A Serendipitous World

On a daily basis, unexpected results are obtained by almost everyone. Serendipity can be defined as making accidental discoveries.  Some depict serendipity as pure luck or a thing of chance.  In a way it can be looked at as luck, but it depends on the person.  Accidents or coincidences can happen to anyone, but are only viewed as discoveries if the person knows what to do with the information that they have discovered. Many inventions have been the result of serendipity, and the world would not be what it is today without these accidental discoveries.

                Serendipity has been the cause of major inventions. Saccharin, which is an artificial sweetener, was discovered by accident. A researcher forgot to wash his hands before eating his lunch, and tasted an unusual sweetness in his bread. He then realized he had leftover chemicals on his hands. This invention has transformed the sugar industry by using artificial sweetener as a substitute in soft drinks and other foods. This enables diabetics to consume sweet foods without having excess sugar. Potato chips are another example of a food item that was invented by accident. A man complained that his French fries were too soggy, and not cooked all of the way, so the chef cut the potatoes into small bits and cooked them until they were crisp, which resulted in the potato chip. Snack foods would not be the same without chips. These food items have changed people’s diets, and culture would not be the same without them.

                One technological invention that has changed the world is the microwave oven. This has changed the food industry because companies now produce meals that can be quickly heated up in the microwave. Methods of cooking, and preparation of meals have greatly changed since the microwave oven was invented. Penicillin was also discovered by mistake, but has been a major contributor to the drug industry. It was one of the first antibiotics used, and was discovered because the scientist forgot about the bacteria he had, and fungus grew on top of it. The medicine and technological worlds have been transformed by people’s accidental discoveries of key products that are still used today.

                The world has progressed and grown because of unexpected discoveries that people have made. Some scientists don’t recognize serendipity and won’t give other scientists credit for results that they weren’t expecting. They seem to believe that if someone gets unexpected results, then clearly that person messed up their experiment and has obtained incorrect results. Although serendipity is defined as making accidental discoveries, it is only serendipity if the person knows what to do with their findings. People encounter coincidences every day, but few know how to go about utilizing the information that they found. One example is of Sir Isaac Newton and the apple. An apple could have fallen on anyone’s head, but he had the knowledge and curiosity to pursue the matter further. I believe that if something is discovered serendipitously, it should be recognized. Even if the results weren’t intended, something was still found. People who discover things this way deserve credit because they came up with a way to do an experiment that other people hadn’t thought of. The results may be wrong, but something new and different was found. This shows that serendipity isn’t completely luck because certain results can happen to anyone, but it’s the people who know that something is wrong and persevere to find the end product that truly have serendipitous characteristics.

                Serendipity should to be recognized because without it, the world would not be the same. Unexpected discoveries have changed culture for the better, and the products usually help people even though the items were not intended to be made. People who know how to use their accidental findings to discover new things are considered to have serendipity, while most people are just lucky and don’t utilize the information to its greatest extent. The medical, technological, and food aspects of the world have grown immensely by the unexpected findings and applications of these serendipitous discoveries.


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