Serendipity and Invention

Moon Suh
B204 Academic Building

Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle,

and discovering a farmer's daughter.”

Julius H. Comroe Jr. (March 13, 1911 – July 31, 1984)

Dr. Suh will address serendipity leading to major inventions and discoveries in scientific research by examining some of the well-known cases in history, and proposes a systems approach for harnessing luck which we often consider as an outcome of a random process. Were Alexander Fleming and Albert Einstein simply lucky while others were not? If so, could there be a system for generating or inducing a luck with a greater probability? He will examine the inter-relationships among normal sciences, scientific paradigms, research hypothesis, statistical outliers, and experimental validation of research hypothesis. Prof. Suh will also discuss key issues on invention and discoveries, R&D investment vs. productivity, and proposes a few ideas for policy makers, R&D management and the individual researchers.