It’s no secret that many discoveries were made by accident. Perhaps the most famous is the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Among the scientists, remember the invention of antibiotics by Alexander Fleming, who left samples of bacteria in front of an open window and was surprised to find that they were struck by mold. Recently, the American writer Charlotte Jones published a study called “Mistakes That Worked” in which she collected the most interesting random findings. Consider some of them.


Now this material is widely used in production. But in the middle of the XIX century, rubber is a capricious substance that could not withstand temperature extremes, with slight heating it acquired the properties of chewing gum – it became soft and stretchy. And at low temperature, it could compete in hardness with a stone. In Europe it was considered a curiosity, sometimes used as a washing gum. Since 1820, rubber began to be used in clothing. The fibers were used to produce elastic bands for suspenders, they tried to make waterproof clothing and galoshes. However, such things did not serve for a long time and quickly turned into a smelly mass. In America, after such a fashionable season, they did not know how to get rid of this manure and simply buried it in the ground.

Inventor Charles Goodyear set out to improve the material. He mixed rubber with anything he could find: sand, salt, pepper, oils, even soup and cheese. By the method of “scientific poke”, he decided to try all the substances available on earth, firmly believing in his star. For many years, Goodyear continued its experiments. It got to the point that his family was in poverty and the inventor was considered mad.

And in 1844, Goodyear accidentally heated rubber and sulfur on the stove. Seeing the excellent properties of the resulting material – a small rubber band only a few millimeters wide, the scientist continued his experiments in this direction and discovered the process of vulcanization. Thanks to this, we now have excellent insulating material and other useful things, including car tires.


Today, this medical device saves thousands of lives. Interestingly, its creation was also accidental. At the start of World War II, John Hopps was conducting research to save a man who was suffering from severe hypothermia. The engineer tried to use high frequency radio emission for this. Suddenly he realized that an electrical impulse could trigger a stopped heart. It was not until 1950, based on these studies, that the first pacemaker was created. It was a bulky device that left burns on the body, but the person remained alive.

Later, medical researcher Wilson Greatbatch worked on inventing a device that would record heart rhythms. He just made a mistake and inserted a resistor into the device that didn’t match. Oscillations appeared in the electrical circuit, coinciding with the heartbeat. Based on this discovery, an implantable pacemaker was developed.


The discovery of this kitchen appliance can also be described as fortuitous. Researcher Percy Spencer worked to improve the radar. Once during the experiment, the scientist walked under the transmitter and noticed that the chocolate in his pocket had melted. Spencer conducted a series of studies and created the first microwave oven. His weight was about 400 kg. This carcass was going to be used in restaurants, on planes and boats to heat food.

All of these things have changed our lives and the list goes on. Without these random errors, our world could be different.