• PENICILLIN : Sir Alexander Fleming only discovered the wonder medicine after giving up on his medical experiments. He noticed a mold on an old petri dish which was breaking down bacteria around it. Growing the mould himself, he discovered that it contained the antibiotic Penicillin, and history was made.


  • MATCHSTICKS : British Pharmacist John Walker was stirring his chemicals when he noticed a dried lump on the end of his stirring stick. Trying to scrape it off, it invariably sparked a flame, and the idea struck him to convert these to proper matchsticks.


  • MICROWAKE : Percy LeBaron Spencer was working on magnetrons—high-powered vacuum tubes that generate short radio waves called microwaveS . The engineer was doing his job as usual when he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted. Quickly Spencer realized that it was the magnetrons that were causing this phenomenon.


  • SWEETNER : Saccharin, the first artificial sweetener. The Russian chemist was working in the lab when he accidentally tasted some of the chemicals and realized how sweet they were. After some experimentation, Fahlberg came to the conclusion that the sweetness was caused by the reaction of o-sulfobenzoic acid with phosphorus chloride and ammonia to create benzoic sulfinide—or, saccharin.


  • X-RAYSWilhelm Conrad Rontgen was in his laboratory experimenting on a vacuum tube covered in cardboard when he noticed a mysterious glow emanating from a chemically coated screen nearby.He named the new rays causing this glow X-rays due to their unknown origin—and after playing around some more with the new rays, he discovered that putting his hand in front of the glow allowed him to see past his skin to his bones, thus leading to the world’s first X-ray.


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