(coined and presented by Royston M. Roberts, PhD, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin; among many other achievements)

Pseudoserendipitous discoveries

Accidents that have led to successful discoveries.

  • Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process for rubber when he accidentally dropped a piece of rubber mixed with sulfur onto a hot stove.
  • For many years Goodyear had been obsessed with finding a way to make rubber useful.
  • Because it was an accident that led to the successful process so diligently sought for, Royston Roberts decided to call this a pseudoserendipitous discovery.
  • In contrast, George deMestral had no intention of inventing a fastener (Velcro) when he looked to see why some burs stuck tightly to his clothing and the hair of his dog during their walks together in the fields in Switzerland.
  • Whether a discovery is serendipitous or pseudoserendipitous, Roberts was convinced that it is still worthy of our interest and admiration.

Pointing to a page about serendipity unit Serendipity unit of words.