1847 in science
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- July 1 – German amateur astronomer Karl Ludwig Hencke discovers asteroid 6 Hebe from Driesen.
- August 13 – English astronomer John Russell Hind discovers asteroid 7 Iris from London.
- October 18 – J. R. Hind discovers asteroid 8 Flora from London.
- October 1 – American astronomer Maria Mitchell discovers comet C/1847 T1; it is independently discovered two days later by Francesco de Vico from Rome.
- A new edition of the astrometric star catalogue Histoire Céleste Française is published, from which the Lalande star reference numbers which continue in use are derived.
- Nitroglycerin, at first called pyroglycerine, first synthesized by Ascanio Sobrero.
- Hermann Kolbe obtains acetic acid from completely inorganic sources, further disproving vitalism.
- George Boole formalizes symbolic logic in the pamphlet The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (published in Cambridge), defining what is now called Boolean algebra.
- Johann Benedict Listing publishes Vorstudien zur Topologie in Göttingen, first introducing the term Topology in print.
- January 1 – Britain's first Medical Officer of Health is appointed, Dr. William Henry Duncan in Liverpool.
- November 4–8 – James Young Simpson discovers the anesthetic properties of chloroform and first uses it, successfully, on a patient, in an obstetric case in Edinburgh.
- Ignaz Semmelweis studies and prevents the transmission of puerperal fever.
- The journal Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medizin is founded by Rudolf Virchow and Benno Reinhardt.
- Joseph-François Malgaigne publishes Traité des fractures et des luxations in Paris.
- January 27 – Institution of Mechanical Engineers founded in the Queen's Hotel next to Curzon Street railway station in Birmingham, England, by George Stephenson and others.
- May 24 – The Dee bridge disaster: a cast iron girder bridge across the river Dee at Chester, England, designed by Robert Stephenson for the Chester and Holyhead Railway, collapses under a Shrewsbury and Chester Railway train with five fatalities.
- July 24 – Richard March Hoe patents a rotary printing press in the United States.
- Squire Whipple publishes A Work on Bridge Building in the United States.
- August 18 – American missionary Thomas S. Savage and anatomist Jeffries Wyman first describe the great ape species Troglodytes gorilla, known in modern times as the western gorilla, to the Boston Society of Natural History.
- January 21 – Joseph Le Bel, French stereochemist (died 1930)
- February 11 – Thomas Edison, American inventor (died 1931)
- March 3 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born inventor (died 1922)
- May 1 – Hildegard Björck, Swedish-born pioneer of women's medical education (died 1920)
- Sydney Mary Thompson, Irish-born geologist and botanist (died 1923)
- March 9 – Mary Anning, English paleontologist (born 1799)
- April 9 – Filip Neriusz Walter, Polish organic chemist (born 1810)
- November 11 – Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach, German plastic surgeon (born 1792)
- December 7 – Robert Liston, Scottish-born surgeon (born 1794)
- Baily, F. (1847), A catalogue of those stars in the Histoire Celeste Francaise of J. De Lalande for which tables of reduction to the session define format EPOCH1 = 1800 have been published by Professor Schumacher, London: British Association for the Advancement of Science
- "Kolbe, Adolph Wilhelm Hermann". 100 Distinguished European Chemists. European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences. 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F. (2000). "Johann Benedict Listing". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Halliday, S. (2003). "Duncan of Liverpool: Britain's first Medical Officer". Journal of Medical Biography. 11 (3): 142–149. PMID 12870037.
- First communicated to the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh, November 10, and published in a pamphlet, Notice of a New Anæsthetic Agent, in Edinburgh, November 12.
- Gordon, H. Laing (2002). Sir James Young Simpson and Chloroform (1811–1870). Minerva Group, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4102-0291-8. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
- Cragg, Roger (1997). Civil Engineering Heritage: Wales and West Central England (2nd ed.). London: Thomas Telford. p. 194. ISBN 0-7277-2576-9.
- Lewis, Peter R. (2007). Disaster on the Dee: Robert Stephenson's Nemesis of 1847. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7524-4266-2.
- #5199. "Improvement in Rotary Printing-Presses".
- Savage, Thomas S. (1847). "Communication describing the external character and habits of a new species of Troglodytes (T. gorilla, Savage)". Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History. 2: 245–247. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
- Savage, Thomas S.; Wyman, Jeffries (1847). "Notice of the external characters and habits of Troglodytes gorilla, a new species of orang from the Gaboon River; Osteology of the same". Boston Journal of Natural History. 5 (4): 417–443. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
- Conniff, Richard (2009). "Discovering gorilla". Evolutionary Anthropology. 18 (2): 55–61. doi:10.1002/evan.20203.