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Eureka! Hirameita! Se Me Encendio La Luz!

We might not know exactly where an idea comes from, but Eureka! we certainly know when we find it.

AHA! is a frequent cry of delight for those who speak English.

The Spanish have a colloquialism of se me encendio la luz which literally means ‘my light bulb went on.’

The Japanese exclaim Hirameita! (‘I have a great idea!’) which uses the character hirameki ‘‘. If you look closely, the character represents a person opening a door as a metaphor for discovery.

The Koreans say Gu Bun i O Shio So Yo which means ‘He came to me (my brain)’ which may or may not refer to God.

This may or may not explain why the French might say j’ai une illumination, loosely meaning ‘I have a bright light coming to me.’

Archimedes’ Moment in the Bathtub 

Greek mathematician and physicist Archimedes provided us with the most common exclamation of all. He was asked by King Hieron II of Syracuse to determine if goldsmiths had cheated the king by making his gold crown out of less than 100% gold.

Archimedes struggled with the puzzle, until the answer came to him in a blinding flash of inspiration while in the most unlikeliest of places: during his evening bath.

As he lowered himself into the bathtub, he watched the water rise in direct proportion to his own weight. Using a classic example of a , Archimedes realised he could submerge the finished crown in water and compare the displaced water to an equal weight of gold versus gold substitutes.

Imagine with me his excitement as he leapt naked from his tub (OK, let’s not imagine that) as he shouted Eureka! which is appropriately Greek for ‘I have found it!’

How do you know when you’ve created an idea?  Regardless of  whether it involves a nudie run from the bathtub, please add your thoughts and comments below.

Archimedes of Syracuse
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Eureka! Hirameita! Se Me Encendio La Luz!