Accidental Discoveries

  1. Penicillin

Here is the history of one of the most famous coincidences of the 20th century: one day in 1928 Alexander Fleming forgot to clean his workplace. When he returned to his office, he noticed that some of his bio cultures have got a strange sponge. It was weird fact that bacteria located near to the sponge were dying. So penicillin became one of the first and still the most widely used antibiotics.

  1. Pacemaker

road-sign-361513_640American engineer Wilson Greatbatch has developed electric circuit with which to record heart murmurs. He thrust his hand into a box to take out a resistor and close the circuit, but he pulled 1 ohm resistor instead of 10,000-ohm resistor.

  1. Synthetic dye

In 1856 William Perkin was trying to invent artificial quinine. But instead of a cure for malaria, his experiments produced a thick undefined mess. It turned out that Perkin created the first synthetic dye in the world.

German bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich used Perkin’s paint to launch immunology and chemotherapy.

  1. Radioactivity

In 1896 Henri Becquerel implements series of experiments to find out whether naturally fluorescent minerals emit X-rays after stay in the sun. The problem was that the experiments were conducted in winter. So the weather was very cloudy, therefore Becquerel put his equipment in a cupboard and waited for a sunny day.

When he returned to work, he found that uranium salts in the cupboard, were printed on photographic plate and there have not been exposed to sunlight. It turn out that uranium possess radioactivity.

  1. Bakelite

In 1907 shellac was used for insulation in electronics. Industrialists have paid a lot to import it, since it has been by South Asian beetles. Chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland decided to create an alternative to shellac.

Instead , the result of his experiments was easy to shape material that endured high temperatures without being distorted. Baekeland decided that “Bakelite” can be used for phonograph records, but soon became clear that the product has thousands of applications. Today plastic is a derivative of bakelite.

  1. The vulcanized rubber

Charles Goodyear spent ten years searching for a method with which to facilitate the work with rubber in order to make it resistant to heat and cold. Nothing works the way he want it until one day, when Goodyear spilled a mixture of rubber, sulphur and lead onto a hot stove. The heat changes the liquid, but do not damage it. The mixture still could be used, even it was already hardened.

  1. Teflon

A chemist from “Dupont” Roy Plunkett was trying to make a new type of CFC. His theory was that if he makes the compound TFE (tetrafluoroethylene) to react with hydrochloric acid, will receive freezer agent.  The result of this experiment was that gas was gone and some white flakes occurred. Thus was born coverage.

  1. Coca Cola

Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton was trying to invent a cure for headache. The recipe is still one of the greatest secrets of mankind. After eight years of selling, the pharmacy drink became so popular that began to be sold in bottles.

  1. Smartdust

Student Jamie Link was preparing her doctorate in chemistry at the University of California at San Diego, when one of the silicon chips she was working with exploded. She discovered that the pieces continued to function as sensors. The result – “smartdust”  – these tiny sensors can be used to monitor the purity of drinking sea water, to detect dangerous chemicals and bio-agents in the air and even identifying and destroying tumor cells in a body.

10. Saccharin

In 1879 Constantin Fahlberg attempts to find new and interesting applications for coke, but he founds something else. One day while he was eating a roll, he noticed that it is too sweet. Fahlberg realized that the taste actually comes from his hands – which were not washed.



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