chapter  9
11 Pages

Serendipity in the study of religion and society

ByMark Chaves

Observers of scientific research as it actually is pursued rather than as standard research articles represent it have long known that serendipity – the happy accident – often plays a central role. The surprising result, the chance conversation with a friend or colleague, the offhand observation, the unanticipated event: the history of science is filled with discoveries that would not have happened or, at least, would not have happened when and where they did, without occurrences like these.3