1831 in science
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- January 7 – Great Comet of 1831 (C/1831 A1, 1830 II) first observed by John Herapath.
- March 7 – Royal Astronomical Society receives its Royal Charter.
- Heinrich Schwabe makes the first detailed drawing of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
- Mary Somerville translates Laplace's Mécanique céleste as The Mechanism of the Heavens.
- A. A. Bussy publishes his Mémoire sur le Radical métallique de la Magnésie describing his method of isolating magnesium.
- The Kaliapparat is a laboratory device invented in 1831 by Justus von Liebig.
- June 1 – British Royal Navy officer James Clark Ross locates the position of the North Magnetic Pole on the Boothia Peninsula.
- December 27 – Charles Darwin starts his voyage on HMS Beagle from Plymouth.
- Dr C. Turner Thackrah publishes The Effects of the Principal Arts, Trades, and Professions, and of Civic States and Habits of Living, on Health and Longevity, with a particular reference to the trades and manufactures of Leeds, and suggestions for the removal of many of the agents which produce disease and shorten the duration of life, a pioneering study of occupational and public health in a newly industrialised English city.
- Henry Witham publishes Observations on fossil vegetables, accompanied by representations of their internal structure, as seen through the microscope in Edinburgh.
- April 12 – Broughton Suspension Bridge over the River Irwell in England collapses under marching troops.
- August 29 – Michael Faraday demonstrates electromagnetic induction at the Royal Society. Joseph Henry recognises it at about the same time. Faraday also develops the Faraday Wheel, a homopolar generator.
- Joseph Henry invents the electric bell.
- James Meadows Rendel erects the first bascule bridge with a hydraulic mechanism, on the Kingsbridge Estuary in England.
- William Wallace invents the eidograph.
- September 27 – British Association for the Advancement of Science first meets, in York.
- January 20 – Edward Routh (died 1907), Canadian-born English mathematician.
- January 26 – Anton de Bary (died 1888), surgeon, botanist, microbiologist and mycologist.
- February 28 – Edward James Stone (died 1897), astronomer.
- March 3 – George Pullman (died 1897), inventor.
- May 16 – David E. Hughes (died 1900), inventor.
- June 13 – James Clerk Maxwell (died 1879), mathematician.
- August 20 – Eduard Suess (died 1914), geologist.
- October 6 – Richard Dedekind (died 1916), mathematician.
- October 15 – Isabella Bird (died 1904), English explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist.
- October 21 – Hermann Hellriegel (died 1895), German agricultural chemist, discoverer of the mechanism by which leguminous plants assimilate the free nitrogen of the atmosphere.
- October 29 – Othniel Charles Marsh (died 1899), paleontologist.
- June 27 – Sophie Germain (born 1776), French mathematician.
- December 22 – François Huber (born 1750), blind Swiss naturalist.
- "SAO/NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service". Retrieved 2011-02-06.
- "A brief history of the RAS". Royal Astronomical Society. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
- "History Of Dublin Zoo". Family Fun. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- Hunt, Tristram (2004). Building Jerusalem: the rise and fall of the Victorian city. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-60767-7.
- Bishop, R.E.D. (1979). Vibration (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22779-8.
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1820-1840". Archived from the original on 22 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Scientific writings of Joseph Henry. 30. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 1886. p. 434.
- Clarke, Mike (2009-01-05). "A Brief History of Movable Bridges". Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Waterston, Charles D.; Shearer, A. Macmillan (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). 2. Royal Society of Edinburgh. p. 964. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 257–258. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.