The big four artificial sweeteners – Saccharine, Cyclamate, Aspartame and Sucralose – were all discovered after scientists accidentally tasted the chemicals.
Saccharine was discovered in 1879 by Constantin Fahlberg, who was researching coal tar derivatives and forgot to wash his hands before going for lunch.
Cyclamate (Sweet ‘n’ Low) was discovered in 1937 when graduate student Michael Sveda was looking for anti fever drugs, and noticed a cigarette he’d put down on his lab bench tasted sweet.
Aspartame (Nutrasweet) was found in 1965 by James Schlatter, who was researching ulcer drugs. He licked his finger to pick up a piece of paper and found it tasted sweet.
Sucralose (Splenda) was created in 1976 when researcher Shashikant Phadnis was asked to test a substance and misheard it as taste.