Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Accidental discoveries count 5 & 6 & 7

Teflon was invented accidentally by Roy Plunkett of Kinetic Chemicals in 1938. Plunkett was attempting to make a new CFC refrigerant, the perfluorethylene polymerized (say that 3 times fast!) in a pressurized storage container. In this original chemical reaction, iron from the inside of the container acted as a catalyst.
Artificial Sweetener:

Like many artificial sweeteners, the sweetness of cyclamate was discovered by accident. Michael Sveda was working in the lab on the synthesis of anti-fever medication. He put his cigarette down on the lab bench and when he put it back in his mouth he discovered the sweet taste of cyclamate. Cancer inducing Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for G.D. Searle & Company. Schlatter had synthesized aspartame in the course of producing an anti-ulcer drug candidate. He discovered its sweet taste serendipitously when he licked his finger, which had accidentally become contaminated with aspartame.


Initially wine was distilled as a preservation method and as a way to make the wine easier for merchants to transport. It was also thought that wine was originally distilled to lessen the tax which was assessed by volume. The intent was to add the water removed by distillation back to the brandy shortly before consumption. It was discovered that after having been stored in wooden casks, the resulting product had improved over the original distilled spirit. No one is sure who it was that discovered the delightful taste of this distilled liquor, but he was clearly guided by God in its discovery for the betterment of man.

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