1717 in science
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- Thomas Fairchild, a nurseryman at Hoxton in the East End of London, becomes the first person to produce a successful scientific plant hybrid, Dianthus Caryophyllus barbatus, known as "Fairchild's Mule".
- James Petiver publishes Papilionum Brittaniae Icones, the first book devoted exclusively to British butterflies, giving English names to a number of species.
- June 5 – Emanuel Mendez da Costa, English botanist (died 1791)
- June 28 – Matthew Stewart, Scottish mathematician (died 1785)
- September 11 – Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin, Swedish astronomer (died 1783)
- November 16 – Jean le Rond d'Alembert, French mathematician (died 1783)
- Pierre Le Roy, French clockmaker (died 1785)
- Wilhelm Friedrich von Gleichen, German microscopist (died 1783)
- January 13 – Maria Sibylla Merian, German-born naturalist (born 1647)
- March 8 – Abraham Darby I, English ironmaster (born 1678)