19 Sep 2008
Cures out of Chaos
Do discoveries come from hard work or from sheer accidents? A book named „Cures out of Chaos“ by Daniel Podolsky argues that serendipity, intuition, luck, and laboratory accidents have played important roles in major scientific discoveries. The accidental discovery of Penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming is a good example. Although most medical discoveries did in fact occur by chance and luck, pure luck is not enough – Fleming for instance was already well-known from his earlier work, and had developed a reputation as a brilliant researcher. Both is required: hard work and sheer accidents. In the words of Louis Pasteur, one could say “chance favors the prepared mind”.