Daily Archives: April 23, 2011



Image via Wikipedia

Today, I want to talk about the importance of serendipity, or “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.”  A good example of this is the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming.

“When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I suppose that was exactly what I did.”  The story behind penicillin is simple, but it is still scarcely creditable.  Fleming was a brilliant scientist in the 1940s. He only had one problem: He was anything but a neat freak. But this little problem, or set back, turned out to be incredibly useful when he forgot some of his cultures before leaving on a month long vacation. When he returned, he noticed that a certain mold had developed. This mold had killed off all the bacteria it came in contact with. As you’ve probably guessed, this mold was penicillin.

Another example is the famous story of Archimedes and the theory of displacement. Archimedes stepped into the bath one morning, without the least clue about how that bath would affect science forever.The water the went over the brim of the tub equaled in volume the submerged part of his body. The volume of his body and the volume of the dispersed water were the same. According to legend, he was so excited that he hopped from the tub and ran into the streets (naked!) shouting, “Eureka!”, or “I have found it!”

Serendipity, also known as the black swan theory, is all about the way the accidental influences the incredible. It’s also about seeing the extraordinary in everyday life.

I’m not not the first person to blog  about this, nor am I the most eloquent. But it amazes me when I look around and see the glory of creation, and I find myself wondering about all the possibilities the world holds. That’s my Hallmark moment of the week! Have a happy Easter!