You know when you’re in the lab, and you’re working on a project, you’re pouring your heart and soul into it, and you’ve been doing so for about a year, working late, only to have it come crashing down, because that one stupid piece of kit goes wrong every single time, you lose all your data, your progress is in the toilet, there’s no end in sight, and you think might just sit down and cry in a heap on the floor?
Oh good, you’re still there. Wait, hear me out: just because something goes horribly wrong, doesn’t mean it’s a complete failure. Sometimes, those failures–
“Euurrgghh, they’re not doing one of those ‘best scientific accidents’ posts are they?”
–end up being some of the best scientific accidents because they inadvertently reshaped the world!
Yeah, we’re doing it. Sit down and buckle up. Get ready for a ride of
serendipity… presented by other people! Yup, that’s right: here are our
top articles and videos on the top accidental scientific discoveries.
“They’re just recycling other people’s content!”
No – we’re supporting the community! We’re being meta. Right?
New Scientist – Eight great accidents in scientific discovery
Gotta start with New Scientists. Everyone loves New Scientist. This
comes from Sean O’Neil in 2018. They hit up the classics like X-rays and
penicillin, but sweeten the deal with sucralose as well (sorry…). And
of course they link through to all the relevant articles! Good job, New
Mental Floss – 24 Unintended Scientific Discoveries
I have a lot of time for Mental Floss. Couple that with Derek Muller from Veritasium
and you’ve got all sorts of winning. This is actually an article of the
youtube video (which you can watch right here, above!) as well as old
school words on a page (which you read in the link below) – so you can
enjoy this recycled content in whichever format you prefer! As you’d
expect there’s a lot of depth here so feel free to have a good old
NPR – 5 Brilliant Scientific Accidents
Video time from NPR, 2016, now. The exquisitely named Skunk Bear runs through their Golden Mole Award For Accidental Brilliance. From wasps to fossils, there’s some awesome science here to tickle your brain.
Technology Networks – 8 Stories of Lab Safety Gone Wrong
this is slightly off-piste as nothing turns out well for science, but
it’s interesting nonetheless! I also don’t know much about Tech News but
Adam Tozer does a great job of highlighting just how wrong things can
in the lab sometimes! I once heard about students putting powdered milk
and nitric acid in a microwave… What exactly would happen? Asking for a
Okay, I think about does it! There are loads more posts on these, but, to be honest, they all just tell you the same old stuff: velcro, teflon, viagra, etc. But you don’t need to wade through all that old gubbins as we’ve pulled out the best bits for you. You are most welcome.