Somewhat of the opposite happened with the great statistician Sir Ronald A. Fisher. In a paper published in 1922, he described the effects of mold-generated antibiotics on bacteria.
(Unfortunately I do not have the bibliographic data available for this paper. It was reprinted in R. A. Fisher (Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher) _Contributions to Mathematical Statistics_ New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1950, pages 4.344 through 4.347
Fisher, being a theoretical mathematician/statistician rather than an engineer (or in this case Medical Doctor), failed to realize that he had one of the greatest discoveries in medical history in his hands. It was not until Fleming observed the effects of penicillin seven years later that antibiotics became part of medicine.
Hmmm. If Fisher had been a little more practical-minded, he would have been the first mathematician to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine.