The Egg of Columbus
4 December 2010 — 12 February 2011
Москва, Laboratoria Art&Science Space

Organized by:
LABORATORIA Art&Science Foundation

Daria Parkhomenko


Art-group TESLA FX (Russia)
Sergey Shutov (Russia)

Supported by:

Late XV century, Spain. 

Once at a cardinal’s dinner, Christopher Columbus is telling about his discovery of the New World. One of the guests objects to him: “But there’s nothing difficult in this!” Answering to this challenge, Columbus suggests to solve an “easy” puzzle – to put an egg vertically. Of course, nobody is able to make it stand on its round tip. “But this is so easy!” – says Columbus, flattening one tip and putting it on the table. Since then, the phrase ‘Egg of Columbus’ refers to a simple and unexpected solution to a difficult task.

1893, World’s fair, USA.

Nikola Tesla made the old phrase play. He put an egg vertically without breaking it. When electromagnetic inductor was being turned on, a copper egg was starting to rotate and gradually standing up vertically. Officially named ‘rotating magnetic field inductor’, the invention was called by its author ‘Egg of Columbus’.

2011, Russia, Moscow, “The Egg of Columbus” exhibition.

The exhibition is dedicated to the scientist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943): inventor who was capable of putting machines together in his imagination, a mystic, according to his words catching ideas from ‘information field of Earth’. It is remarkable how far Tesla went during his researches: from household usage of electricity to the invention of alternating current generators and experiments with wireless energy transmission.

INTERACTIVE OBJECTS FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE POLYTECHNICAL MUSEUM represent milestones in the development of electricity knowledge. Thanks to experiment of Faraday, scientists have discovered existence of magnetic field, Arago phenomenon proved influence of magnetic field on electric current, Tesla’s model ‘Egg of Columbus’ demonstrated existence of rotating magnetic field and opportunities of its exploitation. Nowadays the principle shown in Tesla’s inductor is used in all electric motors and generators – the whole planet is supplied with electricity on the basis of Tesla patents.

How close have you ever sensed the thunder and the lightning? What is it like to get into an epicenter of electrical discharge? During the excursion you can see one of the most known Tesla inventions – TESLA COIL or MANUAL LIGHTNING. The magnificent spectacle of the lightning generated by this device is nothing else but a discharge of high-voltage currents. Experimenting with the transformer, Tesla went further to the idea of wireless data and energy transmission. You can experience it, holding in your hands a light bulb which is not powered by electricity but which is self-luminescent.

LABORATORIA Art&Science Space in collaboration with the Polytechnical Museum
The EGG OF COLUMBUS exhibition
curator Daria Parkhomenko
4th of December, 2010 – 12th of February, 2011

The media artist and scientist Alexey Blinov reconstructs Tesla’s experiments and inventions. Specially for the exhibition he will demonstrate IMPEDANCE PHENOMENA, give a workshop and read the famous Tesla’s speech “On light and other high-frequency phenomena”.


PHOTOS, PATENTS, DRAWINGS AND EDUCATIONAL FILM on scientists’ life from Nikola Tesla Museum collection (Belgrade, Serbia).

VIDEO-INTERVIEWS WITH FAMOUS SCIENTISTS talking about inventions for the present and for the future.

The exhibition invited not only to observe the objects, but also try them out and learn their history from experts who took part in the DISCUSSION PROGRAM OF THE PROJECT.

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