Recently I admitted to following my gut instinct from time to time in science. I did this at time in the lab when working on research projects in Chemistry. I find that sometimes it is something that is not admitted to but some of the best discoveries come from gut instinct or when scientists decide to do something unorthodox.
During a celebration, Japanese scientists decided to test the performance of superconductors with commercially available alcohol like beer, red and white wine, Japanese sake, Shochu (a clear distilled liquor), and whisky. The findings were a surprise. The superconductors were better at conducting electricity after being soaked in red wine, far superior to any alcohol and water solution prepared in the laboratory.
So something that was a fleeting thought has now started a whole new line of research. The first question that come to my mind is what in red wine results in the better performance? Or is it perhaps a combination of compounds that improve the performance?
I admit to treating a laboratory like a playground. As long as play by the rules, no one gets hurt but this does not mean that creativity is an unwelcome guest. It is a wonderful thing to embrace and use. You never know, you could be the next scientist with a quirky method of discovery opening up new areas of research.