Professor Poeschl from the Polytechnic faculty in Graz:
"Nikola's ability at Mathematics is phenomenal. He knows the answers as quickly as the professor puts the problems on the board. He figures the answers out mentally and hardly ever writes the problem down."
Nikola Tesla, then twenty-eight, had recently been forced to give up his studies at the Austrian Polytechnic School in Graz due to lack of funds. In his studies there he had taken special interest in AC devices, and the flaws inherant in their design had returned to his thoughts often during the years.
In December 1878, Tesla left Graz and severed all relations with his family to hide the fact that he dropped out of school. His friends thought that he had drowned in the Mur River. Tesla went to Maribor (now in Slovenia), where he worked as a draftsman for 60 florins a month. He spent his spare time playing cards with local men on the streets. In March 1879, Milutin Tesla went to Maribor to beg his son to return home, but Nikola refused. Nikola suffered a nervous breakdown at around the same time.