10 of History's Happiest Accidents

Tourists visit the ruins of the Foro (Forum) at the archeological site in Pompei, Italy. Pompeii was buried in 79, discovered in the 1590s, and rediscovered in the 1700s. Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images

If the big bang theory is correct — the scientific postulate, not the TV show — then the universe and all life as we know it is one big happy accident. Ditto for evolution and natural selection. You could even argue that every man, woman and child on Earth is the result of the happy accident of their parents meeting and falling in love. Kind of a stretch, if you ask us. For our list of history's happiest accidents, we chose 10 unintentional discoveries that changed the world for the better – whether it was discovering beer or popsicles or Viagra.

So before you beat yourself up for making mistakes, read how our list of stalwart scientists, explorers and nomadic goatherds turned potential fails into discoveries of a lifetime.