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December 14, 2018

We must learn how to think in pictures

Albert Einstein by Andy Warhol
Albert Einstein by Andy Warhol

Artists re-imagine and change the world. The avant-garde art movements of the 20th century re-defined our identities, values, and social constructs. A scientist, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), a true artist, re-imagined science, and his revolutionary contributions changed the way we see the universe. A man about whom his schoolmaster said "he will never amount to anything" was awarded the Nobel Prize and named 'the person of the century' by Time Magazine. He still remains a cult figure. Why? Creative minds drive progress and we want to understand how such minds work.

There is one essential quality about Einstein we must know. He had the ability to think in pictures. Numbers and words did not play a significant role in his thinking, but mental images did. Picturing a man falling off a roof and realising he would feel weightless, or imagining himself riding on a beam of light trying to see his reflection in the mirror, led Einstein to his theory of general relativity. In fact, most discoveries of Nobel Prize scientists begin as images. Creative thinking is visual thinking, and, it seems, if you are adept at visualising, new, original and breakthrough ideas come easy to you.


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