The power of dreams

Here are 8 remarkable dreams of scientists, writers, musicians, mathematicians and inventors who subsequently changed the course of human history.

  • Albert Einstein received the theory of relativity in his dreams
  • Paul McCartney composed the entire melody for the hit acoustic song Yesterday in a dream
  • Niels Bohr, The father of quantum mechanics dream led to his discovery of the structure of the atom
  • Robert Louis Stevenson dreamed up three key sequences from the infamous fantasy thriller novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Mary Shelley's story of Frankenstein, often cited as the world's first science fiction novel, was inspired by a vivid nightmare.
  • Elias Howe invented the sewing machine based on a famous dream that helped him understand the mechanical penetration of the needle.
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical genius made substantial contributions to analytical theory of numbers, elliptical functions, continued fractions, and infinite series, and proved more than 3,000 mathematical theorems in his lifetime. Stated that the insight for his work came to him in his dreams on many occasions.
  • Otto Loewi received the theory of chemical transmission of the nervous impulse in a repeating dream and later won the Noble Prize for his discovery.