Writer AL Kennedy goes in search of epiphanies - those powerful revelations, the 'aha' instant in cognitive science, and the eureka moment, among theorists and inventors.
AL Kennedy goes in search of epiphanies - those powerful revelations, the Aha! Instant in cognitive science, the Eureka moment among theorists and inventors.
Epiphanies are not found, they come to us. The word epiphania in Greek means 'manifestation' or 'appearance'. Famous epiphanies include Archimedes' Eureka! as he discovered the method to determine the density of an object while sitting in the bath, and Isaac Newton's realisation that a falling apple and the orbiting moon are both pulled by the same force.
These light-bulb moments feel as if they happen in a flash but, as we hear, they're the final, dazzling product of a more subtle subconscious process.
The programme talks to scientists of the human brain who explain why these moments occur when we're doing something else - when we're in the shower, digging in the garden, watching apple trees, or woken suddenly in the early hours of the morning with the force of a lightning bolt.
These revelations are the ones we pass on, the insights we give to friends. Moments that help define us and the way we choose to be in the world.
A Cast Iron production for BBC Radio 4.