This dude is Hans Christian Ørsted, whose 1820 discovery that electric current produced magnetic fields was, supposedly, entirely accidental: He was preparing a voltaic pile for a lecture demonstration and there happened to be a compass lying nearby. He has become a sort of mascot for the Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results (JSUR), a new open-access journal initiative that hopes to provide a forum for life and computer scientists to publish results they lucked into and maybe can’t fully explain. From their website:

Can you demonstrate that:

* Technique X fails on problem Y.
* Hypothesis X can’t be proven using method Y.
* Protocol X performs poorly for task Y.
* Method X has unexpected fundamental limitations.
* While investigating X, you discovered Y.
* Model X can’t capture the behavior of phenomenon Y.
* Failure X is explained by Y.
* Assumption X doesn’t hold in domain Y.
* Event X shouldn’t happen, but it does.

JSUR is now accepting manuscripts for their first issue. [via Boing also Boing]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.