There are any number of interesting stories about individuals who had dreams that ended up assisting them in discovering new ideas.
- According to Encyclopedia Britannica, German chemist August Kekule von Stradonitz (1829–1896) is famous for having clarified the nature of aromatic compounds, which are based on the benzene molecule. He claimed to have had a dream while dozing in which he saw the figure of a snake that seized its own tail in its mouth, giving Kekule the idea for the benzene ring.
- James Dewey Watson, KBE (hon.), an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist and a co-discoverers of the DNA structure, reportedly got the idea from a dream. Reportedly he dreamed of a double sided spiral staircase—which makes sense when you recall that the spiral DNA strands look something like a twisted ladder.
- According to NOVA, one night Einstein was riding home in a Bern streetcar. Looking back at the famous clock tower that dominated the city, he imagined the streetcar racing away from the clock tower at the speed of light. His ponderings eventually resulted in the theory of relativity (events that were simultaneous in one frame of reference were not necessarily simultaneous in another) and the world's most famous equation, E = mc2.