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Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern…

Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs

by Morton A Meyers MD

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Meyers's contention is that scientific discoveries of the paradigm-shifting sort are not generally made by rote testing of compounds (for example), but by serendipitous accidents that are recognized as significant. His examples generally, though not always, support this position. It's clear from the degree to which he becomes exercised that cancer research was the impetous for this book. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Fast -reading very interesting history of scientific discovery that occurs while looking for something else. A dust mote of common mold makes its way to an unwashed petri dish and leads to penicillin. A common rye fungus and fortuitous weather conditions leads to the Salem witch trials and acid trips on LSD. A side-effect of a tuberculosis drug leads to a pill for delirious schizophrenics. The book is an ode to the nerdy loner scientists we all laughed at in middle school. Long may they prosper and discover! ( )
1 vote kageeh | Oct 9, 2007 |
About: How scientists discovered groundbreaking medical treatments when they were looking for something else

Pros: Interesting, bibliography included

Cons: Some stories are more interesting than others

Grade: B ( )
  charlierb3 | Jul 12, 2007 |
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Dr. Morton Meyers' fascinating, entertaining, and highly accessible look at the surprising role serendipity played in some of the most important medical discoveries in the 20th century. Though within the scientific community a certain stigma is attached to chance discovery because it is wrongly seen as pure luck, happy accidents happen every day and Meyers shows how it takes intelligence, insight, and creativity to recognize a "Eureka! I found what I wasn't look for!" moment and know what to do next. Penicillin, chemotherapy drugs, X-rays, Valium, the Pap smear, and Viagra were all discovered accidentally, stumbled upon in search of something else. In discussing these medical breakthroughs and others, Dr. Meyers makes a cogent, highly engaging argument for a more creative, rather than purely linear, approach to science.
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A look at the role of serendipity in major medical and scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century explains how chance led to the discovery of such medical advances as penicillin, chemotherapy drugs, X-rays, Valium, and Viagra.

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Arcade Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Arcade Publishing.

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