How to become a Serendipitologist? If we were to write a biography on the Dutch Pek Van Andel that could be the title that covers his very versatile course of life. Originally graduated in the field of medical research, Pek Van Andel investigated serendipity from all points of view, from the domains of science and technology to art. As shown in his bibliography, his first work mentioning serendipity dates from more than a quarter century ago.

Menko Victor (Pek) van Andel (Amsterdam, °1944) obtained his university degree in medical research in Groningen, where he developed an artificial cornea for the ten million cornea blind in the world. This low-cost prosthesis is still manufactured and daily implanted in India, and was honored with the Wubbo Ockels innovation prize in 1994.
That very same year he published the first and only article on serendipity in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

In 2000 he won the satiric Ig-Nobel Prize for medicine for his iconoclastic MRI-scans of the human love act, called 'Love between the magnets'. His pet sin, collecting and analyzing serendipities became ‘Ernst im Spiel’. He is regarded as ‘serendipitologist’,, and, as a medical maverick, he is now finishing his thesis ‘Serendipity at Work’. He’s still giving lectures, courses and master classes on serendipity in the US and Europe for university (PhD) students, investigators, and managers of respectable companies.


1. Serendipiteit: de ongezochte vondst, with Wim Brands, Nieuw Amsterdam, 2014.
2. De la sérendipité: dans la science, la technique, l'art et le droit: leçons de l'inattendu, with Danièle Bourcier, L'Act mem, 2009 + Hermann, 2013.
3. La sérendipité: le hasard heureux, Actes du Colloque de Cerisy-la- Salle, directed with de Danièle Bourcier, Hermann, 2011.
4. Amīr Ḵusraw Dihlawī, Les trois princes de Serendip, translated from Persian by Farideh Rava & Alain Lance, presented by Pek van Andel & Danièle Bourcier, Hermann, 2011
5. Bermbloemen: serendipiteiten in Groningen: ongezochte vondsten uit stad en land, Gemeente Groningen, 2005.
6.Ongezochte vondsten: een ABC van serendipiteit, Studium Generale, Universiteit Groningen, 2001.
7. Anatomy of the Unsought Finding. Serendipity: Origin, History, Domains, Traditions, Appearances, Patterns and Programmability, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 45 : 2, pp. 631-648. Available here
8. Serendipiteit: de paradox van de ongezochte vondst. 'Toevallige' ontdekkingen, uitvindingen en creaties uit wetenschap, techniek en kunst, tentoonstellingscatalogus, 1989.