Accidental discoveries – Discovery is the act of detecting something new or something “old” that has been unrecognized but is meaningful.
In the history of science, there are many cases where something else was under research and the consequences gave birth to another thing. Yes, an accident did become a discovery and not just one, but many of them.
Here are some accidental discoveries that were not purposely invented but became an Invention later.
Accidental discoveries –
1 – Pacemaker
We all make mistakes usually which we regret later, but in Wilson Greatbatch’s case, his mistake became a result of the first practical implantable pacemaker.Greatbatch was actually working on a circuit that could record fast heartbeats but when he accidentally installed the wrong resistor the device started giving electrical pulse and he discovered pacemaker.
2 – Microwave
The microwave was discovered in 1945 by Percy Spencer an American engineer working for the company Raytheon. Spencer was working on a magnetron capable of beaming high waves of radiation when he noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. Curious, he placed a bowl of popcorn in front of the tube and it began to pop. Spencer then created a high-density electromagnetic field by feeding microwave power from a magnetron into a metal box from which it could not escape.Later, Raytheon patent the accidental discovery and in the year 1947, launched it in the market as a new technology.
3 – X-Rays
X-Ray is a radioactive invention that discovered accidentally. In 1895 physicist Wilhelm Röntgen was investigating the properties of cathode rays. Accidentally, he noticed a flicker on a barium platinocyanide screen. It was a surprise when he saw a skeletal hand. As the invention of X-Rays took place accidentally.
4 – Cellophane
Do you know how was cellophane invented? Well, it was an accidental invention. Jacques Brandenberger, a Swiss chemist discovered Cellophane but he was not purposely searching something like cellophane, he was looking for a way to make a stainproof tablecloth. He tried coating the cloth with a thin sheet of viscose film, and later he realized that the film could be used in several ways. Consequently, he researched further and finally discovered Cellophane.
5 – Vulcanized Rubber
Initially, the freezing temperatures and extreme heat left consumers and manufacturers frustrated. And people started believing that rubber has no future, but the scientist Charles Goodyear disagreed and worked on it to make rubber more durable. Later, in 1839, when showcasing his latest experiment, Charles accidentally dropped his rubber concoction on a hot stove. And consequently, he discovered charred leather, a substance with an elastic rim. Now, Rubber is more durable and weatherproof.
6 – Velcro
Velcro is a combination of the words ‘Velvet’ and ‘Crochet’. It is again an invention that has discovered accidentally. On a hiking trip in 1941, Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral found burrs clinging to his pants and also to his dog’s fur. He found that the burr’s hooks would cling to anything loop-shaped. If he could re-create the artificial loops, that can be helpful. So, as Velcro invented accidentally.
7 – Teflon
It’s a popular misconception that the non-stick coating was a by-product of NASA’s endeavors in space. In truth, Teflon was first created by a scientist named Roy Plunkett who was toying with CFC gasses to create a new refrigerant.
These are Accidental Discoveries – Questioning is a major form of human thought and is the greatest ability of human that has given birth to many discoveries. So, keep trying and maybe an accident might become a discovery for you too.