Timeline of scientific discoveries
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|History of science|
The timeline below shows the date of publication of possible major scientific theories and discoveries, along with the discoverer. In many cases, the discoveries spanned several years.
2nd century BC 
2nd century 
9th century 
10th century 
- Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes): refutation of Aristotelian classical elements and Galenic humorism; and discovery of measles and smallpox, and kerosene and distilled petroleum
- Ibn Sahl: Snell's law of refraction
11th century 
- 1021 – Ibn al-Haytham's Book of Optics
- 1020s – Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine
- 1054 – Various Early Astronomers: Observe supernova (modern designation SN 1054), later correlated to the Crab Nebula.
- Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī: beginning of Islamic astronomy and mechanics
12th century 
- 1121 – Al-Khazini: variation of gravitation and gravitational potential energy at a distance; the decrease of air density with altitude
- Ibn Bajjah (Avempace): discovery of reaction (precursor to Newton's third law of motion)
- Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi (Nathanel): relationship between force and acceleration (a vague foreshadowing of a fundamental law of classical mechanics and a precursor to Newton's second law of motion)
- Averroes: relationship between force, work and kinetic energy
13th century 
- 1220–1235 – Robert Grosseteste: rudimentals of the scientific method (see also: Roger Bacon)
- 1242 – Ibn al-Nafis: pulmonary circulation and circulatory system
- Theodoric of Freiberg: correct explanation of rainbow phenomenon
- William of Saint-Cloud: pioneering use of camera obscura to view solar eclipses
14th century 
- Before 1327 – William of Ockham: Occam's Razor
- Oxford Calculators: the mean speed theorem
- Jean Buridan: theory of impetus
- Nicole Oresme: discovery of the curvature of light through atmospheric refraction
15th century 
- 1494 - Luca Pacioli: first codification of the Double-entry bookkeeping system, which slowly developed in previous centuries
16th century 
- 1543 – Copernicus: heliocentric model
- 1543 – Vesalius: pioneering research into human anatomy
- 1552 – Michael Servetus: early research in Europe into pulmonary circulation
- 1570s – Tycho Brahe: detailed astronomical observations
- 1600 – William Gilbert: Earth's magnetic field
17th century 
- 1609 – Johannes Kepler: first two laws of planetary motion
- 1610 – Galileo Galilei: Sidereus Nuncius: telescopic observations
- 1614 – John Napier: use of logarithms for calculation
- 1628 – William Harvey: Blood circulation
- 1635 - Robert Hooke: Discovers the Cell
- 1643 – Evangelista Torricelli invents the mercury barometer
- 1662 – Robert Boyle: Boyle's law of ideal gas
- 1665 – Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first peer reviewed scientific journal published.
- 1668 – Francesco Redi: disproved idea of spontaneous generation
- 1669 – Nicholas Steno: Proposes that fossils are organic remains embedded in layers of sediment, basis of stratigraphy
- 1669 – Jan Swammerdam: Species breed true
- 1675 – Leibniz, Newton: Infinitesimal calculus
- 1675 – Anton van Leeuwenhoek: Observes Microorganisms by Microscope
- 1676 – Ole Rømer: first measurement of the speed of light
- 1687 – Newton: Laws of motion, law of universal gravitation, basis for classical physics
18th century 
- 1745 – Ewald Jürgen Georg von Kleist first capacitor, the Leyden jar
- 1750 – Joseph Black: describes latent heat
- 1751 – Benjamin Franklin: Lightning is electrical
- 1761 - Mikhail Lomonosov: discovery of the atmosphere of Venus
- 1763 - Thomas Bayes: publishes the first version of Bayes' theorem, paving the way for Bayesian probability
- 1771 – Charles Messier: Publishes catalogue of astronomical objects (Messier Objects) now known to include galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae.
- 1778 – Antoine Lavoisier (and Joseph Priestley): discovery of oxygen leading to end of Phlogiston theory
- 1781 – William Herschel announces discovery of Uranus, expanding the known boundaries of the solar system for the first time in modern history
- 1785 – William Withering: publishes the first definitive account of the use of foxglove (digitalis) for treating dropsy
- 1787 – Jacques Charles: Charles' law of ideal gas
- 1789 – Antoine Lavoisier: law of conservation of mass, basis for chemistry, and the beginning of modern chemistry
- 1796 – Georges Cuvier: Establishes extinction as a fact
19th century 
- 1800 – Alessandro Volta: discovers electrochemical series and invents the battery
- 1802 – Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: teleological evolution
- 1805 – John Dalton: Atomic Theory in (Chemistry)
- 1824 – Carnot: described the Carnot cycle, the idealized heat engine
- 1827 – Georg Ohm: Ohm's law (Electricity)
- 1827 – Amedeo Avogadro: Avogadro's law (Gas law)
- 1828 – Friedrich Wöhler synthesized urea, destroying vitalism
- 1830 - Nikolai Lobachevsky created Non-Euclidean geometry
- 1831 – Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction
- 1833 – Anselme Payen isolates first enzyme, diastase
- 1838 – Matthias Schleiden: all plants are made of cells
- 1838 – Friedrich Bessel: first successful measure of stellar parallax (to star 61 Cygni)
- 1842 – Christian Doppler: Doppler effect
- 1843 – James Prescott Joule: Law of Conservation of energy (First law of thermodynamics), also 1847 – Helmholtz, Conservation of energy
- 1846 – William Morton: discovery of anesthesia
- 1846 – Johann Gottfried Galle and Heinrich Louis d'Arrest: discovery of Neptune
- 1848 – Lord Kelvin: absolute zero
- 1858 – Rudolf Virchow: cells can only arise from pre-existing cells
- 1859 – Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace: Theory of evolution by natural selection
- 1861 - Louis Pasteur: Germ theory
- 1865 – Gregor Mendel: Mendel's laws of inheritance, basis for genetics
- 1865 – Rudolf Clausius: Definition of Entropy
- 1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev: Periodic table
- 1871 – Lord Rayleigh: Diffuse sky radiation (Rayleigh scattering) explains why sky appears blue
- 1873 – James Clerk Maxwell: Theory of electromagnetism
- 1875 – William Crookes invented the Crookes tube and studied cathode rays
- 1876 – Josiah Willard Gibbs founded chemical thermodynamics, the phase rule
- 1877 – Ludwig Boltzmann: Statistical definition of entropy
- 1887 – Albert Michelson and Edward Morley: lack of evidence for the aether
- 1895 – Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays
- 1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- 1897 – J.J. Thomson discovers the electron in cathode rays
- 1898 - J.J. Thomson proposed the Plum pudding model of an atom
- 1900 – Max Planck: Planck's law of black body radiation, basis for quantum theory
20th century 
- 1905 – Albert Einstein: theory of special relativity, explanation of Brownian motion, and photoelectric effect
- 1906 – Walther Nernst: Third law of thermodynamics
- 1909 – Fritz Haber: Haber Process and also the Oil drop experiment by Robert Andrews Millikan to determine the charge on an electron
- 1911 – Ernest Rutherford: Atomic nucleus
- 1911 – Heike Kamerlingh Onnes: Superconductivity
- 1912 – Alfred Wegener: Continental drift
- 1912 – Max von Laue : x-ray diffraction
- 1913 – Henry Moseley: defined atomic number
- 1913 – Niels Bohr: Model of the atom
- 1915 – Albert Einstein: theory of general relativity – also David Hilbert
- 1915 – Karl Schwarzschild: discovery of the Schwarzschild radius leading to the identification of black holes
- 1918 – Emmy Noether: Noether's theorem – conditions under which the conservation laws are valid
- 1920 – Arthur Eddington: Stellar nucleosynthesis
- 1924 – Wolfgang Pauli: quantum Pauli exclusion principle
- 1924 – Edwin Hubble: the discovery that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies
- 1925 – Erwin Schrödinger: Schrödinger equation (Quantum mechanics)
- 1927 – Werner Heisenberg: Uncertainty principle (Quantum mechanics)
- 1927 – Georges Lemaître: Theory of the Big Bang
- 1928 – Paul Dirac: Dirac equation (Quantum mechanics)
- 1929 – Edwin Hubble: Hubble's law of the expanding universe
- 1929 – Lars Onsager's reciprocal relations, a potential fourth law of thermodynamics
- 1932 – James Chadwick: Discovery of the neutron
- 1934 – Clive McCay: Calorie Restriction extends the maximum lifespan of another species Calorie Restriction research history
- 1938 – Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann: Nuclear fission
- 1943 – Oswald Avery proves that DNA is the genetic material of the chromosome
- 1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invent the first transistor
- 1948 – Claude Elwood Shannon: 'A mathematical theory of communication' a seminal paper in Information theory.
- 1948 – Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and Freeman Dyson: Quantum electrodynamics
- 1951 – George Otto Gey propagates first cancer cell line, HeLa
- 1952 – Jonas Salk: developed and tested first polio vaccine
- 1953 – Crick and Watson: helical structure of DNA, basis for molecular biology
- 1963 – Lawrence Morley, Fred Vine, and Drummond Matthews: Paleomagnetic stripes in ocean crust as evidence of plate tectonics (Vine-Matthews-Morley hypothesis).
- 1964 – Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig: postulate quarks leading to the standard model
- 1964 – Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson: detection of CMBR providing experimental evidence for the Big Bang
- 1965 – Leonard Hayflick: normal cells divide only a certain number of times: the Hayflick limit
- 1967 – Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discover first pulsar
- 1984 – Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction, a key discovery in molecular biology.
- 1986 – Karl Müller and Johannes Bednorz: Discovery of High-temperature superconductivity
- 1994 - Andrew Wiles proves Fermats Last Theorem
- 1995 – Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz definitively observe the first extrasolar planet around a main sequence star
- 1995 - Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle attained the first Bose-Einstein Condensate with atomic gases, so called fifth state of matter at extremely low temperature.
- 1997 – Roslin Institute: Dolly the sheep was cloned.
- 1997 – CDF and DØ experiments at Fermilab: Top quark.
- 1998 – Gerson Goldhaber and Saul Perlmutter observed that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
21st century 
- 2001 – The first draft of the human genome is completed.
- 2003 - Grigori Perelman presents proof of the Poincaré Conjecture.
- 2006 - Shinya Yamanaka generates first induced pluripotent stem cells
- 2010 – J. Craig Venter Institute creates the first synthetic bacterial cell.
- 2010 - The Neanderthal Genome Project presented preliminary genetic evidence that interbreeding did likely take place and that a small but significant portion of Neanderthal admixture is present in modern non-African populations.
- 2012 - Higgs boson is discovered at CERN (confirmed to 99.999% certainty)
- Page 26, (2nd chapter) in: Ronald L. Numbers (ed.) Galileo Goes to Jail, and Other Myths about Science and Religion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Note: the first tree chapters of the book can be found here .
- "Kirschner, Stefan, "Nicole Oresme", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)". Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- L.M. Smith (2008-10-01). "Luca Pacioli: The Father of Accounting". Acct.tamu.edu. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
- "John Napier and logarithms". Ualr.edu. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- "JCVI: First Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cell Constructed by J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers". jcvi.org. Retrieved 2013-02-12.