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UW-Eau Claire students, faculty to present ‘Dmitri’s Dream’

| Julie Poquette

“You never know where your dreams might take you” may ring true for some, but Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev saw a clear path forward after awakening from a dream back in the 1860s.

That dream and its result — the Periodic Table of the Elements — will be the focal point of “Dmitri’s Dream: Discovering the Alphabet of the Universe” on Dec. 3, a presentation of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Art AND Science program. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Jamf Theatre at Pablo Center at the Confluence in downtown Eau Claire.

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

Mendeleev, who lived from 1834-1907, is credited with creating the Periodic Table of the Elements in 1869. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of his accomplishment, UW-Eau Claire faculty and students will combine narrations drawing on history, science and lived experience with performances of poetry, music and theater arts as they explore the full meaning of one chemist’s decision to act on his dream more than a century ago.

Among participants in the “Dmitri’s Dream” performance will be Max Garland, UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus of English and former Wisconsin poet laureate, and Dr. David Lewis, UW-Eau Claire professor of chemistry, along with faculty colleagues and students from other academic areas of the university.

“Dmitri’s Dream” is the sixth event of the Art AND Science program, which celebrates the common driving force behind the sciences and the arts: curiosity. In an effort to increase cross-disciplinary engagement, the program’s events explore how an understanding of the universe through the application of the scientific method is deeply linked in multiple ways to the expression of art in its multiple forms.

The Art AND Science program is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Faculty involved in planning "Dmitri's Dream" are Max Garland, professor emeritus of English and former Wisconsin poet laureate; Dr. Wendy Makoons Geniusz, associate professor of languages; Arthur Grothe, associate professor of theatre arts; Dr. Matt Jewell, associate professor of materials science and engineering; Dr. David Lewis, professor of chemistry; Allyson Loomis, associate professor of English; Jill Olm, associate professor of art & design; Dr. Jim Rybicki, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; Dr. Paul Thomas, professor of physics and astronomy; and Dr. Stephanie Turner, professor of English.

Tickets for “Dmitri’s Dream” are $5 and may be purchased online.

For more information about “Dmitri’s Dream,” contact Dr. Matthew Jewell, Art AND Science program steering committee member, at