For most of us, it’s hard to imagine how certain things have been invented. How many months and years did it take for Edison to create a first light bulb? And surely, Tesla’s work was not easy, but sometimes brilliance strikes by accident.
Sometimes scientists and ordinary people stumble upon greatness and share their discoveries with the rest of the world. Here are just a few of those great inventions.
Alexander Flaming was looking for a drug that could cure diseases, but he found it in the at least likely way. He discovered that contaminated Petri dish he threw away had a mold that was dissolving all the bacteria around it. In a mold, he discovered powerful antibiotic, penicillin. The discovery of penicillin is one of the most significant findings in the world. It’s impossible to count how many lives has Flaming’s discovery saved, but some estimate that penicillin has saved more than 200 million lives.
In 194, Percy Spencer was conducting radar-related research using a vacuum tube. After discovering that candy bar in his pocket was melting, he placed popcorn in the machine. When popcorn started to pop, he knew he had an amazing discovery on his hands. Two years later, Spencer built a first microwave, which weighed 750 pounds and it was worth $5,000. As you may assume, buyers were not interested in buying the magical oven for $5000. A decade later, in the late 60s, a much more affordable 100-volt microwave was introduced to the market.
According to ancient legend from China, one lucky cook was simply experimenting in a kitchen 2,000 years ago when he mixed three ingredients: charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfur. For some unknown reason, he placed mixture in a bamboo tube when it exploded. Today, China produces more fireworks than any other country in the world.
The late 1800s were exciting times for science. German physicist, William Roentgen was studying properties of cathode ray tubes. When he ran electricity through a tube filled with gas, the tube would glow. But when Roentgen surrounded the tube with a black cardboard and turned on the machine, a chemical would start to glow a few feet away. What he didn’t know is that the tube was sending invisible light that could go through wood, paper, and even skin. Roentgen called the phenomenon X-rays, where the X stood for unknown.