Serendipity in science: Greatest accidental discoveries


Usually, scientific discoveries come from long-term and intensive laboratory work that leads researchers to the conclusions they are seeking. However, many of the greatest discoveries in the world occur when someone accidentally discovers something, which is technically called an accidental discovery.

If there is no right person to recognize its value, none of these "accidents" will be discoveries that change the world. These examples show that sometimes the best innovations are unplanned.

 Discovery of antibiotic penicillin:

Alexander Fleming is on vacation during his bacterial experiments. By mistake, he put the petri dish in the laboratory sink. After returning, he found that all the plates were infected with bacteria, and only a small area had mold. After further investigation, Fleming concluded that the mold is releasing a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria. A new antibiotic penicillin was created to treat all diseases from acne to pneumonia.

 The discovery of the magic pill Viagra:

As a treatment for erectile dysfunction, Viagra was a pioneer, however, it was not originally formulated for this purpose. Sildenafil, the ingredient of Viagra, is a heart drug developed by Pfizer. This drug has failed to show efficacy in clinical trials for heart disease. However, men noticed another effect of stronger and longer-lasting erections after medication. When taking Viagra, men who were unable to maintain an erection regained the ability to get an erection. Clinical trials conducted by Pfizer have shown that the results of male erectile dysfunction are the same.

 Discovery of the antimalarial drug Quinine:

This important anti-malarial compound was originally discovered accidentally in the bark of the cinchona tree. Since 1600, Jesuit missionaries have been using it to treat malaria in South America, but the local Andeans first taught it to the Jesuits. According to legend, a fanatical Andean lost in the jungle became the first person to discover it. He drank from the pool at the bottom of the cinchona tree when he was suffering from malaria. Despite the bitterness, his fever gradually subsided and he was able to impart the knowledge he had acquired.

 Discovery of insulin:

In the late 1880s, two doctors explored the role of the pancreas in digestion. After the pancreas was removed, flies gathered around the urine of the test dog. They observed high levels of sugar in the urine after the test. It turns out that they fed the dog with diabetes by mistake. Their work was later based on more experiments in the 1920s that isolated insulin from pancreatic secretions.

 Discovery of Vaseline:

While investigating an oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859, Chesebrough discovered a strange substance called "stick wax", which often clogs oil rigs.

However, the substance also has some positive aspects. Workers at the Chesebrough factory used stick wax to treat skin cuts and burns, so he took some home for further investigation. Vaseline, or Vaseline, is the product of his experiment.

 Discovery of anesthesia:

In the early 1800s, people who participated in "laughter parties" abused ether and nitrous oxide. Anesthesia was born after someone noticed that this substance can cover up pain.