The science of serendipity

It can take years of study to create a chance discovery so just how important is serendipity in scientific breakthroughs?

Uniken serendipity

Everyone loves an extraordinary find, an unlooked-for twist and often scientists find themselves on new paths because of serendipitous moments.

In the latest issue of Uniken we look at the science of serendipity.

Some become so well known as to be almost cliched: the penicillin in Alexander Fleming’s petri dish; the sweet saccharin Constantin Fahlberg tasted on his unwashed hands.

But as Ashley Hay writes in our cover story, it takes years of study to create a chance discovery (see pages 10-13).

Also in the Summer issue, we take an in-depth look at how the majority of UNSW research will be on offer to business royalty-free, under a radical plan to put more of our discoveries to work. And we hear about one researcher who hopes to put in place a simple measure which will reduce the tragic toll of children falling from apartment windows and balconies, especially during the warmer months.

Editor: Susi Hamilton, UNSW media, 9385 1583