Serendipity

By | Jan 28, 2012

Serendipity is defined as a discovery of something fortunate while looking for something else.

The word was first used by Horace Walpole in a letter dated January 28, 1754 to Horace Mann, an Englishman living at the time in Florence. This is not the Horace Mann who was a American educator.

Walpole had read a Persian fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip. The tale is about three men who were on a mission but they always found something that was irrelevant but needed.

Serendip is the Persian name for the island county Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka did not adopt this name until 1972. In its history it has gone by many different names including Lankadweepa, Lakdiva, Ceylon and Sinha.

Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry may have said it best with “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny…'”


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