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Special Feature

July 28, 2017

Serendipity in science

Serendipity in Science

At Northwestern, an interdisciplinary culture embraces the unexpected

“Some of the most important discoveries are made because you set out to do one thing but, in the lab, you discover something completely unanticipated,” says Chad Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology. “There's an element of serendipity. But it's the right type of scientist that knows it’s that serendipity that ultimately leads to a big discovery.”

Four Steps to Innovation

3-D printer

You just have to keep pushing. You have to let the science take you where it takes you, even if you have no idea where it’s going.”

Chemist William Dichtel, on the formula for big discovery

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