Albert Einstein failed many of his classes at school. He preferred to think of scientific and mathematical concepts in creative ways not appreciated by his instructors. He enjoyed music and art and even played the violin! The artistic, imaginative Einstein decided to follow his passions and contribute to science in his own way. Einstein gives credit for most of his professional accomplishments and significant scientific insights to his imagination, or to "thought experiments," as he called them.
In one thought experiment, Einstein imagined what a light wave would look like if he were an observer riding along with it. In another, he imagined a man in a falling elevator and how that would "feel" and what would happen to his keys, and so forth. While daydreaming on a hill one summer day, he imagined riding sunbeams to the far extremities of the Universe, and upon finding himself returned, "illogically," to the surface of the sun, he realized that the Universe must indeed be curved, and that his previous "logical" training was incomplete. The numbers, equations and words he wrapped around this new image gave us the Theory of Relatively-a left and right cortex synthesis!
"You can't solve a problem from the same level of thinking that created it"
"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton's contributions to the world of science changed the course of history. His most notable discoveries included the fundamental laws of motion, law of gravitational attraction, planetary motion, the nature of white light and the discovery of calculus. Those who documented his life wrote that intuition actively guided his work. In fact, he had more ideas than he could possibly have any hope of proving. Mankind receive only a fraction of them. Newton harnessed his childlike curiosity and creativity to bring his genius forth.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting himself and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me"
-Sir Isaac Newton
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was thought of, by those around him, as a crazed genius. In fact, he was actively switching back and forth from right to left brain modes of operation. While in right brain mode, he would create entire compositions in his mind. He would hear the music, bring in flutes, clarinets, trumpets, violins and other orchestral instruments at will-all with a completely different, yet fully harmonizing part to play in the overall drama of the composition.
His early training in musical notation was necessary in order to convert his right-brain creation into a language that others could read and play. To Mozart, this was boring. So when his compositions were finished in his head, Mozart would switch to left brain mode and have his wife read stories to keep him entertained during the tiresome, time-consuming, and sequential process of musical notation.
"When I am completely by myself, and of good cheer, ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them"
-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig von Beethoven
Ludwig von Beethoven blessed humanity with countless musical compositions which challenged and transformed the musicians and instruments of his time. When asked where the ideas for his compositions came from, he said, "They come to me in the silence of the night or in the early morning, stirred into being by moods."
In his later years, when Beethoven lost his hearing, he depended upon his acute sensitivity to sound waves and frequency in order to continue composing. He cut the legs off his pianos and sat on the floor to create his musical orchestrations because it was there where he could feel the music best-vibrating through the wooden planks on the floor.