Should scientists trust 'Gut Feelings'?

#1
Interesting short video on the topic of gut feelings and intuition:


Seems like an innumerable amount of ideas for inventions and discoveries came through intuitions. Nicola Tesla comes to mind as the quintessential example of this sort of process. Almost psychic in nature, given how those visions came to him.

Tesla's conception of his AC (alternating current) motor came to him during one of those visions which he reported in his diary and autobiography, "My Inventions":

"One afternoon ... I was enjoying a walk with my friend in the city park and reciting poetry. At that age I knew entire books by heart, word for word. One of these was Goethes Faust. The sun was just setting and reminded me of a glorious passage: The glow retreats, done is the day of toil; It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring; Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil Upon its tract to follow, follow soaring!

"As I uttered these inspiring words the idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagram shown six years later in my address before the American institute of Electrical Engineers.

"The images were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal. 'See my motor here; watch me reverse it.'"

Cool eh?
Maybe we owe one of the most revolutionary inventions in modern times to a gifted psychic who was also an extremely skilled engineer.

I want more of them! ;)
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
Interesting short video on the topic of gut feelings and intuition:

I want more of them! ;)
Daydreams of science: the benzene Ouroboros and the Clapham omnibus

Seven years later, a dream or reverie during an evening nap showed Kekulé the chemical structure of the benzene ring. He was now a professor in Ghent in Belgium. Dozing by the fire in his darkened study, he again saw atoms “gamboling before my eyes.” Now his inner sight “rendered more acute by repeated visions of the kind, could distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation: long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion.” Then he was startled to see one of the “snakes” seize hold of its own tail, and whirl “mockingly” before him. He was jolted out of his languorous state, “as if by a lightning bolt.” The image of the whirling snake gave the chemist the clue to the structure of the benzene ring. He spent most of the night that followed working this up until he had shaped his theory.

Kekulé had become practiced in receiving and developing helpful images in this way. When he described the roots of his scientific creativity in the Benzolfest in his honor in 1890, Kekulé told his audience, “Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, then perhaps we shall find the truth.” He added the salutary caution, “But let us beware of publishing our dreams till they have been tested by the waking understanding.”
 
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