Chance finds

when scientists in New Zealand discovered that a meningitis vaccine fortuitously protects against gonorrhoea, they were benefiting from an unpredictable force responsible for some of history’s most striking medical breakthroughs: serendipity.

So many things have been discovered by chance. The German writer, scientist and all-round polymath Johann Wolfgang Goethe, a discoverer himself, wrote: “Discovery needs luck, invention, intellect – none can do without the other.”

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