Free and Professional Dream Analysis and What Dreams Mean
Scientific Insight from Dreams
Friedrich A. Kekule - Benzene Molecule
SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHOUGHS BROUGHT ABOUT BY DREAMS
Chemistry - The Periodic Table. Nineteenth-century Chemist Dimitri Mendeleyev fell asleep while chamber music was being played in the next room. He understood in a dream that the basic chemical elements are all related to each other in a manner similar to the themes and phrases in music. When he awakened, he was able to write out for the first time the entire periodic table, which forms the basis of modern chemistry.
Naturalist Agassizwas caught up in a study of fossil fishes in 1932 but could not reconstruct a certain fish from the imprint it had left on a slab. Stuck, he experienced three dreams of the fish on three successive nights. In the third dream he saw the entire fish reconstructed and when he woke, drew a copy of his vision. The next morning, he compared the drawing to the fish on the slab and found that the dream reconstruction was perfect.
Scientist & Philosopher Goethesolved many scientific problems via his dreams.
Nobel Prize Winner Otto Loewi and Chemical Transmission of an Electron. Otto Loewi was a German physiologist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1936 for his work on the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. In 1903, Loewi surmised there might be a chemical transmission of the nervous impulse instead of an electrical one as was the common belief at the time. He did not know how to prove it so he put the idea on a back burner; 17 years later he had this dream:
The night before Easter Sunday, I awoke, turned on the light, and jotted down a few notes on a tiny slip of paper. Then I fell asleep again. It occurred to me at 6 o'clock in the morning that during the night I had written down, something most important, but I was unable to decipher the scrawl. The next night, at 3 a.m. the idea returned. It was the design of an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis of chemical transmission that I had surmised 17 years ago was correct. I got up, went to the lab, and performed a single experiment on a frog's heart according to the nocturnal design.
It took Loewi a decade to carry out the experiments that satisfied naysayers, but ultimately the result of his dream that resulted in his successful experiments became the foundation for the theory of chemical transmission of nerve impulses and led to a Nobel Prize. Loewi remarked: “Most intuitive discoveries are associations made in the unconscious.” [The Discovery of Neurotransmitters, Elliot S Valenstein; Otto Loewi, An Autobiographical Sketch, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Fall 1960.]
FRIEDRICH A. KEKULE MAKES TWO DISCOVERIES IN DREAMS
The Structure Theory of Molecules. In a speech given to the German Chemistry Society, Kekule described the dream that led him to the Structure Theory:
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; but up to that time, I had never been able to discern the nature of their 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 chain. The cry of the conductor - Clapham Road - wakened me. I spent part of the night putting sketches of these dream forms on paper. That was the origin of the Structural Theory of Molecules.
TheBenzene Structure.One of the most revolutionary findings in organic chemistry was the discovery of the structure of the Benzene molecule. Kekule worked for years to discover the atomic structure of benzene as a closed carbon ring. In a dream, he discovered that unlike other known organic compounds, Benzene had a circular rather than a linear structure. One night he dreamed of many snakes flitting about together. They finally coalesced into a ring of six snakes chasing each others' tails, whirling around in a circle. When he awoke, he correctly interpreted the snake hexagon as the elusive structure of the benzene ring. The snake seizing its own tail gave Kekule the circular structure idea he needed to solve the Benzene problem! An excited Kekule said to his colleagues: "Let us learn to dream!" [Serendipity, Accidental Discoveries in Science, by R.M. Robert]
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