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The Case of the Floppy-Eared Rabbits: An Instance of Serendipity Gained and Serendipity Lost
Bernard Barber and Renée C. Fox
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 64, No. 2 (Sep., 1958), pp. 128-136
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2773682
Page Count: 9
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Serendipity, Cartilage, Observational research, Enzymes, Pathology, Medical students, Necrosis, Medical research, Skeletal muscle, Depth interviews
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Two distinguished medical scientists independently observed the same phenomenon in the course of their research: reversible collapse of rabbits' ears after injection of the enzyme papain. One went on to make a discovery based on this serendipitous or chance occurrence; the other did not. Intensive tandem interviews were conducted with each of these scientist in order to discover similarities and differences in their experiences with the floppy-eared rabbits. These interview materials are analyzed for the light they shed on the process of scientific discovery in general and on the serendipity pattern in particular.
American Journal of Sociology © 1958 The University of Chicago Press