Famous musicians, inventors and scientists dreamed it up

McClatchy NewspapersJune 8, 2009 

WASHINGTON — "I always dream music," Mozart said. 'I know all the music I have composed has come from a dream."

And Mozart's one of many profoundly creative dreamers. Among them:

Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that his 1886 novella about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream.

Pianists Vladimir Horowitz and Leonid Hambro both said they discovered the technique for complicated passages of music in their dreams.

Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, said he discovered its key technology, a means of catching and tying thread, in a dream. In it, natives bearing spears with holes in their tips led him to the idea of a hole in the jabbing tip of the machine's needle.

French chemist August Kekule said he discovered the molecular structure of benzene in a dream that featured whirling snakes of carbon atoms.

More than half of mathematicians responded to a 1970 questionnaire that they'd solved at least one problem in a dream.

Source: "Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams," by Ernest Hartmann M.D., Perseus Publishing, 1998.


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