III. My Later Endeavors
圖片來源：改變世界的科技 —— 特斯拉電機
The Discovery of the Rotating Magnetic Field At the age of ten I entered the Real Gymnasium which was a new and fairly well equipt institution. In the department of physics were various models of classical scientific apparatus, electrical and mechanical. The demonstrations and experiments performed from time to time by the instructors fascinated me and were undoubtedly a powerful incentive to invention. I was also passionately fond of mathematical studies and often won the professor's praise for rapid calculation. This was due to my acquired facility of visualizing the figures and performing the operations, not in the usual intuitive manner, but as in actual life. Up to a certain degree of complexity it was absolutely the same to me whether I wrote the symbols on the board or conjured them before my mental vision. But freehand drawing, to which many hours of the course were devoted, was an annoyance I could not endure. This was rather remarkable as most of the members of the family excelled in it. Perhaps my aversion was simply due to the predilection I found in undisturbed thought. Had it not been for a few exceptionally stupid boys, who could not do anything at all, my record would have been the worst. It was a serious handicap as under the then existing educational regime, drawing being obligatory, this deficiency threatened to spoil my whole career and my father had considerable trouble in railroading me from one class to another.
十歲時，我進入一所新建的實科中學（ Real Gymnasium ），這裡教學設備相當完善。物理部有各種各樣經典的科學類教學裝置，比如電學以及機械儀器。我被老師所做的示範或實驗深深吸引，毋庸置疑，它們激發了我強烈的發明欲望。同時，我極其熱愛數學，經常因出色的速算能力受到教授的表揚。這主要歸功於我喜歡數位想像和數學運算，從而培養了出色的數學天陚。這種習慣並非出於直覺，而是完全融入了現實生活。不管數位組合如何複雜，對我來說也絕非難事，無論在黑板上列具體算式還是心算都是一樣。但我十分討厭徒手繪圖課，因為我實在沒辦法專心致志地畫上好幾個小時。這倒是比較奇怪，我們家族成員中的大多數都很擅長徒手繪圖。或許，我厭惡徒手繪畫的原因是我更喜歡不受干擾的思考吧。要不是有幾個男孩格外笨什麼都不會，我的製圖成績一定是最差的。按當時的教育制度，繪圖課是必修課，如果這門課程學不好，那就是有嚴重缺陷。這方面的欠缺會影響我的整個職業生涯，父親為此費盡了周折。
In the second year at that institution I became obsessed with the idea of producing continuous motion thru steady air pressure. The pump incident, of which I have told, had set afire my youthful imagination and imprest me with the boundless abilities of a vacuum. I grew frantic in my desire to harness this inexhaustible energy but for a long time I was groping in the dark. Finally, however, my endeavors crystallized in an invention which was to enable me to achieve what no other mortal ever attempted.
Imagine a cylinder freely rotatable on two bearings and partly surrounded by a rectangular trough which fits it perfectly. The open side of the trough is closed by a partition so that the cylindrical segment within the enclosure divides the latter into two compartments entirely separated from each other by air-tight sliding joints. One of these compartments being sealed and once for all exhausted, the other remaining open, a perpetual rotation of the cylinder would result, at least, I thought so. A wooden model was constructed and fitted with infinite care and when I applied the pump on one side and actually observed that there was a tendency to turning, I was delirious with joy. Mechanical flight was the one thing I wanted to accomplish altho still under the discouraging recollection of a bad fall I sustained by jumping with an umbrella from the top of a building. Every day I used to transport myself thru the air to distant regions but could not understand just how I managed to do it. Now I had something concrete—a flying machine with nothing more than a rotating shaft, flapping wings, and—a vacuum of unlimited power! From that time on I made my daily aerial excursions in a vehicle of comfort and luxury as might have befitted King Solomon. It took years before I understood that the atmospheric pressure acted at right angles to the surface of the cylinder and that the slight rotary effort I observed was due to a leak. Tho this knowledge came gradually it gave me a painful shock.
在這所學校學習的第二年，我腦子裡一直縈繞著一個想法 —— 通過穩定的氣壓推動持續運動 。前面講述的消防車事件大大激發了我的想像興趣，並讓我深刻認識到真空狀態具有無限的可能性。我急切地想利用這種源源不斷的能量，但事實上很長一段時間裡我都是在黑暗中摸索的。不管怎樣，我最終將竭盡全力搞一項發明，有了它我就可以取得其他人無法企及的成就。
後來，我按尺寸製作了一個木制模型，並小心地把它安裝到氣泵的一邊。當我觀察到模型真的輕微轉動時，簡直欣喜若狂。機械飛行是另外一件我想要完成的事情，儘管我在這方面有著令人氣餒的回憶 —— 我曾經拿著雨傘從屋頂跳下來 ，結果重重地摔在地上 。過去，每天我都想像著自己可以騰雲駕霧，穿過雲層飛到遙遠的地方，儘管我不清楚到底怎樣才能做到這一點。現在，我已經製造出實物模型，接下來我要做架飛機，只需要轉軸、撲翼和提供無限能量的真空。如果願望實現，我每天都會乘坐舒適豪華的交通工具在空中遠遊，或許所羅門國王也不過如此吧。直到多年之後，我才明白，大氣壓力是垂直作用於圓柱體表面的，我觀察到的輕微旋轉只是漏氣引起的！儘管這一認識是逐漸形成的，但對我仍然是一個沉痛的打擊。
I had hardly completed my course at the Real Gymnasium when I was prostrated with a dangerous illness or rather, a score of them, and my condition became so desperate that I was given up by physicians. During this period I was permitted to read constantly, obtaining books from the Public Library which had been neglected and entrusted to me for classification of the works and preparation of the catalogues. One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears.
一天，我領到幾冊新書，與以往讀過的書不同，這些書的內容深深吸引了我，使我完全忘記了自己絕望的健康狀況，這些都是 馬克．吐溫 （ Mark Twain ） 早期的作品 。後來我的病奇跡般地好了，可能是這些作品的作用吧。 25 年之後，我遇到了克萊門斯閣下（ Clements ，譯者：馬克．吐溫本名為克萊門斯），並與他成為好朋友。當我告訴他這些經歷時，驚訝地看到這位偉人突然從大笑變成了大哭 ……
My studies were continued at the higher Real Gymnasium in Carlstadt, Croatia, where one of my aunts resided. She was a distinguished lady, the wife of a Colonel who was an old war-horse having participated in many battles. I never can forget the three years I past at their home. No fortress in time of war was under a more rigid discipline. I was fed like a canary bird. All the meals were of the highest quality and deliciously prepared but short in quantity by a thousand percent. The slices of ham cut by my aunt were like tissue paper. When the Colonel would put something substantial on my plate she would snatch it away and say excitedly to him: "Be careful, Niko is very delicate." I had a voracious appetite and suffered like Tantalus. But I lived in an atmosphere of refinement and artistic taste quite unusual for those times and conditions. The land was low and marshy and malaria fever never left me while there despite of the enormous amounts of quinin I consumed. Occasionally the river would rise and drive an army of rats into the buildings, devouring everything even to the bundles of the fierce paprika. These pests were to me a welcome diversion. I thinned their ranks by all sorts of means, which won me the unenviable distinction of rat-catcher in the community. At last, however, my course was completed, the misery ended, and I obtained the certificate of maturity which brought me to the cross-roads.
後來，我到一所實科高中繼續學業，學校位於克羅埃西亞（ Croatia ）的卡爾施塔特（ Carlstadt ），一位阿姨住在那裡。她是位傑出的女士，是陸軍上校的妻子。她的丈夫久經沙場，參加過多次戰役。我永遠無法忘懷在她家生活的三年時光，即使在戰時的堡壘也沒有像在她家那樣紀律嚴明。我像金絲雀一樣被餵養。所有的菜肴都品質上乘、美味可口，但數量極少，只有我正常食量的十分之一。火腿被阿姨切得像紙一樣薄。當上校打算往我的盤子裡多放些食物時，她就會迅速拿開，並且誇張地對上校說： “ 要小心，尼科（ Niko ）的食量很小。 ”
事實上，我的胃口極大，我就像 坦塔洛斯 （ Tantalus ） 一樣承受著痛苦 （譯者：坦塔洛斯來自希臘神話，被囚禁在地獄中，他頭下有水，頭頂有水果，但是就是不能吃喝）。
當時，我生活在舉止文雅、充滿藝術氣息的環境中，這在當時的時代和社會條件下是非常罕見的。這裡地勢很低，又都是沼澤，儘管已經服用了大量的奎寧，但瘧疾和發燒還是不放過我，有時，上漲的河水會把大批老鼠帶進民宅，它們會啃噬每樣東西，甚至連辛辣的紅辣椒都不放過。對我來說，這些壞蛋是受歡迎的消遣。我通過各種方法消滅老鼠，這讓我在當地贏得了一個並不值得稱道的頭銜 —— “捕鼠者” 。最後，我終於完成了高中課程，痛苦的生活也要結束。我拿到了結業證書，同時也走到了人生的十字路口。
During all those years my parents never wavered in their resolve to make me embrace the clergy, the mere thought of which filled me with dread. I had become intensely interested in electricity under the stimulating influence of my Professor of Physics, who was an ingenious man and often demonstrated the principles by apparatus of his own invention. Among these I recall a device in the shape of a freely rotatable bulb, with tinfoil coatings, which was made to spin rapidly when connected to a static machine. It is impossible for me to convey an adequate idea of the intensity of feeling I experienced in witnessing his exhibitions of these mysterious phenomena. Every impression produced a thousand echoes in my mind. I wanted to know more of this wonderful force; I longed for experiment and investigation and resigned myself to the inevitable with aching heart.
Just as I was making ready for the long journey home I received word that my father wished me to go on a shooting expedition. It was a strange request as he had been always strenuously opposed to this kind of sport. But a few days later I learned that the cholera was raging in that district and, taking advantage of an opportunity, I returned to Gospic in disregard of my parents' wishes. It is incredible how absolutely ignorant people were as to the causes of this scourge which visited the country in intervals of from fifteen to twenty years. They thought that the deadly agents were transmitted thru the air and filled it with pungent odors and smoke. In the meantime they drank the infected water and died in heaps. I contracted the awful disease on the very day of my arrival and altho surviving the crisis, I was confined to bed for nine months with scarcely any ability to move. My energy was completely exhausted and for the second time I found myself at death's door. In one of the sinking spells which was thought to be the last, my father rushed into the room. I still see his pallid face as he tried to cheer me in tones belying his assurance. "Perhaps," I said, "I may get well if you will let me study engineering." "You will go to the best technical institution in the world," he solemnly replied, and I knew that he meant it. A heavy weight was lifted from my mind but the relief would have come too late had it not been for a marvelous cure brought about thru a bitter decoction of a peculiar bean. I came to life like another Lazarus to the utter amazement of everybody.
當我正準備長途跋涉趕回家時，卻接到消息說父親希望我遠行狩獵。父親的要求讓我感到非常意外，因為他一向都極力反對這種運動。不過幾天之後，我瞭解到原來是因為家鄉爆發了霍亂。但是，我仍不顧父母的意願，利用這個機會返回了戈斯皮奇（ Gospic ）。在當地，霍亂每隔 15 至 20 年就會爆發一次 。談及引發霍亂的原因時，你簡直無法想像人們有多無知。他們認為空氣中充滿了難聞的氣味和煙塵，因為它們在空氣中的傳播，才導致了可怕的疾病。與此同時，他們卻茫然無知地使用不潔淨的水源，造成大批人員患病死亡。到家當天，我便染上了這種可怕的拒疾。儘管最終我活了下來，但是在床上足足躺了 9 個月，全身動彈不得。我的精力完全耗盡，又一次走到了鬼門關 。
當醫生認為我是生命垂危之際時，父親沖進了房間。儘管他掩飾著內心的焦慮，極力安慰著我，但我依然看到他臉色蒼白，並且聲調異樣 。 “ 或許。”我說道，“如果你讓我學習工程技術的話，我可能會好起來 。”“你將會去世界上最好的工學院。” 他鄭重地回答道，我知道他是認真的 。我心裡的一塊大石頭終於落地，不過，如果不是一種用奇怪豆子煎製的苦口良藥救了我的命，那麼父親的許諾或許來得太晚了。我如同拉撒路（ Lazarus ）一般復活，讓每個人吃驚不已 （譯者：拉撒路是聖經中的人物，死後被耶穌救活）。
My father insisted that I spend a year in healthful physical outdoor exercises to which I reluctantly consented. For most of this term I roamed in the mountains, loaded with a hunter's outfit and a bundle of books, and this contact with nature made me stronger in body as well as in mind. I thought and planned, and conceived many ideas almost as a rule delusive. The vision was clear enough but the knowledge of principles was very limited. In one of my inventions I proposed to convey letters and packages across the seas, thru a submarine tube, in spherical containers of sufficient strength to resist the hydraulic pressure. The pumping plant, intended to force the water thru the tube, was accurately figured and designed and all other particulars carefully worked out. Only one trifling detail, of no consequence, was lightly dismist. I assumed an arbitrary velocity of the water and, what is more, took pleasure in making it high, thus arriving at a stupendous performance supported by faultless calculations. Subsequent reflections, however, on the resistance of pipes to fluid flow determined me to make this invention public property.
Another one of my projects was to construct a ring around the equator which would, of course, float freely and could be arrested in its spinning motion by reactionary forces, thus enabling travel at a rate of about one thousand miles an hour, impracticable by rail. The reader will smile. The plan was difficult of execution, I will admit, but not nearly so bad as that of a well-known New York professor, who wanted to pump the air from the torrid to the temperate zones, entirely forgetful of the fact that the Lord had provided a gigantic machine for this very purpose.
我的另一項計畫是圍繞赤道建造一個圓環，當然，它是自由懸浮的，在旋轉過程中可以依靠反作用力制動。這樣，人們便能以每小時 1000 英里的速度旅行，這是火車無法達到的速度。讀者一定覺得我的想法有些滑稽可笑。我必須承認，這項計畫執行起來非常困難，但跟紐約的一位知名教授比起來，沒有他的計畫那麼糟糕。他想把熱帶空氣抽到溫帶去，完全忘記上帝早已為這一目的準備了一個龐大的機器。
Still another scheme, far more important and attractive, was to derive power from the rotational energy of terrestrial bodies. I had discovered that objects on the earth's surface, owing to the diurnal rotation of the globe, are carried by the same alternately in and against the direction of translatory movement. From this results a great change in momentum which could be utilized in the simplest imaginable manner to furnish motive effort in any habitable region of the world. I cannot find words to describe my disappointment when later I realized that I was in the predicament of Archimedes, who vainly sought for a fixt point in the universe.
我還有另外一個更重要、更有吸引力的計畫，那就是利用地球自轉獲取能量 。我發現，由於地球的晝夜交替，其表面物體的運動方向時而與水準方向相同，時而相反。這一現象引起了巨大的動量變化，我們可以用一種最簡單可行的方法將其利用起來，從而為地球上任何可居住的角落提供動力。後來，我意識到自己遭遇了與阿基米德同樣的困境 —— 他曾徒勞無功地試圖在宇宙中尋找一個固定支點。此時，我心中的失落之情真是難以言表 。
At the termination of my vacation I was sent to the Polytechnic School in Gratz, Styria, which my father had chosen as one of the oldest and best reputed institutions. That was the moment I had eagerly awaited and I began my studies under good auspices and firmly resolved to succeed. My previous training was above the average, due to my father's teaching and opportunities afforded. I had acquired the knowledge of a number of languages and waded thru the books of several libraries, picking up information more or less useful. Then again, for the first time, I could choose my subjects as I liked, and free-hand drawing was to bother me no more.
假期結束後，我被送到奧地利施蒂里亞州（ Styria ） 格拉茨 （ Gratz ）的理工學校學習，這是父親專門為我挑選的一所歷史最悠久、最富名望的大學 。這是期待已久的時刻，我開始在這裡學習，並獲得了充足的資金支援，下決心一定要取得成功。我的基礎知識高於同學的平均水準，這與父親的教育以及我具有的眾多機會是分不開的。我掌握了幾門語言，流覽過幾個圖書館中的書籍，或多或少從中獲得了有用的資訊。此外，這是我第一次可以按照自己的喜好選擇學習科目，徒手繪圖也不再讓我感到厭煩。
I had made up my mind to give my parents a surprise, and during the whole first year I regularly started my work at three o'clock in the morning and continued until eleven at night, no Sundays or holidays excepted. As most of my fellow-students took thinks easily, naturally enough I eclipsed all records. In the course of that year I past thru nine exams and the professors thought I deserved more than the highest qualifications. Armed with their flattering certificates, I went home for a short rest, expecting a triumph, and was mortified when my father made light of these hard won honors. That almost killed my ambition; but later, after he had died, I was pained to find a package of letters which the professors had written him to the effect that unless he took me away from the Institution I would be killed thru overwork.
Thereafter I devoted myself chiefly to physics, mechanics and mathematical studies, spending the hours of leisure in the libraries. I had a veritable rnania for finishing whatever I began, which often got me into difficulties. On one occasion I started to read the works of Voltaire when I learned, to my dismay, that there were close on one hundred large volumes in small print which that monster had written while drinking seventy-two cups of black coffee per diem. It had to be done, but when I laid aside the last book I was very glad, and said, "Never more!"
從那以後，我開始專攻物理學、機械學、數學，並利用大量閒置時間在圖書館學習 。無論做什麼事情，我都狂熱地想要儘快完成，這往往讓我陷入困境。曾經有一段時期，我開始閱讀伏爾泰（ Voltaire ）的著作 ，我吃驚地發現他的全部著作都是用小字型印刷而成的，而且厚厚的將近一百卷。這個 “ 怪物” 每天喝七十二杯黑咖啡，才把這些著作完成 。我下定決心一定要把它們讀完。當我放下最後一本書時，感到無比欣慰，心想： “ 我再也不看了！ ”
My first year's showing had won me the appreciation and friendship of several professors. Among these were Prof. Rogner, who was teaching arithmetical subjects and geometry; Prof. Poeschl, who held the chair of theoretical and experimental physics, and Dr. Alle, who taught integral calculus and specialized in differential equations. This scientist was the most brilliant lecturer to whom I ever listened. He took a special interest in my progress and would frequently remain for an hour or two in the lecture room, giving me problems to solve, in which I delighted. To him I explained a flying machine I had conceived, not an illusionary invention, but one based on sound, scientific principles, which has become realizable thru my turbine and will soon be given to the world. Both Professors Rogner and Poeschl were curious men. The former had peculiar ways of expressing himself and whenever he did so there was a riot, followed by a long and embarrassing pause. Prof. Poeschl was a methodical and thoroly grounded German. He had enormous feet and hands like the paws of a bear, but all of his experiments were skillfully performed with lock-like precision and without a miss.
第一學年的出色表現使我贏得了幾位教授的讚賞和友誼 。其中有教算術學和幾何學的羅格納（ Rogner ）教授、擔任理論與實驗物理學教授的珀施爾（ Poeschl ）先生，以及教積分學並對微分方程有深入研究的阿勒博士（ Dr. AUe ）。阿勒博士是我所聽過的最有才氣的講師。他非常關注我的進步，經常在課堂上一待就是一兩個小時，給我出題，我在此過程中獲得了很多樂趣。我向他介紹了自己構想的飛機，它並不是虛幻的想像，而是建立在合理的、科學原理基礎之上的。依靠我的 “ 渦輪機 ” ，它已經成為可能，並且很快將展現在世人面前。羅格納和珀施爾教授的性格都有些古怪，前者有著獨特的表達方式，無論何時，只要說到關鍵之處，他總會先長長地停頓一番，吊起人們的胃口。珀施爾教授是一位條理清晰、極端務實的德國人。他手大腳大，活像狗熊的四隻爪子。但他所做的實驗總像時鐘一樣精確，沒有絲毫誤差。
It was in the second year of my studies that we received a Gramme dynamo from Paris, having the horseshoe form of a laminated field magnet, and a wire-wound armature with a commutator. It was connected up and various effects of the currents were shown. While Prof. Poeschl was making demonstrations, running the machine as a motor, the brushes gave trouble, sparking badly, and I observed that it might be possible to operate a motor without these appliances. But he declared that it could not be done and did me the honor of delivering a lecture on the subject, at the conclusion of which he remarked: "Mr. Tesla may accomplish great things, but he certainly never will do this. It would be equivalent to converting a steadily pulling force, like that of gravity, into a rotary effort. It is a perpetual motion scheme, an impossible idea." But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile. For a time I wavered, imprest by the professor's authority, but soon became convinced I was right and undertook the task with all the fire and boundless confidence of youth.
在格拉茨理工學校學習的第二年，學校收到了一台來自巴黎的格拉莫動力機 （ Gramoe Dyname ），它有馬蹄鐵式的疊片磁鐵，由金屬絲纏繞的裝有整流器的電樞。連接之後，它就能展示電流的不同效果。然而，當珀施爾教授將這台機器當作發電機示範時，電刷發生了故障，火花四濺。我指出，或許沒有這些裝置也可以讓電機運轉。但珀施爾先生斷言，我的想法是行不通的，並讓我在課堂上對這一問題闡述了自己的認識。最後，他評論說： “ 或許，特斯拉先生將來可以獲得巨大成就，但是僅就這一問題來說，我敢斷言他的想法永遠不可能實現。這就好比要將恒定的牽引力，比方說地心引力，轉化成一種旋轉力。這是一種永動機概念，是不可能實現的 。 ” 但是，直覺是可以超越知識的 。毋庸置疑，我們頭腦中存在著一些神奇的神經纖維，它們可以幫助我們發現真理，這是邏輯推理或者其他任何主觀努力做不到的。
I started by first picturing in my mind a direct-current machine, running it and following the changing flow of the currents in the armature. Then I would imagine an alternator and investigate the processes taking place in a similar manner. Next I would visualize systems comprising motors and generators and operate them in various ways. The images I saw were to me perfectly real and tangible. All my remaining term in Gratz was passed in intense but fruitless efforts of this kind, and I almost came to the conclusion that the problem was insolvable.
In 1880 I went to Prague, Bohemia, carrying out my father's wish to complete my education at the University there. It was in that city that I made a decided advance, which consisted in detaching the commutator from the machine and studying the phenomena in this new aspect, but still without result. In the year following there was a sudden change in my views of life. I realized that my parents had been making too great sacrifices on my account and resolved to relieve them of the burden. The wave of the American telephone had just reached the European continent and the system was to be installed in Budapest, Hungary. It appeared an ideal opportunity, all the more as a friend of our family was at the head of the enterprise. It was here that I suffered the complete breakdown of the nerves to which I have referred.
What I experienced during the period of that illness surpasses all belief. My sight and hearing were always extraordinary. I could clearly discern objects in the distance when others saw no trace of them. Several times in my boyhood I saved the houses of our neighbors from fire by hearing the faint crackling sounds which did not disturb their sleep, and calling for help.
In 1899, when I was past forty and carrying on my experiments in Colorado, I could hear very distinctly thunderclaps at a distance of 550 miles. The limit of audition for my young assistants was scarcely more than 150 miles. My ear was thus over thirteen times more sensitive. Yet at that time I was, so to speak, stone deaf in comparison with the acuteness of my hearing while under the nervous strain. In Budapest I could hear the ticking of a watch with three rooms between me and the time-piece. A fly alighting on a table in the room would cause a dull thud in my ear. A carriage passing at a distance of a few miles fairly shook my whole body. The whistle of a locomotive twenty or thirty miles away made the bench or chair on which I sat vibrate so strongly that the pain was unbearable. The ground under my feet trembled continuously. I had to support my bed on rubber cushions to get any rest at all. The roaring noises from near and far often produced the effect of spoken words which would have frightened me had I not been able to resolve them into their accidental components. The sun's rays, when periodically intercepted, would cause blows of such force on my brain that they would stun me. I had to summon all my will power to pass under a bridge or other structure as I experienced a crushing pressure on the skull. In the dark I had the sense of a bat and could detect the presence of an object at a distance of twelve feet by a peculiar creepy sensation on the forehead. My pulse varied from a few to two hundred and sixty beats and all the tissues of the body quivered with twitchings and tremors which was perhaps the hardest to bear. A renowned physician who gave me daily large doses of Bromide of Potassium pronounced my malady unique and incurable.
1899 年，我已年過四十，正在科羅拉多進行實驗 。我可以清晰地聽到 550 英里以外的雷聲。所以我聽力的敏銳程度是常人的 13 倍 。然而，與精神極度緊張時敏銳的聽力相比，可以說，這一時期我完全喪失了聽力。
在布達佩斯，我可以聽到三個房間以外鐘錶的滴答聲 ；當蒼蠅在我房間的桌子上降落時，我耳朵裡就會產生悶雷般的撞擊聲；一輛馬車從幾英里開外駛過，就會讓我的整個身體顫抖好一陣；火車機車在二三十英里以外鳴響汽笛，我就覺得自己坐著的椅子或発子在劇烈搖晃，那種痛苦幾乎令人無法忍受。同時，我腳下的地面也會不斷晃動。為了休息，我不得不在床下裝上橡膠墊。遠處或近處傳來的喧鬧聲，就像有人在我耳邊說話，如果不能將它們一一分辨清楚，我就會感到毛骨悚然。當陽光時斷時續時，我的大腦就會感到強烈的撞擊，以至昏厥過去。當我從橋樑或其他建築物下面穿過時，必須調動全部的意志力，因為此時我會感到頭骨上有千鈞重負。在黑暗中，我會覺得前額上好像有小蟲子在蠕動，我就像蝙蝠一樣可以探測到 12 英尺以外存在著什麼物體 。我的脈搏有時每分鐘只跳幾下，有時又可以達到 260 次 。我身體的所有組織都在抽搐和顫動，難以忍受。一位很有名的醫生每天給我服用大量溴化鉀，斷言我的病是獨一無二的不治之症。
It is my eternal regret that I was not under the observation of experts in physiology and psychology at that time. I clung desperately to life, but never expected to recover. Can anyone believe that so hopeless a physical wreck could ever be transformed into a man of astonishing strength and tenacity, able to work thirty-eight years almost without a day's interruption, and find himself still strong and fresh in body and mind? Such is my case. A powerful desire to live and to continue the work, and the assistance of a devoted friend and athlete accomplished the wonder. My health returned and with it the vigor of mind. In attacking the problem again I almost regretted that the struggle was soon to end. I had so much energy to spare. When I undertook the task it was not with a resolve such as men often make. With me it was a sacred vow, a question of life and death. I knew that I would perish if I failed. Now I felt that the battle was won. Back in the deep recesses of the brain was the solution, but I could not yet give it outward expression. One afternoon, which is ever present in my recollection, I was enjoying a walk with my friend in the City Park and reciting poetry. At that age I knew entire books by heart, word for word. One of these was Goethe's "Faust." The sun was just setting and reminded me of the glorious passage:
當時，我的症狀沒有被生理學家和心理學家觀察到，這成了我畢生的遺憾 。我拼命活下來，但是根本沒有想到能夠再次恢復健康。誰能相信一個無藥可救的身體 “ 殘骸 ” ，可以變得精力旺盛、堅韌頑強；能夠在 38 年中連續工作，幾乎一天都不曾停歇？而且依然覺得自己身強體壯，思維出眾？然而，這就是我的真實經歷 。對生活的強烈渴望，對繼續工作的強烈信念，和一位身為運動員的忠實朋友的悉心幫助，成就了這一奇跡。我恢復了健康，同時還有活躍的思維能力。
後來，當我再次回想這段經歷，我甚至為 “ 戰爭 ” 過快結束而感到遺憾。我還有好多能量沒有來得及使用 。當我認識這個任務時，我與普通人的做法完全不同。對我來說，這是一個神聖的誓約，是一個生死存亡的大問題。我知道，如果我失敗了，我的生命之火也就完全熄滅了。現在，我意識到，我已經打贏了這場戰爭。這個任務的解決之道就存在於腦海深處，但是我還不能用言語準確地將它表達出來。
一天下午，這是曾在我的記憶中出現的場景，我正跟朋友在城市公園一邊散步一邊背誦詩歌。在那個年齡，我可以整本整本地背誦書籍的內容，而且一字一句都不會錯誤。其中，歌德（ Goethe ）的《浮士德》（ Faust ）便是我所能背誦的一本著作 。正在降落的夕陽讓我想起了其中的一段壯麗篇章：
"Sie ruckt und weicht, der Tag ist uberlebt,
Dort eilt sie hin und fordert neues Leben.
Oh, dass kein Flugel mich vom Boden hebt
Ihr nach und immer nach zu streben!
Ein schoner Traum indessen sie entweicht,
Ach, zu des Geistes Flugeln wird so leicht
Kein korperlicher Flugel sich gesellen!"
[The glow retreats, done is the day of toil;
It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil
Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!
A glorious dream! though now the glories fade.
Alas! the wings that lift the mind no aid
Of wings to lift the body can bequeath me.]
As I uttered these inspiring words the idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams shown six years later in my address before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and my companion understood them perfectly. The images I saw were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal and stone, so much so that I told him: "See my motor here; watch me reverse it." I cannot begin to describe my emotions. Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life could not have been more deeply moved. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrested from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.
當我朗誦這段發人深省的詩句時，仿佛有 一道閃光 從我的腦海中劃過，刹那間，真理浮現在我的眼前 。我一刻都沒有停頓，馬上用樹枝在沙地上畫起圖來。六年後，當我在美國電氣工程師學會（ American Institute of Electrical Engineers ）演講時，我展示了這張圖表。那天陪我散步的朋友完全能夠理解其中的含義。我眼前看到的景象非常清晰、詳細，就像現實生活中的金屬和石塊一樣實實在在。於是，我對他講解道： “ 看，這裡是我的發動機；然後，我這樣把它翻轉過來。 ” 我簡直無法形容自己當時的激動心情 。《賣花女》（原名《皮革馬利翁》； Pygmalion ）看到自己的塑像獲得生命之時的狂喜也不如我當時的感受那樣強烈 （譯者：皮格馬利翁是希臘神話中的神靈，雕像成為真人與他喜結連理）。即使出於偶然我碰巧發現了一千個大自然的秘密，我也願意用它們來換取這個發現，為了得到它，我曾經抗拒大自然所有的不測，甚至以我的生命為代價 ……