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Road to Eureka!

Insight may lie at the end of a chain of neural reactions

By
4:15pm, March 18, 2008

Sudden bursts of insight that, with no warning, provide unexpected, novel solutions to thorny problems are the stuff of legend. Consider Archimedes, the great ancient Greek mathematician and scientist.

The story goes that Archimedes was stumped by a request to determine whether the king's new crown, shaped like a laurel leaf, contained solid gold or a mix of gold and silver added by a dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes couldn't follow normal procedures by melting the crown down and measuring its de

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