One of the funnier parts of the scientific method, at least during work in the field, is that nature is a cruel prankster. The smallest things can derail the greatest of experiments.
More often than not this results in catastrophe, yet some of the greatest leaps in Science have come from something that seemingly went wrong.
Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin when he noticed that a bacterial culture had been contaminated with mold, but the bacteria did not spread anywhere near the mold.
Penzias and Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation when they were trying to detect faint radio waves bouncing off a balloon satellite. They kept trying to eliminate interference from their detections by doing everything from cooling the detectors to cleaning pigeon poop off of the antennae, but the strange hum remained. It came from every direction and was nearly the same over the entire sky. Luckily they realized what they had discovered.
Yesterday the NASA launch of the Antares rocket was ruined because a man in a boat happened to stray into the restricted waters South-East of the launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia. NASA officially delayed the mission due to ‘public safety.’
Antares Rocket with ...