Art by Munkyeong Kim: New York
Gili Karev
I was put on this earth for nothing more than to live and let live.
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Scientific Snoozing

By Gili Karev

Which scientific inventions were brought to us by nocturnal visions?

While my dreams tend to revolve around my childhood and boys, Einstein’s dreams famously gave birth to that little scientific theory we like to refer to as ‘relativity.’ Einstein’s dreams shows us that we are all capable of imagining a dimension that perhaps we hadn’t considered before. In Einstein’s dream, he was sledding down a steep mountainside, quickly gaining speed and momentum as he approached the speed of light. The more he sped up, the more the stars changed their appearance in the sky above him. The revelation that time and space are relative to the velocity of the observer led him to the foundations that later became the theory of relativity.

Markedly less scientific (yet revolutionary in its own right) was the invention of the sewing machine, a worthwhile discovery that catapulted the textile industry during the first industrial revolution. Elias Howe had been toying with an idea for the machine for quite some time, but couldn’t figure out how exactly it would work. One night he dreamt that he was taken prisoner by a group of natives. He noticed that the native’s spears all had holes in their tips. From this, he figured by locating a hole the top of the needle, the thread could be caught after it went through the cloth, thus operating the machine.

Ironically, it was the very un-scientific medium of dreams that helped Descartes develop his famous philosophy of the scientific method. The method is pretty complex, but for the sake of alleged simplicity we’ll throw in the phrase that every name-dropping intellectual says while trying to impress someone of the other sex at a dinner party: “I think, therefore I am.” Or in other words, “I dream, therefore I am a famous genius.”

Lastly, we can thank Dmitri Mendelev for helping us fail chemistry by conjuring the organization of the periodic elements in a dream. Mendelev had fallen asleep for a few hours during the day while listening to classical music, whereby an image of notes gradually rearranged themselves into elements as he dreamt. The revelation brought him significantly closer to the structure of the table, recalling ‘a table where all elements fell into place as required.’

Theory of Relativity – Once Upon a Space-time…

Sewing Machine – Thread lightly through your dreams, for only then can they sew you the magic they contain

Descartes and the Scientific Method – “I dream, therefore I change the face of science”

Periodic table – Incorporating elements of dreamlike genius

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