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Surprising Science

Science’s Accidental Successes

From Viagra and saccharine to penicillin and x-rays, science and serendipity often go hand in hand. Here are seven accidental discoveries that changed the world.

Medicine is science applied to the human body – and medical experiments are so complex and varied that things frequently don’t turn out as hoped. And, just to add a touch of comedy, accidents in this field are often crotch-oriented. The most famous below-the-belt invention of modern times was Viagra. The drug was meant to help patients with angina, a painful heart condition in which the circulatory system constricts and does not get enough oxygenated blood to the heart. Although the medication failed to treat the disease, it had a side effect of increasing blood flow elsewhere.


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