I have also made a discovery less interesting than Steven’s. When I was a scientist my job was to work out how a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae made a layer of mucous that protected it from the body when it was making you sick. My big discovery was that a protein called CpsC clumps together with other CpsC’s to form what is called an oligomer (which just means a clump of many proteins). This is important because if you want to stop the bacteria making this protective mucous layer you have to break CpsC and knowing it forms a clump allows for us to try and design better drugs.
Nice question, plutox.
Working in research, I think we are always making discoveries, whether they are really big or quite small. For example, I do a lot of chemical synthesis, which means that I take chemicals and carry out reactions on them to make new chemicals. I have made come chemicals that no one else has before, so I think that they might sort of count as ‘discoveries’ because I have found out that particular reactions or sets of reactions could be used to make these new chemicals.
I have also helped to work out the chemical steps in the biological pathway that occurs inside a certain species of fruit fly to produce its major pheromone, so that is my little discovery! 🙂