Some of the world’s best innovations are products of dreams. One wonders how the world would be without these realities born of dreams.
Niels Bohr & the Atom Structure
Bohr is lauded as the father of modern quantum physics. Prior to the discovery of the atom, Bohr had no remotest idea of the structure of an atom. In the dream, he saw what he would later call the nucleus with other structures (electrons) spin round about it. Upon waking up, the theoretical underpinnings he had previously not given thought of suddenly began to make sense. He could tell the dream was accurate in rendering the crude structure of the atom. All that remained now was seeking a scientifically sound hypothesis to support his idea. His efforts yielded fruit and marked the blistering turning point in his career that eventually led to an award of a Nobel Peace Prize for Physics.
Elias Howe’s Discovery of the Needle Eye
It is speculated that just before his discovery of the eye of the needle, Howe laboriously worked with little fruit to his efforts. A dream about building a sewing machine for a heartless savage king solved it all. It was not without effort even in the dream. He labored to the point of being executed until he noticed the spears borne by soldiers had ‘eyes’ towards the end. He is credited with being the first to design a sewing machine with lockstitch design.
Albert Einstein: The Speed of Light
Aside from the famed stories about Einstein’s high IQ, he had another widely unknown side of him that he attributed his successes to: dreams. He is said to have discovered the principle of relativity from a dream. The dream was about him sledding down, at unbelievable speeds, on a steep mountain. The speed with which he was going down became so fast that he imagined he was at the speed of light. Relatively, everything, including the stars, changed appearance. This led to the formulation of one of the most important principles in the history of mankind.
Srinivasa Ramanujan and the Story of Infinity
This was a mathematician who credited most of his successes to dreaming. Particularly, he singled out the explanations concerning mathematical renderings of numbers, elliptical functions, infinity, among other mathematical functions.
Otto Loewi: Nerve Impulse Breakthrough
Otto Loewi made discovery of acetylcholine which helped advance medical therapies in immeasurable proportions. Unwittingly, he had discovered an important neurotransmitter which promotes dreaming. He attributed this to a dream. In the dream, he found that transmission of nerve impulses was not electrical but rather a chemical process.
August Kekulé & the Ouroboros Benzene Dream
This German chemist is credited with having dreamt and come up with the structure of the Benzene molecule. The molecule’s characteristic feature differed greatly from other molecules because it had a circular, rather than linear structure. This was an essential insight into the nature of aromatic compounds. In his dream that led to the discovery of the structure, he saw a snake seizing its own tail! This was the ouroboros hieroglyphic representation common in German antiquity.
Frederick Banting & Contributions to Advances in Medicine
His discovery of the insulin injections for diabetes patients was motivated by the death of his mother. He is said to have discovered it while he led a dream of his colleagues in trying to identify and isolate the exact cause of the disease before finding its cure. At that point, Frederick dreamt that he was receiving instructions to surgicallytie up a diabetic dog’s pancreas. This was to halt the flow of nourishment and eventually led to the pinpointing an imbalance of sugar and insulin as the chief cause of diabetes.
The idea that beautiful ideas that led to beautiful innovations have been credited to dreams is simply amazing. On one hand, it implies the almost inexhaustible reserves of the unconscious from which humanity can draw solutions to the world’s problems. On the other hand, it is a pointer to the fact that perhaps we are not alone after all— that these dreams were messages relayed by the caring gods.
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