current that made possible the expansion of the electric power industry in the United States, formulating mathematical theories for engineers. He made ground-breaking discoveries that enabled engineers to design better electric motors for use in industry.

Steinmetz was born as Carl August Rudolph Steinmetz to Carl Heinrich Steinmetz in Breslau, Province of Silesia. Steinmetz suffered from dwarfism and hip dysplasia( a congenital defect involving a misalignment of the hip joint), as did his father and grandfather. Steinmetz attended Johannes Gymnasium and astonished his teachers with his proficiency in mathematics and physics.

He was a small man whose body was also contorted by a hunchback that shriveled his torso and enlarged his head to proportions that he always felt frightened children. Thin-skinned and defensive as a young man, he grew to be one of his age's most inventive and brilliant scientific intellectuals.

Steinmetz arrived in America at the age of twenty-four and within a few years earned an international reputation as an expert on alternating current. Two of his papers on theories of AC circuits and his experiments on magnetic hysteresis (the tendency of a material to resist being magnetized or demagnetized) came to the attention of General Electric(GE), and he joined the company in 1893. Steinmetz worked furiously to establish his worth to the company. His most important accomplishment, the work that became his most lasting contribution to electrical engineering, was his development of a mathematical method of analyzing alternating current circuits using complex numbers. His method changed the way engineers calculated AC circuits and analyzed machines.

Steinmetz was prolific. Before 1900, he applied for more than seventy patents on transformers, induction motors, alternators, and rotary converters. By 1900, he was GE's chief consulting engineer, moving out of the daily administrative fray and free to devote himself to his research. Between 1903 and 1913, he took out sixty-three patents and wrote several textbooks, Theory and Calculation of Transient Phenomena and Oscillations (1909), one of his major technical accomplishments.

In 1916 he built a lightning generator whose power came the closest to reaching the estimated energy of a real lightning discharge, a discovery that helped electrical corporations create efficient, cost-effective devices that harnessed electricity for industrial use.

Amazingly, while working so hard at creating electrical apparatus and his physical problems which sometimes caused him immense pain, Steinmetz maintained a rich and active social life full of friends, cards and practical jokes. His friend and colleague at GE and Union, Ernst J. Berg, wrote in 1934 that "It seems extraordinary that so much real work was done because we played so much."

Steinmetz, GE's unlikely Wizard of Science, died of heart failure on Oct. 26, 1923 with more than 200 patents to his name.

The following incident that sums up the facets of his personality beautifully:

In the early years of this century, Steinmetz was brought to GE's facilities in Schenectady, New York. GE had encountered a performance problem with one of their huge electrical generators and had been absolutely unable to correct it. Steinmetz, a genius in his understanding of electromagnetic phenomena, was brought in as a consultant.
Steinmetz refused all assistance, but instead asked for a cot to sit on. Following this, he observed the working of the generator for two days straight, with the generator's drawings with him. Later he performed some calculations and left.
After he departed, GE's engineers found a large "X" marked with chalk on the side of the generator casing. There also was a note instructing them to cut the casing open at that location and remove 16 turns of wire from the stator. The generator would then function properly. And it did.
Steinmetz was asked what his fee would be. Having no idea in the world what was appropriate, he replied with the absolutely unheard of answer that his fee was $10000.
Stunned, the GE bureaucracy then required him to submit a formally itemized invoice.
They soon received it. It included two items:
1. Making the chalk mark: $1.
2. Knowing where to make chalk mark: $9999.

Information about the photograph: Charles Proteus Steinmetz was a pioneer multitasker, never without a notebook handy. He is working here in a canoe on the Mohawk River, around 1920.

Ajinkya Sarode

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