What do the DNA helix, penicillin and the Post-It have in common? They were all lucky discoveries. The finders were a little bit lucky by either finding answers in unexpected places or stumbling upon something they weren’t looking for at all. Such a lucky encounter is known as serendipity.
Daan Alkemade will introduce the subject of serendipity with the tale of the three princes of Serendip. Pek van Andel will then discuss whether scientists are still open to discoveries that they were not looking for. More examples of lucky findings will be revealed, as well as tricks to prime ourselves more for serendipic findings.
Many events, big and small, can be considered lucky. Catching the bus with seconds to spare. Winning a lottery. Finding twenty euros in a pocket at the end of the month. However, do you consider yourself lucky for being born in a wealthy family? Are you lucky when, out of multiple applicants, you are chosen for a job? Where to draw the line between luck and hard work? Is belief in luck and superstition more prevalent where there is less control over a situation? Can we influence our luck, or only the way we perceive the event?