Dmitri's Dream: Discovering the Alphabet of the Universe

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
7:00 PM
Pablo Center at the Confluence
Event Type
Paul Thomas

"Dmitri's Dream" is a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Periodic Table of the Elements by Dmitri Mendeleev. Performers will present a collage of creativity in tribute to the literal dream that led to the organization of the modern periodic table, including snippets of history, science and experience brought to life by poetry, music and art.

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.

“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,” Mendeleev is quoted as saying.

It's the classic epiphany in a dream. Whether or not it is apocryphal, it animates the story of Mendeleev and his periodic table of elements, injecting life into the 150-year-old bones of history. In dreams, we can make leaps of logic and fancy that reality doesn’t allow. And in this case, Dimitri 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. And 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 art, sciences, English, theatre, and other departments will perform in this tribute to the discovery that propelled humanity’s knowledge of the world forward.  
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here. 

Dmitri's Dream
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