Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Serendipity is defined as the occurrence of making fortunate discoveries by accident or by chance.One example of a serendipitous scientific act was the discovery of penicillinby Alexander Fleming in 1928.While working on lab studies,he noticed mold in a petri dish in which some Staphylociccus bacteria was growing. Surrounding the mold was a clear area. He recognized the mold was manufacturing something that was killing the bacteria in the dish.He concocted a broth with the mold and noticed that the broth always prevented the bacteria from growing.Isolation of the mold led to the discovery of penicillin. Perhaps the discovery of this miracle drug was a serendipitous thing, but others think what was really responsible was some accidental contamination in the bact. culture caused by human error. Nevertheless, chance played a big role in this valuable discovery.

Serendipity in science could also be seen in the area of vaccines in medicine.

British physician Edward jenner made a chance discovery when he created the vaccine against smallpox, a deadly disease. Jenner had the idea that if he could introduce the cowpox virus into people as a way to prevent them from getting the more deadly smallpox.The idea that cowpox offered imminity to smallpox came to Jenner without too much work. This example of serendipity, combined with Jenner's reasoning and good judgement, probably saved the lives of millions.