1785 in science
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- January 7 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England to Calais, France in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air.
- January 19 – Richard Crosbie successfully flies in a hot air balloon across Dublin, the first ascent in Ireland.
- Antoine François and Étienne Louis Geoffroy publish Entomologia Parisiensis, sive, Catalogus insectorum quae in agro Parisiensi reperiuntur ....
- John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, publishes Botanical Tables, containing the different families of British plants.
- March 7–July – James Hutton's Theory of the Earth is first presented, at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
- The Marquis de Condorcet publishes Essai sur l'application de l'analyse á la probabilité des décisions rendues á la pluralité des voix including his voting paradox, the Condorcet method of voting and his jury theorem.
- William Withering publishes An Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses.
- London Hospital Medical College opens as England's first chartered medical school.
- Lionel Lukin patents a rescue lifeboat in Great Britain.
- Approximate date – American inventor Oliver Evans erects a fully automated flour mill capable of operating continuously through the pioneering use of bulk material handling devices including bucket elevators, conveyor belts, and Archimedean screws at Greenbank Mill, in New Castle County, Delaware – "He practically invented the modern science of handling materials."
- January 15 – William Prout, chemist (died 1850)
- February 26 – Anna Sundström, chemist (died 1871)
- March 17 – Ellen Hutchins, Irish botanist (died 1815)
- March 22 – Adam Sedgwick, geologist (died 1873)
- April 26 – John James Audubon, naturalist, illustrator (died 1851)
- July 6 – William Jackson Hooker, botanist (died 1865)
- January 23 – Matthew Stewart, Scottish mathematician (born 1717)
- June 2 – Jean Paul de Gua de Malves, French mathematician (born 1713)
- November 16 – Johan Gottschalk Wallerius, Swedish chemist and mineralogist (born 1709)
- December 12 – Edmé-Louis Daubenton, French naturalist (born 1730)
- Pierre Le Roy, French clockmaker (born 1717)
- Saverio Manetti, Italian natural historian (born 1723)
- undated – Faustina Pignatelli, Italian mathematician (born 1705)
- Alexander Thom (1850). Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory (7th ed.). p. 258. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- Hutton, James (1788). "Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe". Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1 (2): 209–304. Archived from the original on 2003-07-29. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- Evans, Oliver; Evans, Thomas Ellicott Cadwallader (1848). The Young Mill-wright and Miller's Guide (12th ed.). Lea & Blanchard. p. 204.
- Thomson, Ross (2009). Structures of Change in the Mechanical Age: Technological Invention in the United States 1790-1865. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-9141-0.
- Troy, Rosemary; Wood, Graydon (June 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Greenbank Historic Area" (PDF). National Park Service.
- Roe, Joseph Wickham (1916), English and American Tool Builders, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, LCCN 16011753. Reprinted by McGraw-Hill, New York and London, 1926 (LCCN 27-24075); and by Lindsay Publications, Inc., Bradley, Illinois, (ISBN 978-0-917914-73-7)..