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10 accidental inventions that changed the world and in fact, experts estimate that between 30 and 50 percent of of all

scientific discoveries are in some way accidental. the following accidental inventions from the past two centuries have changed the world in one way or another. 1. Matches Many of us wonder what life was like before electricity or the nternet !shudder", but imagine life before matches. #e$re talking magnifying glasses and flint. %or those of us who like to create controlled flame from time to time with the strike of a match, we can thank a &ritish pharmacist and his dirty mixing stick. n 1'(), *ohn #alker noticed a dried lump on the end of a stick while he was stirring a mix of chemicals. #hen he tried to scrape it off, voila, sparks and flame. *umping on the discovery, #alker marketed the first friction matches as +%riction ,ights- and sold them at his pharmacy. .he initial matches were made of cardboard but he soon replaced those with three/inch long hand/cut wooden splints0

2. Penicillin 1lthough antibiotics may get a bum rap for their prevalence and overuse, life before them was fraught with untamable infection and few defensive tools. 2enicillin was the first antibiotic, a discovery that happened in 13(3 when a young bacteriologist, 4ir 1lexander %leming, was tidying up his lab. 1fter having been on vacation, he returned to work to find that a petri dish of 4taphylococcus bacteria had been left uncovered0 and he noticed that mold on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. 5e identified the mold as penicillium notatum, and upon further research found that it could kill other bacteria and could be given to small animals without ill effect. 1 decade later, 5oward %lorey and 6rnst 7hain picked up where %leming left off and isolated the bacteria/killing substance found in the mold 8 penicillin. .he three won the 9obel 2ri:e in medicine in 13;5 <for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases.3. Microwave oven &aking a potato in eight minutes must have seemed beyond imagination before this. .he technology that promised to revolutioni:e the load on housewives everywhere, not to mention bachelors, was discovered in the 13;0s when the =.4. company >aytheon was working on wartime magnetron tubes used in radar defense. 2ercy 4pencer, an engineer at the company, was working on a magnetron when he noticed that a candy bar in his pocket had started to melt due to the microwaves. 6ureka? 4pencer developed a box for cooking and found that indeed, when food was placed in the box with the microwave energy, it cooked @uickly 4. Plastic 1lthough earlier plastics had relied on organic material, the first fully synthetic plastic was invented in 130A when ,eo 5endrik &aekeland accidentally created &akelite. 5is initial @uest was to invent a ready replacement for shellac, an expensive product derived from lac beetles. &aekeland combined formaldehyde with phenol, a waste product of coal, and subBected the mixture to heat. >ather than a shellac/like material, he inadvertently created a polymer that was uni@ue in that it didn$t melt under heat and stress. .he new thermosetting plastic was used for everything from phones to Bewelry to clocks. 8. Safety glass &ack in the early days of automobiles, before seatbelts and airbags were part of the package, one of the gravest dangers was inBury from shards of shattered windshield glass. #e can thank %rench artist and chemist Cdouard &DnDdictus for chancing upon the invention of laminated glass, also known as safety glass. #hile in his lab, a glass flask dropped and broke but didn$t shatter, &DnDdictus reali:ed that the interior was coated with plastic cellulose nitrate that held the now/harmless broken pieces together. 5e applied for a patent in 1303 with a vision of increasing the safety of cars, but manufacturers reBected the idea to keep costs down. cars were e@uipped with glass that didn$t splinter into Bagged pieces upon impact.