5 Scientific Discoveries Made After The Inventors Saw it in a Dream

What is really the difference between a dream and a thought? I mean, when you look at it, they both exist in the same abstract realm although access depends on the frame of mind.

Anyway, that’s by the way. Here, we present to you some popular inventions that were conceived in a dream but has materialised in the real world and is helping mankind.

1. Dmitri Mendeleev

Invention: Periodic Table

Dmitri’s quest to organize the 65 known elements into a standard table remained elusive for years. But, he is said to have earlier realized that it’s organisation has something to do with atomic weights of the elements.

His obsession with solving the puzzle probably fused it’s manifestations deep into his neurotransmitters and made him dream about it. He is quoted as saying –

“In a dream I saw a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper.” Mendeleev’s words were quoted in “On the Question of Scientific Creativity,” by Russian chemist B.M. Kedrov.

2. Niels Bohr

Invention/Discovery: Atomic Model

According to a paper titled “Pillow-Talk: Seamless Interface for Dream Priming Recalling and Playback,” written by Edwina Portocarrero at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Niels Bohr was quoted as saying that he
got the idea to develop the atomic model in a dream.

In the dream, he “developed the model of the atom based on a dream of sitting on the sun with all the planets hissing around on tiny cords.”

3. Elias Howe

Invention: Sewing Machine

Elias Howe is often seen as the inventor of the sewing machine. What he actually did was improve on existing designs and received the first U.S. patent by deploying the “Lockstitch” design.

Before the breakthrough came to him in a dream, he didn’t know the best place to place the “eye of the needle”. But, I guess facing an execution can really light creative sparks.

Check out the reported family history titled, “The Bemis History and Genealogy: Being an Account, in Greater Part, of the Descendants of Joseph Bemis of Watertown, Massachusetts:

“He almost beggared himself before he discovered where the eye of the needle of the sewing machine should be located… His original idea was to follow the model of the ordinary needle, and have the eye at the heel. It never occurred to him that it should be placed near the point, and he might have failed altogether if he had not dreamed he was building a sewing machine for a savage king in a strange country.

Just as in his actual waking experience, he was perplexed about the needle’s eye. He thought the king gave him twenty-four hours in which to complete the machine and make it sew. If not finished in that time death was to be the punishment. Howe worked and worked, and puzzled, and finally gave it up. Then he thought he was taken out to be executed.

He noticed that the warriors carried spears that were pierced near the head. Instantly came the solution of the difficulty, and while the inventor was begging for time he awoke. It was 4 o’clock in the morning.

“He jumped out of bed, ran to his workshop, and by 9, a needle with an eye at the point had been rudely modeled. After that it was easy.”

4. Albert Einstein

Discovery: Speed of Light

“His entire career was an extended meditation on a dream he had as a teenager,” explained Rev. John W. Price in an interview with John H. Lienhard, professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston, on the radio show “Engines of Our Ingenuity.”

“He dreamt that he was riding a sled down a steep, snowy slope and, as he approached the speed of light in his dream, the colors all blended into one. He spent much of his career, inspired by that dream, thinking about what happens at the speed of light.”

According to Rev. John W. Price, Einstein spent the rest of his career meditating on the dream he had about colours blending into one.

5. Friedrich August Kekulé

Discovery: Molecular Structure of Benzene

It is said that Friedrich fell asleep on a bus and the bonding order of Benzene molecular structure appeared to him in a vision.

Excerpt: “Serendipidty, Accidental Discoveries in Science,” by Royston M. Roberts –

“I was returning by the last bus, riding outside as usual, through the deserted streets of the city.

“I fell into a reverie, and lo, the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. Whenever, hitherto, these diminutive beings had appeared to me, they had always been in motion. Now, however, I saw how, frequently, two smaller atoms united to form a pair; how a larger one embraced the two smaller ones; how still larger ones kept hold of three or even four of the smaller, whilst the whole kept whirling in a giddy dance. I saw how the larger ones formed a chain, dragging the smaller ones after them but only at the ends of the chains.

The cry of the conductor, ‘Clapham Road,’ awakened me from my dreaming; but I spent a part of the night in putting on paper at least sketches of these dream forms.”

There you have it. Dreams are not useless after all, and not just neurons firing away all the time. The next invention that will change humanity as we know it is probably just a dream away.

What do you think?


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