Nikola Tesla Quotes 1–30 of 122 Quotes

Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American physicist, inventor, and electrical engineer. An ethnic Serbian born in the Military Frontier (present-day Croatia), he was a subject of the Austrian Empire who later became an American citizen.

Below are 30 of 122 sourced Nikola Tesla quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: Quoted in Nikola Tesla's Life & Work by István G. Kocsis, (2015).

“A point of great importance would be first to know: what is the capacity of the earth? And what charge does it contain if electrified? Though we have no positive evidence of a charged body existing in space without other oppositely electrified bodies being near, there is a fair probability that the earth is such a body, for by whatever process it was separated from other bodies — and this is the accepted view of its origin — it must have retained a charge, as occurs in all processes of mechanical separation.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "Experiments With Alternating Currents of Very High Frequency, and Their Application to Methods of Artificial Illumination" (20 May 1891)

“Alternate currents, especially of high frequencies, pass with astonishing freedom through even slightly rarefied gases. The upper strata of the air are rarefied. To reach a number of miles out into space requires the overcoming of difficulties of a merely mechanical nature.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "Experiments With Alternate Currents Of High Potential And High Frequency" an address to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London (February 1892)

“Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe. This idea is not novel. Men have been led to it long ago by instinct or reason; it has been expressed in many ways, and in many places, in the history of old and new. We find it in the delightful myth of Antaeus, who derives power from the earth; we find it among the subtle speculations of one of your splendid mathematicians and in many hints and statements of thinkers of the present time. Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "Experiments With Alternate Currents Of High Potential And High Frequency" (February 1892)

“Ere long intelligence—transmitted without wires—will throb through the earth like a pulse through a living organism. The wonder is that, with the present state of knowledge and the experiences gained, no attempt is being made to disturb the electrostatic or magnetic condition of the earth, and transmit, if nothing else, intelligence.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: Electrical Engineer, (24 Jun 1892), 11‎, 609.

“There is something within me that might be illusion as it is often case with young delighted people, but if I would be fortunate to achieve some of my ideals, it would be on the behalf of the whole of humanity. If those hopes would become fulfilled, the most exciting thought would be that it is a deed of a Serb.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: Address at the Belgrade train station (1 June 1892)

“Nature may reach the same result in many ways. Like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present. A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes in Nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of Nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the Infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of a universe.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "On Light And Other High Frequency Phenomena" A lecture delivered before the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (24 February 1893), and before the National Electric Light Association, St. Louis (1 March 1893), published in The Electrical review (9 June 1893), p. Page 683; also in The Inventions, Researches And Writings of Nikola Tesla (1894)

“There is an influence which is getting strong and stronger day by day, which shows itself more and more in all departments of human activity, and influence most fruitful and beneficial—the influence of the artist. It was a happy day for the mass of humanity when the artist felt the desire of becoming a physician, an electrician, an engineer or mechanician or—whatnot—a mathematician or a financier; for it was he who wrought all these wonders and grandeur we are witnessing. It was he who abolished that small, pedantic, narrow-grooved school teaching which made of an aspiring student a galley-slave, and he who allowed freedom in the choice of subject of study according to one's pleasure and inclination, and so facilitated development.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "Roentgen Rays or Streams", Electrical Review (12 Aug 1896). Reprinted in The Nikola Tesla Treasury (2007), 307. By Nikola Tesla

“Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy", Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

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“When the great truth accidentally revealed and experimentally confirmed is fully recognized, that this planet, with all its appalling immensity, is to electric currents virtually no more than a small metal ball and that by this fact many possibilities, each baffling imagination and of incalculable consequence, are rendered absolutely sure of accomplishment; when the first plant is inaugurated and it is shown that a telegraphic message, almost as secret and non-interferable as a thought, can be transmitted to any terrestrial distance, the sound of the human voice, with all its intonations and inflections, faithfully and instantly reproduced at any other point of the globe, the energy of a waterfall made available for supplying light, heat or motive power, anywhere — on sea, or land, or high in the air — humanity will be like an ant heap stirred up with a stick: See the excitement coming!”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "The Transmission of Electric Energy Without Wires" in Electrical World and Engineer (5 March 1904)

“Smatram svojom dužnošću da kao rođeni sin svoje zemlje pomognem gradu Zagrebu u svakom pogledu savjetom i činom”

— Nikola Tesla

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More on this quote: "As a son of this country [Croatia], I consider it my duty to help the City of Zagreb in every way, either through counsel or through action".
• City Counsel Zagreb, 24th May 1892; as quoted in Milčec, Zvonimir (1991), Nečastivi na kotačima: Civilizacijske novosti iz starog Zagreba language: Croatian, pages: 25, place: Zagreb, publisher: Bookovac, OCLN: 439099360

“Of all the frictional resistances, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called 'the greatest evil in the world.' The friction which results from ignorance ... can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy", The Century (Jun 1900), 211. Collected in The Century (1900), Vol. 60, 211

“As soon as it is completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place. Millions of such instruments can be operated from but one plant of this kind. More important than all of this, however, will be the transmission of power, without wires, which will be shown on a scale large enough to carry conviction.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: On the Wardenclyffe Tower, in "The Future of the Wireless Art" in Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony (1908)

“Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: As quoted in "A Visit to Nikola Tesla" by Dragislav L. Petković in Politika (April 1927); also in Tesla, Master of Lightning (1999) by Margaret Cheney, Robert Uth, and Jim Glenn, p. 82

“Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: On patent controversies regarding the invention of Radio and other things, as quoted in "A Visit to Nikola Tesla" by Dragislav L. Petković in Politika (April 1927); as quoted in Tesla, Master of Lightning (1999) by Margaret Cheney, Robert Uth, and Jim Glenn, p. 73 ; also in Tesla: Man Out of Time (2001) by Margaret Cheney, p. 230

“The idea of atomic energy is illusionary but it has taken so powerful a hold on the minds, that although I have preached against it for twenty-five years, there are still some who believe it to be realizable.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Quote source: Quoted in 'Tesla, 75, Predicts New Power Source', New York Times (5 Jul 1931), Section 2, 1.

“I have harnessed the cosmic rays and caused them to operate a motive device.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#18

Quote source: Brooklyn Eagle (10 July 1931)

“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. … I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#19

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#19

Quote source: New York Times (19 October 1931)

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“I came from Paris in the Spring of 1884, and was brought in intimate contact with him [Thomas Edison]. We experimented day and night, holidays not excepted. His existence was made up of alternate periods of work and sleep in the laboratory. He had no hobby, cared for no sport or amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. There can be no doubt that, if he had not married later a woman of exceptional intelligence, who made it the one object of her life to preserve him, he would have died many years ago from consequences of sheer neglect. So great and uncontrollable was his passion for work.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#21

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#21

Quote source: As quoted in "Tesla Says Edison Was an Empiricist", The New York Times (19 Oct 1931), 25.

“I hold that space cannot be curved, for the simple reason that it can have no properties. It might as well be said that God has properties. He has not, but only attributes and these are of our own making. Of properties we can only speak when dealing with matter filling the space. To say that in the presence of large bodies space becomes curved is equivalent to stating that something can act upon nothing. I, for one, refuse to subscribe to such a view.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#22

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#22

Quote source: New York Herald Tribune (11 September 1932)

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola (2021, August 5) Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#23

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#23

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#23

Quote source: "Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola (2021, August 5) Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#24

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#24

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#24

Quote source: "When woman is boss", Colliers, January 30, 1926

“But the female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose. Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola (2021, August 5) Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#25

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#25

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#25

Quote source: "When woman is boss", Colliers, January 30, 1926

“I have satisfied myself that the [cosmic] rays are not generated by the formation of new matter in space, a process which would be like water running up a hill. Nor do they come to any appreciable amount from the stars. According to my investigations the sun emits a radiation of such penetrative power that it is virtually impossible to absorb it in lead or other substances. ... This ray, which I call the primary solar ray, gives rise to a secondary radiation by impact against the cosmic dust scattered through space. It is the secondary radiation which now is commonly called the cosmic ray, and comes, of course, equally from all directions in space. [The article continues: The phenomena of radioactivity are not the result of forces within the radioactive substances but are caused by this ray emitted by the sun. If radium could be screened effectively against this ray it would cease to be radioactive, he said.]”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#26

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#26

Quote source: Quoted in 'Tesla, 75, Predicts New Power Source', New York Times (5 Jul 1931), Section 2, 1.

“Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#27

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#27

Quote source: "Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

“The scientists from Franklin to Morse were clear thinkers and did not produce erroneous theories. The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#28

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#28

Quote source: "Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

“Much has been said about Yugoslavia and its people, but many Americans may be under a wrong impression for political enemies and agitators have spread the idea that its inhabitants belong to different nations animated by mutual hate and held together against their will, by a tyrannical power. The fact is that all Yugoslavs — Serbians, Slavonians, Bosnians, Herzegovinians, Dalmations, Montenagrins, Croatians and Slovenes — are of the same race, speak the same language and have common national ideals and traditions. At the termination of the World War, Alexander brought about a political union creating a powerful and resourceful State. This was hailed with joy by all the Slavs of the Balkans, but it took time before the people found themselves in the new conditions. I was born in Croatia. The Croatians and Slovenes were never in a position to fight for their independence. It was the Serbians who fought the battles for freedom and the price of liberty was paid in Serbian blood. All true Croatians and Slovenes remember that gratefully. They also know that the Serbians have an unequaled aptitude and experience in warfare and are best qualified to direct the forces of the country in a crisis. Ever since united Yugoslavia came into being through Alexander's efforts, political enemies have done all they could to disrupt it by sowing seeds of discord and disseminating malicious reports. … The death of the King has shaken the country to its very foundations, but the enemies who say that it means the disruption of Yugoslavia will hope in vain, for the noble blood of the great man has only served to cement its parts more firmly and strengthen the national structure. Alexander will live long in the memory of his people, a heroic figure of imposing stature, both the Washington and Lincoln of the Yugoslavs; like Washington an able and intrepid general who freed his country from oppression; like Lincoln a wise and patriotic leader who suffered martyrdom.”

— Nikola Tesla

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#29

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Tesla, Nikola (2021, August 5) Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#29

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#29

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Tesla, Nikola. “Nikola Tesla Quotes: 1–30 of 122 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Nikola-Tesla-quotes.html#29

Quote source: Tribute to King Alexander, to the editor of The New York Times (19 October 1934), also at Heroes of Serbia

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