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? You know that feeling? Sure you do. Well, maybe it’s actually a good thing…


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 Scientist.

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 rummage.

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

Okay 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 friend…

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.

Header photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash

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