Well, actually, much of scientific process does happen as a result of the "prepared mind" being ready to respond to the chance occurrence (as noted by Pasteur.) Here is one such story.
It all started when two BIDMC clinician-scientists found themselves in an airport waiting for a delayed flight. They knew each other a bit, but had not had a chance to explore clinical and scientific interests before the bad weather made it possible to spend four hours together in the coffee shop.
One physician, Steve Freedman, is a GI specialist who treats people with pancreatitis. The other, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, is a neurologist who studies the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a therapy in several types of neurological disorders.
While waiting for the flight, Freedman discussed the tragedy of pain suffered by people with pancreatic disease, a type of pain that is among the most debilitating known. He allowed as how interventions in and around the pancreas were often unsuccessful in alleviating this pain. This prompted Pascual-Leone to hypothesize that the perceived pain was instead centered in the brain. Together, they wondered if rTMS could be used to alleviate this type of pain.
Clinical trials ensued, and the two doctors, along with several colleagues, published reports that indicate promising possibilities. Here's one, which to my dismay, is not available without payment, but which I offer for those who might be interested in following up. Here is another, which at least offers a free abstract. Ditto, for another.
But my main point is this: A chance meeting of two highly dedicated physician-scientists creates new avenues for treatment of a debilitating disease. For those of us who spend time trying to raise funds and otherwise support the activities of academic medical centers, this is what it is all about.