Thursday, May 27, 2010

Viagra - Scientists at Pfizer

A Welsh hamlet was ground zero for a test on a pill to fight angina. Unfortunately for the afflicted, it had little success against the disease. Despite the failure, men taking part in the study refused to give up their medicine. The scientists switched gears and marketed the drug, Viagra, for a very different purpose.

Botox - Alastair and Jean Carruthers

The couple were using small doses of a deadly toxin to treat "crossed eyes", eyelid spasms, and other eye-muscle disorders when they noticed an interesting side effect - no more wrinkles. Botox was invented.

Color Mauve - William Perkin

He was intent on discovering a cure for Malaria. While trying to replicate the Malaria fighter quinine in his lab. He discovered the color Mauve instead. Perkin forgot about the Malaria and made a mint establishing the synthetic dye industry.

Microwave - Percy Spencer

With the end of WWII, the Raytheon engineer was looking for other uses for the Magnetron, which generated the microwaves for radar systems. While Spencer was standing next to the device one day, a chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He then found out that the magnetron worked even better on popcorn. Microwave oven was invented.

Chewing Gum - Thomas Adams

Thomas was experimenting with chicle, the sap from a South American tree, as a substitute for rubber. After mounting failures, the dejected inventor popped a piece into his mouth. He loved it! As a result, his New York No. 1 became the first mass produced chewing gum in the world.

Silly Putty - James Wright

During the war years, the GE engineer combined silicone oil and boric acid in an attempt to find cheap alternative to rubber for tank treads, boots, etc. It didn't work. But scientists had a blast bouncing and stretching his mistake, when they weren't using it to transfer comics onto papers. As a result, kids had a blast playing with the Silly Putty too.

Saccharin - Constantin Fahlberg and Ira Remsen

After spending the day studying coal tar derivatives, Fahlberg left his laboratory and went to dinner. Something he ate tasted particularly sweet, which he traced to a chemical compound he'd spilled on his hand. Best of all, it turned out to be calorie-free. He cut Remsen and the university out of millions of dollars when he secretly patented Saccharin.