Prolific Genius – The World’s Greatest Inventor?”
Speaker: Robert Saltzman WB2ARK, Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL) & General Electric Global Research (retired)
Abstract: Bob’s presentation about Nikola Tesla explores in depth the life and contributions of this extraordinary man, from his birth in the Balkans, to his (possibly suspicious) death in New York City. Tesla has often been proclaimed to be the world’s greatest inventor, and even scientist. His ideas, inventions, and patents have indeed made a massive impact on our world—from AC motors and power transmission, resonant circuits, remote control, bladeless turbines, to wireless radio (which he, not Guglielmo Marconi, invented). Tesla was a gifted individual, with fascinating traits and behaviors, who valued discovery over profit. His relationships with Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse and the infamous Current War will also be discussed. Various demonstration items will be shown. This presentation was recently given to the Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning.
Bob Saltzman grew up in White Plains, NY. He graduated from Union college in 1969 with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, and earned an MS in Computer Science from Union Graduate College in 1976. He worked at Union’s radio station WRUC (the first radio station in the country) as Chief Engineer and DJ. He has been a basketball announcer, received the College’s Special Appreciation award, and serves on the Alumni Council.
Bob was a member of Union’s amateur radio station W2UC. He has been licensed and an ARRL member for sixty years, and currently holds an Advanced class license. His major interests have been RTTY and CW. He has been a SARA director for many years.
He worked at GE Global Research for forty-five years where he developed various systems: imaging for GE’s computed tomography (CT) scanner, the first commercial Internet connectivity and World Wide Web presence, secure computer-controlled police radio dispatching, email, word processing, computer graphics, streaming multimedia, and computer and network security. He was a member of IEEE and ACM, among others. He was awarded a patent for co-inventing what is now known as the Web log, or “blog.”
Bob worked in display fireworks for 35 years and also ran an electronics and television repair business.
He has been a member of Niskayuna Fire District 1 Grand Boulevard Fire Company as a paramedic, firefighter, and officer, since 1975, and was also a member of the GE Technical Rescue team. He has been awarded the lifesaving Certificate of Merit from the Red Cross and president Ronald Reagan, and was a GE Phillippe Service Award nominee.
He volunteers with the American Red Cross and the Regional Food Bank, and was recently appointed to serve on the Niskayuna Town Historical Committee. He loves photography, plays piano and guitar, and works with a local rock band.
Bob is actively involved with the Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL) Curriculum and Special Events Committees and is a frequent presenter. He has given presentations (many of them also for SARA) on Display Pyrotechnics, Computed Tomography Imaging, World Wide Web, eBay Buying and Selling, Computer Security, and Innovation and Human-Computer Interfaces. He has been a researcher and lecturer on the assassination of John F. Kennedy for fifty years.