18 random scientific inventions and discoveries that changed the world


2018-04-06 18:00:13




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18 random scientific inventions and discoveries that changed the world

Most scientific discoveries are the result of painstaking, focused and incredibly complex work, the goal of which is to single task — to make a breakthrough in a particular area. But history is full of instances when incredible discoveries were made, scientists when their gaze is completely in the opposite direction.

Sometimes important discoveries happen completely at random. Take for instance the development of a drug to improve blood flow to the myocardium and treatment of angina and coronary heart disease. For the heart this medicine has been shown in clinical trials proved almost useless, but it came to light sildenafil, better known as Viagra now. Opening the same saccharin – an artificial sweetener – was the result of fatigue and, possibly, in simple forgetfulness of the Russian Professor of chemistry to wash your hands before eating.

In most cases, the researchers behind such discoveries would not call them truly random, because before that people often spent a lot of sleepless nights and analyzed a huge mountain of scientific information – all in order to really make a discovery, though not what happened in the end.

The Quest to understand how one or another new product, also often contributes, as it did with the inventor of a special substance, intended to clean walls with soot. Just simple curiosity and a desire to change one ingredient to the other is embodied in a very interesting and highly profitable invention of plasticine.

You should Also understand that none of this changed the world of "accidental" inventions would not have been possible without the presence of someone who would be able to promptly see the potential and value of the discovery. And yet history shows that the best innovations can come into this world in the most unexpected moment.



The Engineer of the company "Raytheon", Percy Spencer, is engaged in the manufacture of equipment for radar, in 1945, made one of the most important for this world discoveries. He found that microwave radiation can heat things. Legends about how he figured it out, there are a few. According to one of them, one day he accidentally left in his pocket a chocolate bar and started to work with the magnetron, and a few minutes later was surprised to feel the chocolate in his pocket started to melt. Trying to figure out what it was, Spencer decided to experiment with other products: eggs and grains of corn. From what he saw he concluded that the cause of the observed is microwave radiation.

Whatever it was, in 1946, Spencer received a patent for the first microwave. The first microwave the "Radarange" was released in 1947, the same firm where he worked. But it was intended not for cooking, but for a quick defrost, and used exclusively by the military. Her height was 168 centimeters, weight — 340 kg, power — 3 kW, which is approximately twice the power of modern domestic microwave ovens. Microwave for the military was worth $ 3,000. In 1965 she published her household option, which was sold for $ 500.



For a long time quinine was used as the main means of treatment of malaria. Now it can still be found as a component of drugs against malaria, and as an additive in various soft drinks.

The Jesuit missionaries used the quinine from the beginning of 1600 years, having discovered it in South America and later brought to Europe, but according to one legend, the use of this substance for the treatment of disease practiced by the representatives of the Andean civilizations is still early, and the discovery of quinine, and in particular its properties, often associated with case good luck.

One of the legends says about one the Andean inhabitant lost in the jungle and suffering from malaria fever. Completely exhausted from thirst, he drank from puddles of water, located at the foot of the Cinchona tree. Bitter taste of water at first very scared person. He thought that drinking something that will further aggravate his condition. But, fortunately, it all happened quite the opposite. After a time the fever retreated, the man could find his way home and share the story about the amazing tree.

This story is not as well documented as the same as the official version of the missionary bernabé Cobo, who brought the Indians received from quinine to Europe and treated them the wife of the Viceroy of Peru, but we just couldn't ignore interesting legend about luck, which subsequently changed the world.



In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was working with cathode-ray tube. Despite the fact that the tube was shielded, Roentgen noticed that a cardboard coated with barium platinocyanide and near the tube began to glow in a dark room.

X-ray tried to block the rays, but most of the things he put in front of them, showed a similar effect. When in the end he put in front of the tube my hand, I noticed that she was starting to show through on the image projected on the screen. His discovery he called "x-rays" (X-rays). After the x-ray tube replaced the photographic plate and obtained the first radiograph.

Soon after, the technology has been adapted by medical institutions and research laboratories. However, the danger of prolonged exposure to x-rays, scientists had yet to understand.



The Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by the French physicist A. Becquerel. He was engaged in the study of the relationship of luminescence and recently discovered x-rays.

Becquerel decided to find out, whether is not accompanied by any luminescence under x-rays? To check his hunch, he took a few compounds, including one of the uranium salts, phosphorescent yellow-green light. Illuminating it with sunlight, he wrapped the salt in black paper and put in a dark closet on a photographic plate, also wrapped in black paper. After some time, showing the plate Becquerel saw the image of a piece of salt. But fluorescent radiation could not pass through black paper and only x-rays could in these circumstances to light the plate.

After Spending a few similar experiments using uranium salts, he realized that the opening of new rays that pass through opaque objects, but are not x-ray.

Becquerel found that the radiation intensity is determined only by the amount of uranium and does not depend on what connections it enters. Thus, this property was not inherent in the compounds, and chemical element uranium.



In 1941, Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral dock decided to take a walk in the Alps with his dog. Upon returning home, he, as usual, began to clean animal hair from the heads of thistles. But this time I decided to see how they look under a microscope. As it turned out, each head had tiny hooks with which they cling to animal fur and clothing.

The Engineer did not plan to invent a new system of fasteners, but after seeing how easy and hard hooks to cling to fabric and fur, he still could not resist the temptation. Through years of trial and error he realized that the most suitable material for the creation of Velcro is nylon.

Velcro became very popular shortly after the technology was adapted aerospace Agency NASA. Later, Velcro became widely used in the manufacture of casual clothing and shoes.



Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that is about 400 times sweeter than sugar. It was opened in 1878, a German chemist of Russian origin Konstantin Vallberga the Johns Hopkins University. Falberg, and the head of the American Professor Ira Remsen of the study were derived bitumen (coal tar).

After a long day in the lab, Fahlberg forgot to wash my hands before dinner. He picked up the bread and bit into a piece, the scientist has noticed that he has a sweet taste, as, indeed, the rest of the food to which he touched with his hands.

He returned to the lab and began experimenting by mixing different components, yet eventually found that the combination of ortho-sulfobenzoic acid with phosphorus chloride and ammonia is obtained a substance with the same sweet flavor (it should be noted that the practice of trying random chemicals to the taste is not typical for scientists).

Falberg patented chemical formula of saccharin in 1884 (not writing to the holder of the patent Remsen, despite the fact that together they had published the first scientific article on this discovery). Widespread artificial sweetener has received during the First world war, when the supplies of sugar in the world was limited.

Tests of the substance showed that it is not absorbed by the body and is not high in calories. In 1907, saccharin as a sugar substitute have been taken by diabetics as a diabetic sweetener or sugar.


implantable pacemaker

In 1956, American engineer and inventor Wilson Greatbatch engaged in the development of a device that records heart rhythm. Reaching into a box for a resistor that was required to complete the outline of the scheme, he pulled the wrong resistor was larger.

However, installing this resistor, the engineer found that the circuit emits an electric surge. The frequency of the pulsations gave him the idea about the heart's rhythm. Greatbatch burned with a desire to create a compact implantable pacemaker. It only remained to find a way to reduce the size of the stimulator, so that he could work.

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