While I was doing my PhD I came up with a new model for what might have happened just after the Big Bang. Unfortunately, not long afterwards, some observations showed that that it wasn’t right. Our calculations were correct, but what actually happened was different. However this is the way science works: we make predictions and then test them using experiments and observations.
Mine actually goes all the way back to A-level Physics. It wasn’t anything new or particularly exciting, it’s been done a few hundred years ago, but it was the FIRST time I did an experiment that actually MEANT something!
We used a pendulum to find the strength of gravity, g. All the other experiments at school just felt like random numbers that meant nothing, but when I used my results in the equation and got 9.8 m^2/s – the value that I knew it was meant to be – it felt so awesome!! It worked!!!
I know it’s not really a discovery as such, because it’s been done before, but I DID discover that I can use experiments to find something REAL 😀