Great ideas don’t appear, they evolve.
—Joey Reiman, Thinking for a Living
The story of illumination dates back to ancient civilizations. In 275 BC, a young general named Hiero was chosen for the crown of the ancient Greek city of Syracuse. Recognizing his success as a gift from the gods, he knew he would return the favor by creating a golden crown for them. Hiero weighed out a precise amount of gold and commissioned a goldsmith to forge his gift.
The crown was delivered to Hiero. Although it seemed to be the exact weight of the provided gold, Hiero heard rumors that the goldsmith did not make the crown out of pure gold, but rather, mixed it with silver. Hiero was understandably angry and decided to get to the bottom of it.
He turned to his cousin Archimedes to solve the mystery. Renowned for his work in mathematics and physics, Archimedes spent days pondering how he could discover the truth. Deep in thought, he walked to the bathhouse for his daily bath.
As he lowered his body into the water for his last rinse, he noticed the water began to spill over the tub. Curious, he began to lower himself into the tub again and again, noticing the lower his body went, the more the water spilled over the sides of the tub.
In a moment of illumination, Archimedes realized he found the solution to Hiero’s issue. Excited by his discovery, he jumped out of the tub and ran through the town naked, yelling, “Eureka, Eureka”—Greek for “I have found it! I have found it!”1