Don’t you just love to hear stories about accidental discoveries in the world of science that actually changed the way we see the world, as well as bring some benefit to mankind? Take the discovery of penicillin for example, if Dr. Alexander Fleming threw away that petri dish, it might have taken a few more years (and many more lives lost along the way) before penicillin was discovered. Well, in the 21st century, Dr. Marianne Tarun, who is a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University, has managed to accidentally discover that the conductivity of strontium titanate crystals happens to gain an increase by as much as 400% for days after being exposed to room lights.
This particular discovery certainly has its fair share of positive benefits as well as possible applications, especially in the realm of computer memory and various kinds of electronic devices. This serendipitous discovery was made after a sample of strontium titanate was left on a table counter prior to conductivity testing. Strontium titanate is a kind of crystal used in jewelry, just so you know what it is. This particular effect that was discovered has been labeled as “persistent photoconductivity”. Hopefully this discovery will lead to better and more efficient electronics down the road.