Friday, May 24, 2013

On Serendipity in Science: Recommended book

A number of years ago I  read Merton ("On the shoulders of giants") and Barber's (2004) The travels and adventures of serendipity. Not an easy read, but a very insightful book that deals with the origins of the word "serendipity"......something that is often present in significant scientific discovers. Below is my favorite quote from the book.

I recommend this book to blogsters who have a historical interest in the development of ideas, words, and "happy accidents" in scientific discovers.

  • "Many a scientific adventurer sails the uncharted seas and sets his course for a certain objectives only to find unknown land and unsuspected ports in strange parts. To reach such harbors, he must ship and sail, do and dare; he must quest and question. These chance discoveries are called “accidental” but there is nothing fortuitous about them, for laggards drift by a haven that may be a heaven. They pass by ports of opportunity. Only the determined sailor, who is not afraid to seek, to work, to try, who is inquisitive and alert to find, will come back to his home port with discovery in his cargo" (p.177)

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