Serendipity is the occurrence of an unplanned fortunate discovery.Serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of product invention and scientific discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would present a wide array of information and viewpoints, rather than just re-enforcing a user's opinion.
The first noted use of "serendipity" in the English language was by Horace Walpole on 28 January 1754. In a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann, Walpole explained an unexpected discovery he had made about a lost painting of Bianca Cappello by Giorgio Vasariby reference to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip . The princes, he told his correspondent, were "always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of." The name comes from Serendip , an old name for Sri Lanka (Ceylon), hence Sarandib by Arab traders. It is derived from the Sanskrit Siṃhaladvīpaḥ (Siṃhalaḥ, Sri Lanka + dvīpaḥ, island).
The word has been exported into many other languages, with the general meaning of “unexpected discovery” or “fortunate chance”.
The term "serendipity" is often applied to inventions made by chance rather than intent. Andrew Smith, editor of TheOxford Companion to American Food and Drink, has speculated that most everyday products had serendipitous roots, with many early ones related to animals. The origin of cheese, for example, possibly originated in the Nomad practice of storing milk in the stomach of a dead camel that was attached to the saddle of a live one, thereby mixing rennet from the stomach with the milk stored within.
Other examples of serendipity in inventions include:
Serendipity contributed to entomologist Shaun Winterton discovering Semachrysa jade , a new species of lacewing, which he found not in its native Malaysia, but on the photo-sharing site Flickr. Winterton's discovery was aided by Flickr's ability to present images that are personalized to a user's interests, thereby increasing the odds he would chance upon the photo. Computer scientist Jaime Teevan has argued that serendipitous discovery is promoted by such personalization, writing that "people don’t know what to do with random new information. Instead, we want information that is at the fringe of what we already know, because that is when we have the cognitive structures to make sense of the new ideas."
Serendipity is a design principle for online activity that would present viewpoints that diverge from those participants already hold. Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein argues that such an "architecture of serendipity" would promote a healthier democracy. Like a great city or university, "a well-functioning information market" provides exposure to new ideas, people, and ways of life, "Serendipity is crucial because it expands your horizons. You need that if you want to be free."The idea has potential application in the design of social media, information searches, and web browsing.
William Boyd coined the term zemblanity in the late twentieth century to mean somewhat the opposite of serendipity: "making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries occurring by design".A zemblanity is, effectively, an "unpleasant unsurprise". It derives from Novaya Zemlya (or Nova Zembla), a cold, barren land with many features opposite to the lush Sri Lanka (Serendip).
Bahramdipity is derived directly from Bahram Gur as characterized in The Three Princes of Serendip . It describes the suppression of serendipitous discoveries or research results by powerful individuals.
Sir Alexander Fleming was a Scottish biologist, physician, microbiologist, and pharmacologist. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the world's first broadly effective antibiotic substance benzylpenicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. He wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy.
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.
Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey, was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming for his role in the development of penicillin.
Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to sciences and academic disciplines, discovery is the observation of new phenomena, new actions, or new events and providing new reasoning to explain the knowledge gathered through such observations with previously acquired knowledge from abstract thought and everyday experiences. A discovery may sometimes be based on earlier discoveries, collaborations, or ideas. Some discoveries represent a radical breakthrough in knowledge or technology.
In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.
Social research is a research conducted by social scientists following a systematic plan. Social research methodologies can be classified as quantitative and qualitative.
Abu Hamid Ahmed ibn Mohammed al-Saghani al-Asturlabi was a Persian astronomer and historian of science. He flourished in Baghdad, where he died in 379-380 A.H/ 990 A.D.
The Three Princes of Serendip is the English version of the story Peregrinaggio di tre giovani figliuoli del re di Serendippo published by Michele Tramezzino in Venice in 1557. Tramezzino claimed to have heard the story from one Cristoforo Armeno, who had translated the Persian fairy tale into Italian, adapting Book One of Amir Khusrau's Hasht-Bihisht of 1302. The story first came to English via a French translation, and now exists in several out-of-print translations. Serendip is the Classical Persian name for Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
The history of penicillin follows a number of observations and discoveries of apparent evidence of antibiotic activity in molds before the modern isolation of the chemical penicillin in 1928. There are anecdotes about ancient societies using molds to treat infections, and in the following centuries many people observed the inhibition of bacterial growth by various molds. However, it is unknown if the species involved were Penicillium species or if the antimicrobial substances produced were penicillin.
Patsy O’Connell Sherman was an American chemist and co-inventor of Scotchgard, a 3M brand of products, a stain repellent and durable water repellent.
In science, priority is the credit given to the individual or group of individuals who first made the discovery or propose the theory. Fame and honours usually go to the first person or group to publish a new finding, even if several researchers arrived at the same conclusion independently and at the same time. Thus between two or more independent discoverers, the first to publish is the legitimate winner. Hence, the tradition is often referred to as the priority rule, the procedure of which is nicely summed up in a phrase "publish or perish", because there are no second prizes. In a way, the race to be first inspires risk-taking that can lead to scientific breakthroughs which is beneficial to the society. On the other hand, it can create an unhealthy competition and incentives to publish poorly supported findings, which can be detrimental to scientific progress.
The following outline is provided as a topical overview of science:
Clodomiro Picado Twight, also known as "Clorito Picado", was a Costa Rican scientist, born in Nicaragua, who was recognized for his research and discoveries. He was a pioneer in the researching of snakes and serpent venoms; his internationally recognized achievement is the development of various antivenins. His work on molds was a precursor to the formal discovery of penicillin. His work resulted in compounds which he used to treat patients at least one year before the re-discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming. He wrote over 115 works, mainly books and monographs.
The heroic theory of invention and scientific development is the hypothesis that the principal authors of inventions and scientific discoveries are unique heroic individuals – "great scientists" or "geniuses". A competing hypothesis is that most inventions and scientific discoveries are made independently and simultaneously by multiple inventors and scientists.
The concept of multiple discovery is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors. The concept of multiple discovery opposes a traditional view—the "heroic theory" of invention and discovery.
Science and technology in the United Kingdom has a long history, producing many important figures and developments in the field. Major theorists from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland include Isaac Newton whose laws of motion and illumination of gravity have been seen as a keystone of modern science and Charles Darwin whose theory of evolution by natural selection was fundamental to the development of modern biology. Major scientific discoveries include hydrogen by Henry Cavendish, penicillin by Alexander Fleming, and the structure of DNA, by Francis Crick and others. Major engineering projects and applications pursued by people from the United Kingdom include the steam locomotive developed by Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, the jet engine by Frank Whittle and the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee. The United Kingdom continues to play a major role in the development of science and technology and major technological sectors include the aerospace, motor and pharmaceutical industries.
The role of chance, or "luck", in science comprises all ways in which unexpected discoveries are made.
Logology is the study of all things related to science and its practitioners—philosophical, biological, psychological, societal, historical, political, institutional, financial. The term logology is back-formed from the suffix -logy, as in geology, anthropology etc., in the sense of the study of science. The word logology provides grammatical variants not available with the earlier terms science of science and sociology of science, such as logologist, logologize and logological. The emerging field of metascience is a subfield of logology.
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