The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...”
Ever since Christopher Columbus set off for India and arrived in the Americas instead, folks have been discovering great things by mistake.
Most of you probably know the story of Ruth Wakefield’s cookie revelation of the 1930’s. After finding herself fresh out of baker’s chocolate in the middle of mixing a batch of Butter Drop Do, Ruth chopped up a bar of semi-sweet and tossed it in. The rest is history – I mean, who even bakes a Butter Drop Do these days? Chocolate chips are where it’s at!
Then in 1945, engineer Percy Spencer was messing around with a magnetron when he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted faster than he could say “radar love.” Goodness knows what the beam did to his liver – but no matter, the microwave oven was soon to be one hot item.
Fast-forward to 1992 when the men of a small Welsh village were asked to test a new drug for angina. It was a total failure. However, even though the men still complained of wicked chest pain, they refused to part with their new meds. The researchers suspected that something was up.
Today those angina duds are called Viagra.
PROMPT: Discover some new stories this week the indirect and surprising way – use a free writing technique. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write nonstop. Put down whatever comes into your mind without censoring or editing.
For more information about free writing, check out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
AND, since it appears that 2 out of 3 discoveries involve chocolate, make sure you have plenty on hand!