Why name it Serendip?

In the last month, I’ve been introducing the concept and community behind Serendip to a lot of people and often people want to know why I picked that name. Here goes …

Serendip is the old Persian name for Sri Lanka, which is where I am from. When the Moors landed on the island (approximately 300 AD), the island was called “Cheran Theevu” (The Isle of Cherans) by Tamil/Malayalam speaking Indians. The Moors mispronounced the name and called it Serendip.

In 1300 AD, a Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” appeared in BookOne of Amir Khusrau’s Hasht-Bihisht, which is where Horace Walpole first encountered the root word for “serendipity”. Horace coined and popularized the word “serendipity” to the western world, which means “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”

What role does serendipity have in science and technology?

Scientists are not passive recipients of the unexpected; rather, they actively create the conditions for discovering the unexpected.

Kevin Dunbar and Jonathan Fugelsang

The following is an excerpt from Linda Crampton’s work – When discussing serendipity in relation to science, “chance” doesn’t mean that nature is behaving capriciously. Instead, it means that a researcher has made an unexpected discovery due to the specific procedures that they chose to follow in their experiment.

Most of all, Serendip is a name chosen because I want to remember my origins. Just as much of my parents’ joy came from their unexpected interactions with those around them, so do we hope to expand the opportunity and joy for those around us. The more times we step up to the plate and take a swing, the more likely we are to score.