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Everything Helen and Pim say here about the Tesla coil is, to my knowledge, accurate. The device Pim and Helen are discussing is presumably similar to the large, three-coil "Magnifying Transmitter" built by Nikola Tesla. In the Magnifying Transmitter, the first two coils functioned as drivers to excite a third coil, the resonator. Tesla did indeed have trouble with the enormous discharges from the Magnifying Transmitter creating fireballs until he figured out how to move the resonator around to change the frequency of the electromagnetic waves.

Again, Tesla was awesome.

6 comments:
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ohhh dear.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Even in sepia-tinted space, the poison of genius infects all kinds of minds.

(I still find it a bit strange that the occupation/profession term "mad scientist" is used, even in the case of Pim, over the looser and more universally applicable term "evil genius".)
Bauke Schildt (tephlon) says: Leon: That's because no-one, not even a mad scientist, thinks of themselves as Evil.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Perhaps you've missed modern Helen's favorite T-shirt? Our heroes villains are quite aware that they're on the side of Evil. Proud of it, too, except for Artie and maybe Dave. But Dave comes around.

Helen's line in the first panel puts me in mind of the dead parrot sketch. 

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: One can only imagine what Tesla could have done with the lowly Vibrator... *imagines what Tesla could have done and goes to take Cold Shower*
Tyler Wright (tylgar) says:

As I recall, Edwin, he made a device capable of shaking a building down that he attached to a beam on a construction site.  He really made the earth move for them.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile