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10 accidental discoveries that changed the world

From penicillin and anaesthesia to saccharin and silly putty, chance played a major role in some of the world's great inventions.

1. Penicillin
1. Penicillin
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Inventor: Alexander Fleming

Year: 1928

What Happened: Halfway through an experiment with bacteria, Alexander Fleming up and went on holidays. Slob that he was, he left a dirty petri dish in the lab sink.

Big Discovery: When he got back, he found bacteria had grown all over the plate, except in an area where mold had formed.

As a Result: That discovery led to two things: 1) penicillin and 2) Mrs. Fleming hiring a maid. 

Did you know antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise? Here’s what we need to know - and do.



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