In many serious engineering and scientific publications including IEEE publications, we see a quote attributed to Nikola Tesla which goes like this

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.

However no one gives a reference because this is common quote on social media type posts but no book or publication before the internet era (1990s) ever mentions it. I searched Google Scholar and Google Books with year limited to pre-1999, there is nothing. Is there an authentic reference of this quote? Wiki Quotes also has a reference to a vague website. See for example: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla#Disputed

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    $\begingroup$ The only source for this attribution appears to be an Arizonan by the name of Ralph Bergstresser, (possibly this man) who was supposedly a friend of Tesla, and it is claimed that Tesla said this in a conversation with him in 1942. From what I gather, Mr. Bergstresser was peddling a product supposedly inspired by Tesla's work. The attribution of the quote to Tesla seems extremely questionable to me, but it is hard to prove a negative. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ It is sad people are blindly quoting it in decent journals without any reference. The journals will serve as our historical archives after 50-100 years and this will be taken truth. $\endgroup$
    – ACR
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that biographical anecdotes and quotations relating to historical figure that appear to be made upon closer inspection are a vexing yet common phenomenon. Did Marie Antoinette really say (the French equivalent of) "Let them eat cake"? Best as anyone has been able to establish, no. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Very true...the messages are good but the attributions are hard to trace. Most of the older and new ones are bogus. $\endgroup$
    – ACR
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ "Everyone can take a random quote on the internet and attribute it to a famous person." -- Abraham Lincoln $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 23:11


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