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WHAT IS THE DREAM ROOM FOR SCIENTISTS?

Kekule who discovered the structure of benzene reported the following dream:

"Again the atoms were juggling before my eyes...my mind's eye, sharpened by repeated sights of a similar kind, I could now distinguish larger structures of different forms and in long chains, many of them close together; everything was moving in a snake-like and twisting manner. Suddenly, what was this ? One of the snakes got hold of its own tail and the whole structure was mockingly twisting in front of my eyes. As if stuck by lightening I awoke..."

This dream led Kekule to the realization that the structure of benzene is a closed carbon ring a with an atom of carbon and hydrogen at each point of a hexagon. His discovery revolutionized the field of organic chemistry. When Kekule recounted his dream to his colleagues at a scientific convention in 1890, he concluded with the remarks "Let us learn to dream gentlemen and then we may perhaps find the truth."

Dreams can be a source of creative inspiration and problem solving. Not only for the artist, but for the scientist as well who is also involved in a creative process. Dreams connect images and memories in unusual ways and can help the imagination expand.

Following the idea that dreams can assist scientists in their research — providing them with ideas and inspiration — I have designed a Dream Room for Scientists.

The Dream Room will be created in a laboratory, hospital, office or any space where scientists are involved in research. The scientist will be able to allocate time to go "dreaming" as part of his research process. Scientists will be coached in methods to increase dream recall and techniques of dreaming such as dream incubation, dream reentry, and waking dreaming. These methods will help scientists use their dreaming for creative problem solving.

The Dream Room will be designed to create an atmosphere conducive to sleeping and dreaming. It will have a flexibility in regards to decor so it can be adapted according to individual preference. The room will have a portable "camp" style bed, light and easy to move. Whoever is using the Dream Room will be able to set up the bed according to his preference. A large scroll will be hung on one of the walls. The scroll will have an image connected to the dream world such as a moon, mandala, labyrinth or a theme relating to the area of study of the scientist. It will serve as a support for meditation and enable the scientist to create and choose a mood for the room. A series of scrolls will be available to choose from. A small foldable table will be attached to one of the walls. It will be equipped with pencils, inks, pastels etc. for the scientists who wishes to record in drawing some of his dreams. A sound system will provide a choice of music or sounds (such as drumming) to entice sleeping and/or waking dreaming. The density of the room's ceiling lights will be adjustable and it will be possible to change the colors of the lights.

— Anna Willieme

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