Some dreams are so important they have changed the world. Surprisingly, dreams have inspired several scientific discoveries and inventions. About a century ago, the Danish physicist Neils Bohr was trying to figure out the structure of the atom. One night he dreamed that atoms were like solar systems. The nucleus was the sun, with electrons spinning round it. After some thorough testing, he found that the dream was right. This discovery won him the Nobel Prize, and he is now known as the father of quantum mechanics.
Sewing machines have transformed everything about clothing in our world. Yet without a dream, they may never have existed. American inventor Elias Howe was puzzling over the first problem – where to place the eye of the needle. Then one night he dreamed that he was in a savage country. The king commanded him to invent a sewing machine in 24 hours. If he didn’t, he would be executed.
In the dream, he failed to do this, and his time ran out. Soldiers came to take him to his place of execution. Walking between them, he suddenly noticed that their spears had little holes near the pointed end. That was his eureka moment. He immediately woke up at 4.00 am, and set to work. By 9.00 am the first sewing machine was born.
African-American Madame CJ Walker became a millionaire because of a dream. It began when she got a scalp infection that made her hair fall out. In desperation, she prayed for a solution. An angelic looking man came to her in a dream. He showed her the specific ingredients to use for the problem. When she tried out the mixture, it worked. She started selling it as a product, and became the first female self-made millionaire in America.
There are many more examples like this. Einstein’s revolutionary theories, the discovery of insulin for diabetes, and even the invention of Google all came from dreams. There are probably many more that people haven’t made public.
Dreams have also inspired the arts. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to support his family. One day he was desperately trying to think of a new story to keep the wolf from the door. That night he had a dream about Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. The publication of that tale finally established him as a successful writer.
The story of Frankenstein also came from a dream. Mary Shelley was the wife of the famous poet. While the couple were on holiday with Lord Byron in Geneva, they had a light hearted competition to see who could come up with the best horror story. That night Mary had a dream about the creation of Frankenstein. The story not only won her the little competition – it went on to become an all-time classic.
The tune of the Beatles’ mega-hit ‘Yesterday’ came to Paul McCartney in a dream. He first made completely sure that he hadn’t somehow picked up someone else’s work. Then he and John Lennon struggled to find words for it. In the meantime, they called it ‘scrambled eggs’. One day Paul woke up knowing ‘yesterday’ was the answer. The idea was perfect for the poignant tune, which became one of their most popular songs.
Have you ever had an inspiring dream? You’re most welcome to share it in the comments, or more privately through my website contact page: www.pastlivesglastonbury.co.uk
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