Skip to main content

Dmitri's Dream: Discovering the Alphabet of the Universe

| Taydem Kryszyn

“I saw in a dream a table where all elements fell into place as required.  Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper, only in one place did a correction later seem necessary.”  -Dmitri Mendeleev

The classic epiphany in a dream. Whether or not it is apocryphal, it animates the story of Mendeleev and his periodic table of elements, injects life into the 150-year-old bones of history. In dream, we can make leaps of logic and fancy that reality doesn’t allow. And in this case, Dmitri didn’t even have all the pieces to his puzzle, as a number of elements weren’t discovered until well after his death, but he envisioned accurately how they would look and behave. Mendeleev’s organization of the table’s columns and rows is still used to this day to predict the properties of new elements!

The enormity of this discovery, this human achievement, cannot be overstated. Faculty and students from UW-Eau Claire’s Arts and Sciences are putting on a show to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this discovery: snippets of history, science, and experience, animated by poetry, music, and art. This event is a collage of creativity in tribute to a dream that propelled humanity’s knowledge of the world forward.  Dmitri’s Dream performance will take place at the Pablo Center on Dec. 3rd at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $5 a person. Refreshments will be served.