Minnesota Law Review
Great events rarely occur without the fortuitous intersection of synergy and serendipity. One of the earliest documented examples of this dynamic is the Greek mathematician Archimedes' (287 B.C.-212 B.C.) discovery of the principle of buoyancy while he was soaking in a hot bath, inspiring him to jump up and run naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting "Eureka!" 3 This serendipitous discovery may easily have been eclipsed by the public outcry surrounding Archimedes' unconventional behavior. Coincidentally, however, his close friend King Hieron of Syracuse had just been cheated by a goldsmith and was able to use the newly defined principle of buoyancy to prove the deception. 4 The king immediately brought Archimedes' discovery to the attention of his court scientists who, in turn, spread this news enthusiastically throughout the Ancient World. 5 Perhaps more appropriate illustrations for a scholarly legal journal are the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and the rise of the American transcendentalist movement, both transformative events in our nation's history which resulted from the fact that brilliant, visionary, and energetic individuals were by happenstance living in close proximity to one another at a time of political ferment and intellectual debate.
Joan Howland, Synergy and Serendipity, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 1245 (2005), available at https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/463.