BooksHistory of Science

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Luck

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Science  09 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5668, pp. 213
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096804

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The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science. by Robert K. Merton and Elinor Barber. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2004. 341 pp. $29.95, £19.95. ISBN 0-691-11754-3.

In an occasionally cited but unpublished account written in 1958, the authors explore the uses and misuses of the term serendipity since the word's first appearance in 1754--playing particular attention to the importance of the concept in intellectual discovery.