In the world today, there are several products and services we use in our everyday lives that came from an unexpected fortunate discovery and errors. Serendipity is an unsought, unintended, or unexpected but fortunate and desirable discovery that is of great benefit and happens by accident. Serendipity is the right word to describe accidental inventions. An incredible invention that is very beneficial to society and came about by accident is the invention of champagne. Champagne discovery is associated with the cold winter temperatures in the northeastern region of France, where champagne was first created. In producing wine, the cold temperatures in the winter often interrupt the fermentation process of the grapes, leaving dormant yeast cells, which will awaken in the spring when temperatures get warmer and start the fermentation process all over again. The byproduct of this fermentation process is carbon dioxide which remains trapped in the bottled wine, causing intense pressure that may result in an explosion of the bottled wine (Liger-Belair et al., 2008). However, for the bottles that survived the pressure, the wine contained bubbles, and this was not the kind of wine the wine makers intended to make. However, this sparkling wine with bubbles, now called champagne, has become very popular and is associated with celebrations. Given the worldwide perception of class, nobility, and royalty associated with champagne, the wine is consumed worldwide and reflects luxury and celebration (Moncel, 2021). Champagne has risen to be one of the most expensive wines that exist, and it is produced with different qualities that reflect directly in the price.
To err is human and given that we are human beings, we are always pruned to make errors. An error is an act that involves deviating from the truth or intended outcome unintentionally. However, making mistakes has proven to be the best path in progressing forward with anything we are engaged in doing. This is because the errors we encounter as we progress inspire us to work harder to correct the errors while identifying new areas of unsuspected truths along the way (Siegfried, 2020). Some of the errors we make have also led to important discoveries, for instance, cornflakes. Cornflakes came about by a mistake made by the Kellogg brothers, John and Will. They were boiling grain but erroneously left the pot of boiled grains on the stove for several days causing it to ferment. The mixture turned moldy. After eliminating the mold, the product that emerged was a dry and thick cereal. The molded mixture rolled out into thin sheets produced thin flakes that became tasty and crispy when dried in the oven (Pruitt, 2019). This crispy and tasty dried dough is now called cornflakes, a popular breakfast cereal.
Exaptation is the process that revolves around performing a function that is different from the one that was intended, thereby leading to an intentional repurposing of events to achieve a new objective. In Biology, exaptation is used to describe traits that are co-opted for use in cases other than what they were initially meant to be used for. For instance, umbrellas were created to shade us from rain. However, today umbrellas can also be used to shade people from the sun’s rays on a hot day. This was not the original intention of creating umbrellas; however, umbrellas could be repurposed to shade people from the sun’s scorching heat.
Liger-Belair, G., Polidori, G., & Jeandet, P. (2008). Recent advances in the science of champagne bubbles. Chemical Society Reviews, 37(11), 2490-2511. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2008/cs/b717798b/unauth
Moncel, B. (2021). What Is Champagne? TheSpruceEats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-champagne-1328734
Pruitt, S. (2019). How an Accidental Invention Changed What Americans Eat for Breakfast. History. https://www.history.com/news/cereal-breakfast-origins-kellogg
Siegfried, T. (2020). These are science’s Top 10 erroneous results. ScienceNews. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/science-top-10-erroneous-results-mistakes