There are some scientists who were born to naturally experiment on new things with its core goal to invent, while there are a few who become surprising targets of accidental experiments leading to life changing inventions and discoveries that definitely earn them accolades. As what they say, it is better be lucky than good. Below are 5 of the notable and famous accidental innovations in the history of mankind.
A medical device that utilizes electrical impulses to regulate heart’s beat, can you imagine that being an accidental invention? Be thankful to Wilson Greatbatch, an assistant professor who accidentally pulled a wrong resistor from the toolbox while experimenting on recording the heartbeats. Instead of pulling 10,000-ohm resistor, he pulled the 1-megaohm variety that caused the circuit to function differently. Since then, his accidental invention has saved the lives of many.
• Microwave Oven
In 1945, an engineer at Raytheon, Percy Lebaron Spencer was working with devices like magnetrons to radiate microwave signals, which are used during the early radar system. When a fine day came that he noticed a melted candy in his pocket, he decided to build a container box with microwaves being emitted by magnetron, which also made the candy to melt. He did not know that his accidental observation has produced the microwave oven that the contemporary world has been using.
Didn’t you know that the machine that all medical establishments use today is accidentally invented as well? It was the accidental innovation of German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen that created X-rays while he was fooling around with radiation cathode-producing rays experiment in 1895. While he was switching on the cathode rays, he noticed that the fluorescent light in his lab was glowing. He decided to cover the screen but the glow was still insisting until he accidentally placed his hand between the screen and the tube and noticed the silhouette of his bones. And so, X-rays were accidentally innovated.
Because of the influence of the discovery of X-rays, Henri Bacquerel also made an accidental experiment that further led to the discovery of radioactivity by the couple scientist Pierre and Marie Curie. It happened when Henri wrapped all his equipment with cloth during the winter season and left them in a drawer. When he came back, he saw a burned image on the photographic plate caused by the contact of uranium crystal. And this accidental experiment has led to the discovery of now the power of nuclear weaponry.
Alexander Fleming accidentally invented Penicillin through leaving an unclean petri dish. When he came back from a vacation, the petri dish, which had Staph bacteria originally in it, had produced mold that actually killed all the bacteria left in that dish. He named the mold Penicillin notatum, and led to the discovery of Penicillin, an antibacterial medicine used worldwide these days.