Inventors: Constantin Fahlberg and Ira Remsen
What Happened: After spending the day studying coal tar derivatives, Fahlberg left his Johns Hopkins laboratory and went to dinner.
Big Discovery: Something he ate tasted particularly sweet, which he traced to a chemical compound he’d spilled on his hand. Best of all, it turned out to be calorie-free.
As a Result: He cut Remsen and the university out of millions of dollars when he secretly patented the breakthrough discovery, saccharin.