http://www.acs.org/globalchallenges), analyzing a bright blue paint called Egyptian Blue is helping scientists develop new nanomaterials.
Egyptian Blue is thought to be the first artificial pigment and it was used in tombs and on statues. Here and there in the ancient world, flecks of the stuff still exist.
Apparently the calcium copper silicate in the pigment breaks apart into sheets so thin that thousands would fit across the width of a human hair. These sheets produce invisible infrared radiation similar to beams in remote controls.
Ancient materials--modern eyes and the brains and analytics to suss out the possibilities.
These podcasts are full of these serendipitous moments.
Life is, too.