Reading this at your desk? Chances are you have both Scotch tape and Post-it notes somewhere in your drawers. Both are made by an adhesive company, 3M, but the sticky stuff on Post-it notes was actually a mistake. In the late 1960s, a 3M chemist named Spencer Silver was trying to make a stronger, stickier glue when he created Post-it's wan, weak adhesive. This video explains that it took several years of work, plus the insight of a musical fellow chemist, for Silver to find just the right use for his new product.

The video is part of an educational series from NBC Learn's Chemistry Now project, celebrating the designation of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry.