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The role of dreams and visions in scientific innovation  

The spaced-out scientist


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

Scientists and researchers spend over two decades in school learning to identify problems, design projects, construct experiments, collect data, conduct literature reviews, calculate, analyze, write grant proposals, generate statistics and report findings. There is emphasis on the technical, empirical and rational forms of knowledge. However, scientific innovation, invention and discovery often arise from, imagination intuition, dreams and flashes of insight (E.g. Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Archimedes, Mendelev etc).

Scientists can be grouped into two broad categories based on their working habits: “accumulators” and “guessers”. The accumulators gradually gather and accumulate data, building upon and modifying existing knowledge. The guessers have flashes of insight, leaps, hunches, intuitions and dreams, which can then be tested to see if they…

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