Unit 7: Unit 7: The Human Practice of Science - DiscussionOne of the greatest scientific developments of the past 150 years is the discovery of antibiotics. For some basic background on antibiotics, listen to this very brief Centers for Disease Control (CDC) podcast about antibiotics:There is, however, a dirty secret about Alexander Fleming and his discovery: It was an accident. As Fleming worked in his lab in the late 1920s, growing disease-causing bacteria in tiny petri dishes, he got a little sloppy by leaving petri dishes open too long. One story even hints that he may have sneezed into one of his petri dishes. Regardless of the exact cause, what resulted was a mold infestation on some of his bacterial dishes. However messy Fleming was, he was also smart enough to see that the mold infestation was killing off the bacteria he was studying, completely by accident, he had found something that killed disease-causing organisms. Such "happy accidents" are not uncommon in science: aspartame (Nutrasweet) was discovered by a drug chemist who forgot to wash his hands, and even Isaac Newton benefited from a little accidental inspiration when he (supposedly) came up with a description of the concept of gravity after being conked on the head by a falling apple. Scientists, like everyone else, make mistakes. But the best scientists use their mistakes and learn from them. Reflect about the famous Louis Pasteur quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind," as well as what you learned about scientific inquiry during the first two weeks of the course. Then, during the week, address the following questions:"Happy accidents" in scienceWhat examples of learning by "happy accident" have you experienced in your own life?What do you think it means for a person (especially a scientist) to have a "prepared mind," as Pasteur describes?How can a person prepare his or her mind to be open to chance?What about science makes it particularly good at allowing people to analyze their accidents?What are some risks associated with research that involves chance? [Hint: Do some reading about Marie and Pierre Curie As always, be sure to provide appropriate citations, references, and links to any information you use in this discussion. Be sure also to avoid copying and pasting anything longer than a line or two from any given source - posts must always be made up of your own words. For help with citations, refer to the APA Quick Reference.
Respond Collapse All Print View »Show Options ResponsesResponse AuthorDate/Time*Unit 7Charese Marshall 10/3/2012 6:53:10 PMI’m not quite if this constitutes as a “happy accident” but as a child, I never liked brussel or at least I thought I didn’t like brussel sprouts because they just didn’t look right to me. Once I grew older, I decided to give them a try and I like them! I would consider it a “happy accident” because now I am able to enjoy the flavor as well as the nutritional value.