Cyanoacrylate adhesives—AKA super glue—work because the molecules form super strong chains tightly linking two surfaces in the presence of (even a little) water. The product is actually a happy accident. Its inventor, Harry Coover, was trying to design a better gun sight during World War 2. It turned out that one of his failed attempts—a wicked strong adhesive—would solve a major problem in another war. Vietnam War medics used super glue to quickly close up wounds in the field so injured soldiers could make it to the hospital. For that innovation (and his hundreds of other patents), Coover eventually received the National Medical of Technology and Innovation.