From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Linguistics / Applied Linguistics  (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Applied Linguistics Task Force.
WikiProject Invention  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Invention, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Invention on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Just want to say[edit]

Just want to say that the eBay image made me laugh. Don't remove it! slicedoranges

Why the stub warning? What's missing? -- till we *) 10:11, Dec 16, 2003 (UTC)

I think it's too much of a dictionary entry; there ought to be more 'encyclopedic' material in there. Gaurav 13:20, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)

But isn't it more than a dictionary entry, with the hints on its artifical origin, its usage in sociological theory and the list of things named so? -- till we *) 14:59, Dec 16, 2003 (UTC)

The concept of serendipity is far from clear when one read this entry: serendipity is, in turn, an effect ("the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate"), a principle ("The principle of serendipity applies here"), something that have different kinds ("Some ideas and concepts that came to scientists through accidents or even dreams are also considered a kind of serendipity."), a method ("Serendipity is used as a sociological method"), an art ("Serendipity is the art of making an unsought finding") or a faculty ("Serendipity is the faculty of finding things we did not know we were looking for"). The overall picture is that serendipity is a word with a very loose meaning, possibly meaningless. Maybe this could be fixed or investigated somehow, my personal feeling being that this word is bogus (by the way there is no entry in WP for bogosity, which is a shame) (talk) 14:22, 23 November 2009 (UTC)


good luck or to find something useful

Serendipity is also used for descirbing the "exaltation" of the scientist, when he is struck by the new insight. It is new because he had not planned to see it. The sense of serendipity gives him a sudden insight in the value of what he has seen. (reas) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Cases of serendipity which could be added to the list[edit]

  • POST IT. 3M chemist Spence Silver liked trying and error. But he never expected that by mixing simple organic molecules in a odd proportion during an experiment in 1968, he would concoct a polymer that was exactly the opposite of what he wanted to achieve. Instead of holding on to the objects after it was applied, the polymer let go easily. In other words, it was a glue that didn’t stick very well. Although he knew there must be some good use for it, never did he imagine that that accidental fluke would turn out to be such a huge commercial success today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjpcondor (talkcontribs) 22:40, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Columbus' landing in the West Indies, as he had thought, has been much later described as discovery of Americas. The continent that celebrates Columbus Day is in fact named after Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian explorer and cartograph who sailed coasts of South America between 1499 and 1500 AD, and told the Europeans that they had discovered a new continent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjpcondor (talkcontribs) 22:36, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Thomas Seebeck's discovery of the Seebeck Effect. -- Tronatz 03:22, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
  • William Henry Perkin discovery of the first aniline dye, mauveine (of the colour mauve). -- Tronatz 03:22, 14 May 2005 (UTC); AdderUser 21:21, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Discovery of the principle behind inkjet printers by a Canon engineer. After putting his hot soldering iron by accident on his pen ink had been ejected from the point of pen af few moments later.
  • Why isn't Teflon listed (discovered by Roy J. Plunkett; the story is on his page)? It is already mentioned in the text further down anyways. -- 23 Nov 2005
  • DES, diethylstilbestrol: In his autobiography "To See the Obvious" on page 103, Arthur John Birch writes: "[Sir Edward Charles] Dodds, my bete noir, owed his position largely to the fact that he had operated on King George. Because he was such a poor organic chemist, when he tried to make propenylphenol anole by standard alkaline demethylation of anethole he accidentally obtained a dimer instead. It happened to be diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first powerful synthetic estrogen." AdderUser 17:51, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Cherenkov observed blue light coming from a container of water in the vicinity of a radiation source. Further investigation led to the discovery of the Cherenkov Effect. AdderUser 19:07, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
  • According to the obituary of Friedrich Asinger in Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl., 2007, 46, 6010-6013: "In experiments on the production of rocket fuels during his forced stay in the Soviet Union Asinger studied the combined effect of elemental sulfur and gaseous ammonia on pentan-2-one ..." under mild conditions. He could not identify the products at the time. He was released after "8 years and 9 winters" and returned to Germany whereupon he determined that he had unintentionally (serendipitously?) prepared 3-thiazolines, a class of compounds of which only one example was previously known.AdderUser 16:19, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
  • According to a bio at an MIT website, Wilson "Greatbatch was building an oscillator to record heart sounds. When he accidentally installed a resistor with the wrong resistance into the unit, it began to give off a steady electrical pulse. Greatbatch realized that the small device could be used to regulate the human heart. After two years of refinements, he had hand-crafted the world's first successful implantable pacemaker (patent #3,057,356). Until that time, the apparatus used to regulate heartbeat was the size of a television set, and painful to use." The WikiPedia pages for Wilson Greatbatch and Artificial pacemaker make no mention of this version of the story. Was it serendipity or not?AdderUser 07:03, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
  • "The discovery of the Friedel-Crafts reaction was the fruit of serendipity and keen observation. In 1877, Friedel and Crafts were working in Charles A. Wurtz's laboratory. In order to prepare amyl iodide, they treated amyl chloride with aluminum and iodine using benzene as the solvent. Instead of amyl iodide, they ended up with amylbenzene! Unlike others before them who may have simply discarded the reaction, they thoroughly investigated the Lewis acid catalyzed alkylations and acylations and published more than 50 papers and patents [...]" Quoted from Jie Jack Li, Name Reactions: A Collection of Detailed Reaction Mechanisms, 3rd Ed., Springer, 2006, Note 1, pages 240-243. AdderUser 09:33, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The photocatalyzed lysis of water to oxygen and hydrogen, H2O → ½O2 + H2, with titanium dioxide was discovered serendipitously by Akira Fujishima when he was still a graduate student at the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo. The most cited relevant paper is A. Fujishima and K. Honda, "Electrochemical Photolysis of Water at a Semiconductor Electrode", Nature, 1972, 238(5358), 37-38. The story is told in TiO2 Photocatalysis; Fundamentals and Applications, A. Fujishima, K. Hashimoto and T. Watanabe. Tokyo: BKC, Inc., 1999 (translation of the Japanese original published in 1997).AdderUser 02:13, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
  • According to the Wikipedia article on triboluminescence: "The discovery of triboluminescence was actually an accident. In the late 1790's sugar production began to produce more refined pure sugar crystals. These crystals were formed into a large solid cone for transport and sale. This solid cone of sugar had to be broken into usable chunks using a device known as a sugar nip. People began to notice that as sugar was `nipped' in low light, tiny bursts of light were visible. The first recorded observation however, occurred even earlier and is attributed to English scholar Francis Bacon when he wrote in his 1620 Novum Organum that `It is well known that all sugar, whether candied or plain, if it be hard, will sparkle when broken or scraped in the dark.'. The scientist Robert Boyle also reported on some of his work on triboluminescence in 1663."AdderUser 14:20, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
  • According to the the Wikipedia article on liquid crystals, their discovery was accidental. "In 1888 Austrian botanical physiologist Friedrich Reinitzer" was working with cholesterol derivatives when he noticed that cholesterol benzoate underwent more than one reversible phase transition. AdderUser (talk) 06:19, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Discovery of the Fen-Phen Debacle. A borderline case of "chance favoring the prepared mind" (a technician observing a single case, followed by others) and serendipity (patients being examined by the same curious and sagacious technician rather than a detached button pusher), as documented in "Dispensing With the Truth", Alicia Mundy, St. Martins Press, 2002 (ISBN-10: 0312270712, ISBN-13: 978-0312270711). Pam Ruff was an echocardiogram sonographer at MeritCare Clinic in Fargo, ND. Ruff had a patient present with aortic and mitral valves grossly inappropriate for the patient's age and medical history. Ruff asked the woman if she was taking any drugs and she said Fen-Phen. As more cases associating valve disease and Fen-Phen use showed up, Ruff began documenting cases on her own and with help from other technicians and nurses. Although she indicated her suspicions to the patients' physicians with each Fen-Phen related sonogram, her concerns were dismissed for about two years. At that time, fortuitously or serendipitously, Jack Crary, M.D. examined Ruff's sonogram of a long time patient with severe valve disease. He asked her if she had been taking any drugs and she said Fen-Phen. Only then did the connection become public and it took about another two years for the drug to be withdrawn from the market. AdderUser (talk) 17:48, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Wasn't the discovery of "Viagra" serendipitious? Wasn't the guy trying to find a drug for blood-pressure/heart problems?
  • Wasn't the discovery of "Blu-tak" similar to "Post-It Notes"?

The tale is of Indian origin not Persian[edit]

As I have mentioned before, The Three Princes of Serendip was published in Venice in 1557 by an enterprising printer called Michele Tramezzino. That Tramezzino was well-respected can be judged by the fact that the book bears the imprimatur of Pope Julius III. The title page of The Three Princes of Serendip claims that one Christoforo Armeno translated the book from Persian into Italian, but there are serious doubts as to whether Armeno ever existed, except in the fertile mind of Michele Tramezzino. Most likely Tramezzino was himself the compiler of the various tales, which were probably of ancient origin, mostly Indian.[1]. Heja Helweda 15:53, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Good Work But!:

If you want to know origin of a word you must consult prestigious dictionarys.Up to know, do you have any complain? OK I continue:)

Merriam Webster Dictionary :

  • "Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip" [2] and [3]

Do you know

  • Serendipity was its word of the day in January 15, 2004 :

"The word serendipity was formed by English author Horace Walpole (1717-1797) from Serendip (also Serendib), an old name for Sri Lanka, in reference to a Persian tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes "discovered, quite unexpectedly, great and wonderful good in the most unlikely of situations, places and people." [4]

American Heritage Dictionary : "From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian Sarandp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic sarandb.[5]

and I can't see anything in here :[6]

and the last, Horace Walpole (the one who coined it in English) says : " ...Deriving its name from an ancient Persian folktale "The Three Princes of Serendip.." [7] you think, he is lying or what?

So according to above, I changed back the article. Good Luck!

--Pejman47 16:51, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, those sources should be included, but one can not deny the fact that there is a controversy over the origin of the name, as shown by this source [8] Cheers! :).Heja Helweda 04:14, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
You didn't understand my point! I said the dispute was about the origion of a word. And for that you must consult prestigious dictionays not unknown unverifable websites. The persian story has the support of M_W and all the known dictories. They have not even mentioned this dispute! I can make a website like you have found to support my point. so, until you find a Dictionay to support it, you may not change it back. (I said dictionary OK!)You even mentioned the Indian orgion first and then Persian story! As M_W source is inferior to your source!
Be carefull that I consider any other move by you on this subject as vandalism and proof of your biased behaviour on Wikipedia. --Pejman47 06:16, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Blooming English: Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Language By Kate Burridge, pg 15: Serendip is an old name for Sri Lanka. The name came into English initially via the a Persian story called the Three princes of Serendip. Heja's source is an unacademic website and does not merit giving it more weight than the more academic and widely accepted argument. Also the Encyclopedia Britannica agrees. I am sure there are more serious articles to make arguments over..--alidoostzadeh 06:21, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

With specific reference to "The tale is of Indian origin not Persian":

The tale as Walpole knew it then (possibly a French translation of the 1557 Italian Peregrinaggio) and as we know it today (Remer's 1965 English translation; Hodges' 1964 and 1966 versions; scholarly papers about Persian, Indian and related literature) is a COMPOSITE.

The detailed stories about the king (the "host" to the Three Princes who nearly puts them to death) go back to Firdausi's Shahnameh (1010 AD) and are about the life of Bahram V Gur, a real king of the Sassanid Empire who ruled from ~420-440 AD in the region that was once known as Persia (now Iran). The Sassanids are PRE-Persian. Firdausi was Persian; the Shahnameh is Persian and it is definitely an important part of Persian history and culture. Many of the stories about Bahram V Gur and his rule have been verified by historians. However, in his 1010 epic history, Firdausi did NOT describe any stories of Three Princes from the land of Serendip.

After Firdausi, other poets (and minstrels?) retold and rewrote parts of the Shahnameh, sometimes for other kings or patrons. Nizami wrote his extract, the Haft Paykar, around 1197 AD. As far as I am aware, the first version known to incorporate The Three Princes of Serendip was Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht (1302 AD). (This is NOT the current Hasht-Bihisht entry in Wikipedia.) Khusrau was a Turk living in India when he wrote it so things are getting even more multicultural. I am not sure whether Khusrau wrote the Hasht Bihisht in Arabic or Hindi: probably in Arabic and probably NOT in Persian. The story about three princes or three wise brothers and the missing camel that Khusrau appears to have added to the Shahnameh can be traced to Indian folktales going back to around 100-500 AD, but possibly even earlier.

Other embellishments incorporated into Firdausi's Shahnameh by Khusrau or others can be traced to many different but sometimes overlapping sources: Indian folktales, Persian folktales, Hebrew folktales, possibly Turkish folktales, etc.

Pre-Persian Sassanids, Persians, Indians, Turks, ... The current English version of The Three Princes of Serendip that I think is being "discussed" here is from the Italian Peregrinaggio. That work is most closely derived from Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht. However, the entire work is a composite primarily yet inseparably derived from Persian epic literature (the Shahnameh) about pre-Persian Sassanians with elements added from Indian (camel story and some other adventures) folktales by a Turk.

The first few pages of Reference 3b ("Bahramdipity and Nulltiple Scientific Discoveries") on the main Serendipity page has some of the historical background, with detailed references. The PDF is a free download.

Rough Timeline:
100-500 AD: Indian folktales, including the story of three wise brothers or three princes and a camel.
400 AD: The real Bahram V Gur. Nothing about wise three princes.
1010 AD: Firdausi's epic history, the Shahnameh, in Persian. Nothing about three princes.
1197 AD: Nizami's Haft Paykar, in Persian. Nothing about three princes.
1302 AD: Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht. Written in India, possibly in Arabic but later translated into Persian. First verifiable mention of The Three Princes of Serendip along with stories of Bahram V Gur.
1557 AD: The Peregrinaggio published in Italy, attributed to Christoforo Armeni and almost certainly a partial translation of Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht, even if only from memory of "folktales" he learned growing up.
1754 AD: Walpole coins the word "serendipity" from the Peregrinaggio or a translation.
1900+ : Resurrection and poplularization of the word "serendipity".

Please login. Also you did not read the pdf carefully: [9], the three princes of serendip is based on the life of Bahram V Gur, king of Persiaa. (pg 78). Also the stories are in a Persian book and was translated from Persian. --alidoostzadeh 07:58, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

The paper does say that Bahram V Gur was "King of Persia" but it does get complicated. I'll concede "Persia" but some works break things down into the Early, Middle and Late Persia periods or sometimes even distinguish some periods as pre-Persian. In those cases, Pre-Persian must mean pre-modern Persian.

But I still say that The Three Princes of Serendip is a composite. At that time, much of the literature was oral, not written. The most famous story about the three princes and the missing camel is of early (100-500 AD) Indian origin. I don't know of any source that places it elsewhere eariler. Such stories do, of course, travel well and there may have been Persian, Chinese, Turkish and other adaptations or translations.

The stories of Bahram Gur and other kings began as an oral tradition and became a sort of mythology. They also probably traveled into other languages and cultures. Firdausi wrote them down in the Shahnameh.

Khusrau is the first writer to have placed the camel story in with the other stories that have been definitively traced to the section of the Shahnameh that deal with the life of Bahram V Gur.

Where did Khusrau learn these stories? We don't know, but probably by oral transmission. Did Khusrau learn an Indian version of the camel story and an Indian or Arabic version of the Shahnameh? We don't know. Did Khusrau learn the camel story and the Bahram Gur stories as Persian stories? We don't know. In what language did Khusrau originally write the Hasht Bihisht? I don't know, but I might be able to dig it out. He was on the payroll of Indian kings so he probably wrote for them. But Persian was known in India at the time.

In what language did Cristoforo Armeni learn the stories that were eventually translated as the Peregrinaggio? By the inscription, he probably learned and translated them from Persian, which makes sense as Persian was spoken in regions where he probably lived and grew up ("Christopher the Armenian", Persian being spoken in Armenia). Did Armeni ever see a written version of the original Hasht Bihisht and know that it was written by Khusrau? Probably not. It was probably all oral folk tales to him.

Some people actually did think that the Shahnameh was just mythology and folk tales until scholars figured out that it was based on reality.

I'd like to make an analogy to the Western literature, such as the Bible. Today, children know a lot of Bible stories in their native language (e.g., English) as if they were folktales. No one has to read the Bible to know about Noah and the Ark. But what is the origin of such stories? Walt Disney? England, the King James Bible? Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic versions? The earliest oral versions?

The camel story can be traced to oral Indian folktales.
The stories of Bahram Gur can be traced the written Shahnameh and earlier oral versions.
The final Three Princes of Serendip is a combination of Indian and Persian material.

New Comments:

I recently noticed a new entry for The Three Princes of Serendip. I originally wrote most of what is posted there and asked someone to submit it to this (serendipity} article before I knew how to post things. I did notice that it was removed but it seems that someone actually relocated it to a new article without making it clear what had happened. (For months, I thought it was completely deleted.) There is now a link from serendipity to The Three Princes of Serendip.

Next, I have added info about Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht to the wikipedia article Hasht-Bihisht.

Next, alidoostzadeh seems to know a lot about all of this stuff. Some of the differences may arise from imprecise use of terms: "Persian" to refer to the geographic region cf. culture cf. language cf. genealogy cf. etc. Were the Sassanians also Persians or did another group or tribe establish a lineage that is more closely associated with modern (current) Persians? The Sassanians were a dynasty within the Persian (geographic? cultural? genealogical?) empire? Did the Sassanids die out or did they get assimilated into a subsequent identifiable group? Similar disagreements probably arise in discussion of China and the various dynasties that have ruled the land we know as China. In the U.S., we are probably exposed to more Chinese history and culture and know about Qin, Han, Ming, Qing, ... dynasties from movies, books, etc. and better understand if someone says that an expensive porcelain vase is Ming, not Chinese or if a famous artwork is Han, not Chinese. I don't have an answer, I'm just trying to explain why there may be confusion or disagreement about what is meant by Persian in each discussion.

Next, a few more comments about origin of the word serendip versus the literary origin of The Three Princes of Serendip. Walpole was primarily influenced by the camel story. If Walpole had read it in a different context, he might still have been inspired to coin a new word as long as the Princes or brothers had a catchy word in their name or homeland. If Walpole had read the camel story in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (the English version can be found here: Burton, R. F. (1901) Supplemental Nights to the Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume IV. Burton Society, Denver, CO: pages 1-15. (Facsimile reprint of the original 1886 Edition by the Kamashastra Society, Benares.), there would be no mention of Bahram V or anything else definitively traceable to Persian history or folklore. He might still have coined serendipity. But he didn't read it there.

Walpole only came across the Princes and the camel story because of a long series of events that I listed above in the "Rough Timeline": there are Sassanid, Persian, Indian, Turkish, Armenian, Italian and French contributions to Walpole's creation of serendipity in 1754.

The book originated as a composite as described above (and in Reference 3b on the main page); the word was inspired by a sub-plot that is, thus far, known to be of Indian origin but would not have been known to Walpole without the book.

It may reference present-day India/Sri Lanka, but it was Persian. The band Led Zeppelin wrote a song entitled Going to California. California is in the USA. Does that mean Led Zeppelin must be an American band??
What are you saying was Persian? Khusro's Hasht-Bihisht? I think people are arguing about a possible "ultimate" origin, if one can ever truly be identified. The earliest verifiable stories of brothers or princes (from India, Serendib or elsewhere) making wise or sagacious discoveries (i.e., the camel story) and earning unsought rewards go back to Indian folktales from around 100-500 AD. Khusro combined those folktales with authentic Persian material (stories about Bahram V Gur in the Shahnameh and Haft Paykar) into his Hasht-Bihisht. This is the Persian "fairy tale" that Chrisoforo Armeni translated into Italian for the Peregrinnagio which, after other translations, is what influenced Walpole. I'm waiting for someone to dig up an ancient tablet from China that shows that the princes and camel story originated there in 500 BC and was brought to India along trade routes.
Walpole was inspired by the adventures of the Three Princes and their stories are of Indian origin. Those stories were only known to Walpole because of the more complicated history and how they became incorporated into the Peregrinnagio of "Persian origin".AdderUser 14:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Discovery of Nylon?[edit]

The main page (on October 19, 2006) says: "Nylon was discovered when a group of young scientists playing around the lab when the boss was away, tried to produce a long fiber by stretching a blob of polyamide gel across the corridors." Unless the well documented history of nylon is a complete fabrication, this story seems to be outrageous beyond belief. For many years the focus of the Carothers group's research was synthetic polymers and fibers. Their goal was to make fibers to replace silk and other natural materials. From personal accounts that I have read and heard, they were pulling fibers from their flasks and tubes from the outset. There was nothing accidental or serendipitous about the preparation of Nylon. The choice of specific starting materials was deliberately planned to circumvent problems encountered with earlier approaches. This story about "playing around ... when the boss was away" sounds like pure hogwash and should be authenticated or referenced or removed as an example of serendipitous discovery.

Serendipity in the Origin of the Origin of The Three Princes of Serendip[edit]

Walpole derived "serendipity" from The Three Princes of Serendip, parts of which can be traced back to Firdausi'sShahnameh. There is an example of serendipity in the Shahnameh.

In the first part of the Shahnameh ("The First Kings"), it is told how King Hushang discovered fire from flint: "One day the king was riding ..." when he encountered a big black monstrous snake. The king threw a rock. The thrown rock hit the ground and shattered. "From the collision of the two stones a spark leaped out and the rock's heart glowed with fire. The snake was not killed but the fiery nature of flint was discovered so that whenever anyone struck it with iron sparks flashed forth." Hushang gave thanks to god and from that day forth men prayed toward fire. (Quotations from: Shahnameh; The Persian Book of Kings, translated by Dick Davis, Copyright: Mage Publishers, Washington DC, 1997/2000/2004; Published by Viking Penguin, NY/London, 2006.)

If Walpole had read that, he might have coined "hushangdipity" instead of "serendipity".AdderUser 23:11, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Split page[edit]

The bulk of this page is a list of accidental scientific discoveries, which isn't really about serendipity. The list needs to be made into a separate article (eg List of accidental scientific discoveries), and the remainder of the article tidied up. -- 01:07, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't know a lot about how Wiki works, but maybe make a redirect or co-title "List of serendipitous scientific discoveries" to faclilitate searching? 22:26, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


I removed the bit that says scientists don't like to admit to a discovery being serendipitous, this is completely counter to all of my experience with them. One of the frequent justifications for conducting all blue sky research is that beneficial discoveries and technologies will be discovered by accident Murray.booth 10:19, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

But it is completely agreeing with my experience (being a researcher myself, I know how it works from the inside - sometimes serendipity is recognized, but often there is a reluctance in doing it). It is true that the "accidental benefit" of blue sky research is often cited -but it doesn't involve true serendipity, it's more like practical spin-offs of scientific technology. I'd put back the bit, perhaps with a little more clarification. --Cyclopia 10:32, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
(Am I also a PhD student) Bring as we appear to have completely contradictory experiences maybe some sort of compromise between the extremes would make sense. Its just that it made it sound like no scientist would ever admit to it, and hey, be bold as they say!
how about:
While some scientists and inventors are reluctant about reporting accidental discoveries others openly admit its role.....Murray.booth 21:16, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
I think it's good. You're welcome to add something of this tone to the article. --Cyclopia 12:39, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

3M not 3:00AM[edit]

The paragraph that starts with "Post-it Notes" in the Inventions section , contains text "3:00AM" and I think it should say "3M". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:40, 12 January 2007 (UTC).

Bogus examples?[edit]

1. oxygen: Just what was serendipitous about the discovery of O2? Rather, the multiple independent disoveries of O2?

2. Acyclovir: unless I'm mistaken, acyclovir was discovered as part of a deliberate research program in anti-proliferative and anti-viral agents.

3. ether: Just what was serendipitous about the multiple independent developments of ether as an anesthetic? People knew about its hypnotic effects and the men who started using it in surgery (Morton, Long, et al.) did so deliberately, not by accident.

4. Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin): Hoffmann was deliberately trying to moderate the effects of salicylic acid which his father found discomforting. The product of his focused efforts was Aspirin. No serendipity. (Whether he was the first to make it or not is irrelevant: there was a deliberate search for a derivative with fewer side effects than salicylic acid itself.)

5. Magainin (from frogs): The fact that frogs are able to resist infection even after suffering severe wounds is what compelled Zasloff to search for a natural substance associated with that resistance in their skin. Lo and behold, he found what he was looking for: the magainins. What was the serendipity?

6. benzodiazepine: The comments provided are not consistent with what I have read about the discovery of this class of compounds. Sternbach had prepared a series of compounds for another project. Quite some time (years) later, he pulled out those old samples for testing on a new project. Only one of them was active. It turns out that the lone active structure was NOT what he had tried to synthesize; the reaction to make that compound had taken an unexpected course and produced a benzodiazepine. The part about "while cleaning up his lab" is, according to what I have read, untrue.

I can't check all of these entries, but many of them seem borderline to bogus. I think many of them should be deleted.

7. Spelling: cyanoacrilate is cyanoacrYlate. AdderUser 02:13, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I removed the entries no. 2,4,5. I agree with your concerns and it would be fine if you can check and substantiate more of them. --Cyclopia 14:13, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

8. Re: "The German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz dreamed about Ourobouros, a snake running around and forming a circle, leading to his solution of the closed chemical structure of cyclic compounds, such as benzene" in the Serendipitous Ideas section.

Alfred Bader and others have made a strong case that Kekule's dream was a story made up after the fact and was actually an unattributed recollection of material that he had read in manuscript or even textbook form before making his claim. E.g., Bader Summary: "Bader will present "Richard Anschutz, Archibald Scott Couper, and Josef Loschmidt: A Detective at Work". This talk will explore the sorting out of truth from fiction in crediting the discovery of the structure of benzene. Bader provides evidence that Couper was the first person to describe the tetravalency of carbon, and not Kekule and also that Loschmidt, best known for his calculation of Avogadro's Number, was the first to describe the cyclic structure of benzene and made innumerable contributions to chemistry prior to turning his attention to physics.""AdderUser 16:32, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Still Bogus; Still there; Should be removed[edit]

1. "The first oral contraceptive (a.k.a. The Pill) was discovered by Dr. Carl Djerassi [sic] accidental production of synthetic progesterone and its intentional modification to allow for oral intake." This is bogus. The contraceptive effects of certain steroids, including progesterone, were known since the 1930s. Syntex was founded to increase the supply of synthetic steroids for medical purposes, in particular progesterone. People were studying progesterone analogs for contraceptive purposes for several years and Syntex was well aware of that work. Syntex provided its compounds to outside institutions for testing their effectiveness as contraceptives. There was nothing accidental or serendipitous about the Syntex research program into steroid synthesis and testing. It was a deliberate, structured chemical research program. The biology was validated externally.

2. "The anesthetic ether." This is bogus. The medicinal properties of ether were known to alchemists and chemists for hundreds of years. The use of ether as an anesthetic in surgery was not an accident. It was the deliberate and presumably independent invention of several surgeons. The wikipedia page on ether mentions Crawford Williamson Long and William T.G. Morton but there were other reports in the medical literature or in privately printed medical monographs by several others, some predating Long.

3. "The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide (Librium) was discovered accidentally in 1954 by the Austrian scientist Dr Leo Sternbach (1908–2005), who found the substance while cleaning up his lab." Totally bogus. Leo Sternbach had first prepared compounds of these types when he was a postdoc in Cracow, Poland in the 1930s. He resurrected that work experience while at Roche on a project that was eventually dropped. Quoting Sternbach (J. Med. Chem., 1979, 1-7): "At that time (this was the second half of 1955) we had to stop our work in the quinazoline field since other problems seemed to be of greater importance. We became involved with other synthetic projects and the isolation, purification, and degradation of various antibiotics. This intensive work, of little practical value, finally led, in April 1957, to an almost hopeless situation. The laboratory benches were covered with dishes, flasks, and beakers-all containing various samples and mother liquors. The working area had shrunk almost to zero, and a major spring cleaning was in order. During this cleanup operation, my co-worker, Earl Reeder, drew my attention to a few hundred milligrams of two products, a nicely crystalline base and its hydrochloride. The products were not submitted for pharmacological testing at that time [... 1955, so ...] we submitted the water-soluble salt for pharmacological evaluation in 1957." Once the sample became a valuable drug lead, further examination and structure proof revealed that the compounds were not the expected benzheptoxdiazines but the unexpected benzodiazepines that arose from the rearrangement of a chemical intermediate. Starting in the 1930s, the work was deliberate; the submission of the "known" crystalline sample was deliberate; the rearrangement was unexpected but not consequential to the discovery of Librium. Rather, the realization that the samples were valuable drug leads (in 1957) simply led to a better effort to prove the identity of the compounds by methods previously (1930s, Cracow) unavailable. OTHER benzodiazepines were known in the literature long before Sternbach's samples were properly identified but they had not been tested for valuable drug programs and so remained obscure. Sternbach did not invent or even discover the benzodiazepines as new chemical class. He simply did good chemistry, examined and then re-examined his data and corrected his earlier mistakes. AdderUser (talk) 01:33, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Please supply verifiable sources for these claims.–OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:22, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Item 1. Contraceptives. See the wikipedia entries on progesterone, Djerassi, Syntex, etc. Do people think Djerassi, Rosenkranz, Zaffironi et al. were bumbling around in the labs trying to make quinine or a new kind of house paint and accidentally made a series of progesterone derivatives from steroid precursors? And that they then accidentally sent them to the very people doing fertility research at Worcester Foundation? The claims on the MAIN ARTICLE page are the ones that are so preposterous that THEY need to be verified. The prep of norethindrone is straightforward and proceeds as planned without weird or unexpected or serendipitous side reactions or rearrangements. See "Chemical birth of the pill", Djerassi, C. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY, Volume 194, Issue 1, 290-298, JAN 2006 (a reprint of an earlier article). Link to article. Article PDF.

Item 2. Ether. See the history of ether at wikipedia. Does the post on the Main Article page claim that Morton was pulling a tooth when he accidentally spilled some ether and the patient fell asleep? Where is the verification of the serendipity claim? There is none, because it didn't happen that way. Search Pubmed for "history of ether anesthesia" and you will get over 700 articles. Here is the link to just one: J. Hist. Dent., Spring 2008 Link to PDF. People were actively SEARCHING for analgesics and anesthetics and ether had a long history to guide many of them (Morton, Long AND OTHERS), independently.

Item 3. Benzodiazepines. I already included Sternbach's OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT published in J. Med. Chem., 1979, 1-7. The claim on the MAIN ARTICLE page isn't verified with a citation because it's not true. Read Sternbach's own account if my quoted extracts aren't sufficient.

Some people seem to think that every great or important discovery had to have been serendipitous. Sometimes it's just good science. AdderUser (talk) 09:44, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Someone deleted the information about Sternbach's account of the discovery of the benzodiazepines from the Main Article leaving the BOGUS example. I have deleted the remainder of that entry. Everything Sternbach did was "normal": benches get cluttered over time; you don't always get every sample into the first assay; there is the periodic bench cleaning, commonly when starting something new; you have a new assay, you submit more compounds, even old compounds. Everything Sternbach did was NORMAL to do when looking for a drug and they found "Librium". He didn't accidentally feed it to his dog; he didn't accidentally drop some in this coffee and become relaxed. It was NORMAL DRUG RESEARCH; what you do when looking for active lead compounds; lucky, perhaps, but not serendipitous ("... something not sought"). They were seeking new bioactive drug leads in the normal way and that's what they found. AdderUser (talk) 15:43, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Post it note[edit]

This is provided as an example in both the inventions and chemistry sections. One of them is redundant but I don't know which. Capuchin 11:51, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Prod it?[edit]

Why should we keep this random collection of trivial "examples" peppered with original research? --Ghirla-трёп- 18:59, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

It is indeed a random collection - of examples, of stories, and of ideas about how discoveries are made and such (which may or may not be original research - there are some sources but not online and not tied to specific parts of the article). Without knowing a whole lot about the topic, there seems to be material for an article here, but right now it isn't an article, it is just a jumble. Kingdon 13:10, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, a collection of examples does not serendipitously turn into an article. However, there is a kernel of encyclopedic content here, albeit not well written or sourced. It should probably be stubbed by expunging the example farm, rather than deleted. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:45, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Serendipity Ad?[edit]

There was a section about a program called "serendipity" for some business school in Utah. I deleted it. Is there any reason such a section shouldn't be deleted? FructoseFred 02:43, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

      • faund global solution at "theory of prime numbers" *** cmd 3,14 2007 ( a Italian man )

sample :

in mathematics no words, just numbers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Carlo M. Daniele ( cmd ) (3,14 2007) uptd. 9,12 2008 wikipedia publ. 10,10 2008

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:48, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Example classification[edit]

There seems to be a lack of distinction between the Chemistry, Pharmacology and Medicine sections. Some of these examples may need moving, or the categories merging.–OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:17, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Can chocolate chip cookies really be claimed to be a separate invention to chocolate drop cookies? Everywhere I've seen them they're all referred to as the former (McVities etc.) –OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:24, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Bogus example - gelignite[edit]

>Gelignite by Alfred Nobel, when he accidentally mixed collodium (gun cotton) with nitroglycerin

Sorry, guys, bullcrap supreme. Afred Nobel was experimenting deliberately and widely with nitroglycerin to make it into safer and more handleable explosive, one of his experimental results was this. It's not at all anything unexpected - he wanted to make explosive out of nitroglycerin, he made it. Unexpected would have been if he tried to make explosive and would get some totally nonexplosive bricks or lipsticks or cattle aphrodisiac.

Actually role of serendipity is highly overrated by general public, article should include some warnings about that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:59, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Penicillin by Alexander Fleming[edit]

There's still much debate if Fleming can be credited or not as the true discoverer or penicillin's medical use. While his version does apply to this article, other's penicillin's discoveries were not. --Japoniano (talk) 22:56, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Finite Elements[edit]

In the Finite Element Method a family of elements exists which are called "Serendipity Elements". Maybe one should mention them in a new category "Applied Mathematics" or "Engineering". (talk) 13:41, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Who is in charge of the Main Article page?[edit]

There are several bogus examples of serendipity that do not belong in the main article at all. There are several cases that may or may not be good examples of serendipity and remain controversial. Comments directing readers to more detailed discussions (these discussion pages) have been repeatedly deleted. WHO IS IN CHARGE of the serendipity article? How about cleaning it up and locking it down? AdderUser (talk) 23:34, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Chocolate chip cookie confusion[edit]

The article says:

She did not have the required chocolate so she broke up a candy bar and placed the chunks into the cookie mix. These chunks later morphed into what is now known as chocolate chip cookies.

The "chunks" are from the candy bar, so they would not morph into cookies. Instead, the chunks were placed in the mix, and drops of the mix became cookies.

Not sure if something slightly different is intended. Wakablogger2 (talk) 07:23, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Size of examples section?[edit]

The examples section(s) seems too long to me. Do we have consensus on what optimal length would b RJFJR (talk) 04:38, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Uncaught opportunities[edit]

As a schoolkid, I was witness of a non-serendipidity in medicine. A tabloid was running a story in 3 to 5 instalments on an Indian yogi who had recently come to Europe. Part of their interest was to present sensational bodily capabilities of the Yogi which were contrasted e.g. with those of popular sportsmen. They reported about a walk on burning coal, watched by a scholar of sports medincine, who with a team of about five scientists and technicians made a bunch of recordings, such as EEG, EKG, pulse, skin temperature, etc. during the event. They unexpectedly discovered that the yogi had no heartbeat for a period during the ceremony. At that time, it was to the best of my knowledge completely unknown in western medicine that this can happen. Instead of using the serendipous detection, the professor forbade the paper to quote his findings and to mention his and his institutions names in the context. He said he was afraid to loose his international reputation as a scientist if he made the measurements public.
Almost 30 years later, I met a person who knew of, or was involved in, a publication of the same type of observation in an american indian shaman or medicine man, claiming that it was the 1st scientific publication of said observation.
What I experienced is not published anywhere, so we cannot use it as an example. Yet I would like to suggest to add a section on possible serendipidity which did not take place. It would also be nice to have estimates on accidentally and/or consciously wasted opportunities for serendipous findings. --Purodha Blissenbach (talk) 14:25, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Read the Section in the main article called Related terms: "Bahramdipity is derived directly from Bahram Gur as characterized in the "The Three Princes of Serendip". It describes the suppression of serendipitous discoveries or research results by powerful individuals.[12]" The cited paper (free download) also describes nulltiples, discoveries made but published zero times. AdderUser (talk) 12:17, 15 May 2011 (UTC)


So why is this not a redirect to wiktionary? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:02, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Excessivly long lists moved from article tot alk[edit]

Examples in science and technology[edit]

These examples removed from article (along with laundry-list tag) as excessively long. RJFJR (talk) 21:09, 3 June 2011 (UTC)



  • Penicillin by Alexander Fleming. He failed to disinfect cultures of bacteria when leaving for his vacations, only to find them contaminated with Penicillium molds, which killed the bacteria. However, he had previously done extensive research into antibacterial substances.
  • The psychedelic effects of LSD by Albert Hofmann. A chemist, he unintentionally absorbed a small amount of it upon investigating its properties, and had the first acid trip in history, while cycling to his home in Switzerland; this is commemorated among LSD users annually as Bicycle Day.
  • 5-fluorouracil's therapeutic action on actinic keratosis, was initially investigated for its anti-cancer actions
  • Minoxidil's action on baldness; originally it was an oral agent for treating hypertension. It was observed that bald patients treated with it grew hair too.
  • Viagra (sildenafil citrate), an anti-impotence drug. It was initially studied for use in hypertension and angina pectoris. Phase I clinical trials under the direction of Ian Osterloh suggested that the drug had little effect on angina, but that it could induce marked penile erections.
  • Retin-A anti-wrinkle action. It was a vitamin A derivative first used for treating acne. The accidental result in some older people was a reduction of wrinkles on the face
  • The libido-enhancing effect of l-dopa, a drug used for treating Parkinson's disease. Older patients in a sanatorium had their long-lost interest in sex suddenly revived.
  • The first anti-psychotic drug, chlorpromazine, was discovered by French pharmacologist Henri Laborit. He wanted to add an anti-histaminic to a pharmacological combination to prevent surgical shock and noticed that patients treated with it were unusually calm before the operation.
  • The first antidepressants (not including agents used prior to the 1950s), imipramine and iproniazid were the result of researching the actions of these drugs in schizophrenics (imipramine), as well as in the treatment of patients afflicted with tuberculosis (iproniazid).
  • The anti-cancer drug cisplatin was discovered by Barnett Rosenberg. He wanted to explore what he thought was an inhibitory effect of an electric field on the growth of bacteria. It was rather due to an electrolysis product of the platinum electrode he was using.
  • The anesthetic nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Initially well known for inducing altered behavior (hilarity), its properties were discovered when British chemist Humphry Davy tested the gas on himself and some of his friends, and soon realised that nitrous oxide considerably dulled the sensation of pain, even if the inhaler was still semi-conscious.
  • Mustine – a derivative of mustard gas (a chemical weapon), used for the treatment of some forms of cancer. In 1943, physicians noted that the white cell counts of US soldiers, accidentally exposed when a cache of mustard gas shells were bombed in Bari, Italy, decreased, and mustard gas was investigated as a therapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Prontosil, an antibiotic of the sulfa group was an azo dye. German chemists at Bayer had the wrong idea that selective chemical stains of bacteria would show specific antibacterial activity. Prontosil had it, but in fact it was due to another substance metabolised from it in the body, sulfanilimide.

Medicine and biology[edit]

Physics and astronomy[edit]


These examples removed from article (along with laundry-list tag) as excessively long. RJFJR (talk) 21:09, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

The chocolate chip cookie was invented through serendipity.

Examples in exploration[edit]

These examples removed from article (along with laundry-list tag) as excessively long. RJFJR (talk) 21:09, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Stories of accidental discovery in exploration abound, of course, because the aim of exploration is to find new things and places. The principle of serendipity applies here, however, when the explorer had one aim in mind and found another unexpectedly. In addition, discoveries have been made by people simply attempting to reach a known destination but who departed from the customary or intended route for a variety of reasons. Some classical cases were discoveries of the Americas by explorers with other aims.

Szerencse and Swarna Dvipa[edit]

Szerencse means luck in hungarian, but there are no sources of relevance to serendipity. The same is true for Swarna Dvipa. I have removed the remarks from the etymology. Karmela (talk) 10:39, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion: add Vicissitude to related terms[edit]

I suggest adding Vicissitude to related terms as an antonym.

vi·cis·si·tude (Noun) 1. A change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant


I've added in a section about the influence of the Three Princes of Serendip story through Zadig. Whether this influence exactly connects with the concept of serendipity is perhaps debatable, and I don't mind the sections's removal, especially as it seems to fit better on the The Three Princes of Serendip article. Any thoughts? --Annielogue (talk) 00:12, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Picture of two birds[edit]

User Frutti de Mare reverted my removal of the picture of two birds with the explanation: "The image has been there since at least 2008 and apparently nobody else has thought it unencyclopedic. Discuss on Talk before removing, please." "It has been there since at least 2008" is obviously not an actual argument for keeping it. You should provide a proper reason for reverting me before you ask me to further expand on my rationale (common sense civility, I'd say). The usage is unencyclopedic because the picture in itself, without the text accompanying, has no apparent value to the article. With the text, it does demonstrate an example of "serendipity", but it's not reliably sourced, it's just the photographer's testament. It's unencyclopedic and unprofessional to relate, in any encyclopedic article, to how somebody contributing to the encyclopedia came across something, even if it's just to demonstrate something. This should be obvious to everyone familiar with WP guidelines... (talk) 04:59, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi, and thanks for your work and interest in Wikipedia policies. I hope no one is offended that I have reverted the page during this discussion. I have in mind WP:BRD; Fruitti de Mare's suggesting indicates that removing the picture is indeed a bold revision and should be discussed first.
Regarding the picture itself, some relevant pages seem to include Wikipedia:Choosing appropriate illustrations and WP:IMAGES. To my eyes, the image is a fine illustration of the concept of "Serendipity" - which is a difficult concept to illustrate. A separate issue seems to be the reliability of the story: I believe it would be inappropriate to describe the image as lucky without the author's permission. For that purpose I have also asked the author about this.
-Tesseract2(talk) 18:32, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I removed the photograph according to the BRD, while you just reverted me - the kind of thing that could lead to revert wars. I think you're misunderstanding the general idea. (talk) 07:24, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I mean, it seems the consensus will be to keep the picture, but I don't see the sense in reverting me before this was established. It's poor form. (talk) 07:27, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I took the photograph in question, placed it on the page, and wrote the caption. It is absolutely true that I was unaware of the pileated woodpecker until I looked at the photo-- it's presence in the photo is undeniably serendipitous, and it is not difficult to recognize that it would have been an impossible shot to plan, so it is, in a sense, self-justifying. Whether a better illustration of the concept might be found, I leave to you. [Note: The caption has drifted a bit; what I wrote was "The photograph intended was of a Black-crowned Night Heron; the photographer was unaware of the Pileated Woodpecker flashing through until the image was viewed later.] -- Mwanner | Talk 21:37, 21 March 2012 (UTC), this is only about an image and its caption, in a surely not wildly controversial article, where nobody's pursuing an agenda. If we can't discuss an issue like this without going to accusations of lack of common sense, lack of civility, and lack of familiarity with guidelines, what kind of thing can we discuss in a collegial spirit on a talkpage?
The concept of serendipity is difficult to illustrate, as Tesseract2 points out, and with the removal of the birds the article was entirely unillustrated (until Tesseract put them back). The birds help, in my opinion, to make it easier to grasp the concept and to understand more immediately and concretely what the lede is saying. (I certainly think the birds help more than the, for my taste, not very funny quip about the farmer's daughter, which was added in January 2012.)
@Tesseract and Mwanner: thanks very much for your input. Mwanner, how nice to learn that it was you, the photographer, who placed the image on the page. Do you think the present caption has lost the momentariness of the flash of serendipity ("flashing through") of your original version? ("The image serendipitously included" does sound comparatively staid and stationary.) Why not edit it, if you like? I think the addition of "less seen" is helpful, though. At least, assuming, as being no kind of ornithologist, that it is less seen? The articles on the two species don't seem to consider either of them any too rare (conservation status: Least Concern). Frutti di Mare 00:33, 22 March 2012 (UTC).
Frutti, is it ruder to be rude, than to say somebody is rude? If you are interested in discussing the topic and not your or my rudeness, why are you bringing it up? I think it's patently rude and against the spirit of Wikipedia to revert somebody and ask them to go to the talk page without presenting any real arguments, and when that person does take it to the talk page, ignore them, until they revert you since nobody bothered replying. It's not relevant whether there's an agenda or what's controversial or not. This happens to me all the time, since people wrongly think this is a fine approach to anonymous editors (I don't want to have an account and my IP changes every now and then). (talk) 07:24, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:BRD should be brought up as soon as possible, or else when the discussion DOES start, it may be after a few editors have felt ignored - their contributions undone. What matters is that we are talking now.

Now, yes, we could also discuss whether it is controversial that one bird is more rare than the other. Are there any sources we could use for that? Also, thank you Mwanner for the above info. -Tesseract2(talk) 03:51, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Re: Anonymous'( updated comments:

I do apologize that you felt my reversion was "poor form". Actually, I could have avoided adding to the list of reversions, really, because you had already started making your points on the talk page (which is the real point of BRD anyway). So you're right, my bad.

Going forward, it might not be necessary to figure out who is how rude. As far as the image, consensus is currently that it stays. Maybe someone has an idea of where to start as far as validating the claims about bird rarity? Or maybe other editors would like a say?

Nice to see overall high levels of civility and patience.-Tesseract2(talk) 23:13, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Blessing in Disguise[edit]

The following are similar concepts:

Tabletop (talk) 06:08, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Chemical Company Fireworks[edit]

A chemical company lights fireworks in the corridors whenever a new and better, and cheaper way of making an important chemical is discovered. Tabletop (talk) 06:11, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

SOURCE?? What is the source of this claim? In what country does this occur? What is the name of the company? AdderUser (talk) 13:54, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Plus: how does this habit contribute to the encyclopedic knowledge of serendipity? Lova Falk talk 08:18, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Scientific Discoveries[edit]

The word 'Serendipity' is mostly related to scientific discoveries. And this article don't mention scientific discoveries at all. And also article looks weird.

neo (talk) 18:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)


From Arabic سرانديب (sarāndīb), from Persian سراندیپ (sarândip), from Pali Sīhaḷadīpa and Sanskrit Siṃhaladvīpa, meaning island of the Sinhala people; dīpa meaning island in Pali and Sinhala and द्वीप (dvīpa) meaning island in Sanskrit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 22 June 2013 (UTC)



Instead of having the same meaning as random events, serendipity can not be assumed routinely incorrectly as a synonym for a "happy accident" (Ferguson, 1999; Khan, 1999), to find out things without being searching for them (Austin, 2003), or "a pleasant surprise" (Tolson, 2004) ..

Possibly this sentence makes sense in the first language of the editor who wrote it; it is totally baffling to the English speaker. Instead of... can[]not is a weird construction. If it can't be assumed, then there's no need to add "incorrectly", and no English speaker would do so. I have no idea why routinely is there. I'm going to guess at the meaning, and change it accordingly. Koro Neil (talk) 01:46, 17 January 2015 (UTC)


It is often a misunderstood quality for the discovery and innovation. May become a powerful tool in the contribution of innovative insights that lead to the attainment of entrepreneurial visions.

Understand the process of their development and use, allows managers, innovators and researchers as they can use the serendipity as an important contribution to the competitive success of the company.

These two paragraphs seem to be meaningless, are poor English, and add nothing to the article. The editor may need to consult someone with native English skills and a good understanding of the editor's language, and attempt to turn it into something meaningful. Otherwise I will come back and delete them Koro Neil (talk) 02:14, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Serendipity. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 13:58, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

"The chance is an event, serendipity a capacity."

Can someone explain how this makes sense? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Electricmaster (talkcontribs) 15:39, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Serendipity. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 10:43, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Accidental Discovery Produces Durable New Blue Pigment for Multiple Applications". 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  2. ^ Elliot, J.L.; Dunham, E. and Mink, D. (1977). "The rings of Uranus". Nature. 267 (5609): 328–330. doi:10.1038/267328a0.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)