1855 in science
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- Robert Remak publishes Untersuchungen über die Entwickelung der Wirbelthiere in Berlin, providing evidence for cell division, which is supported (but not acknowledged) by Rudolf Virchow.
- September – Rev. James Patterson presents the Gall orthographic projection for celestial and terrestrial equal-area cartography.
- May 10 – The Bunsen burner is invented by Robert Wilhelm Bunsen.
- Friedrich Gaedcke first isolates the cocaine alkaloid, which he names "erythroxyline".
- William Odling proposes that carbon is tetravalent.
- Charles-Adolphe Wurtz publishes the Wurtz reaction.
- Benjamin Silliman, Jr. pioneers methods of petroleum cracking, which makes the entire modern petrochemical industry possible.
- March – Mary Seacole opens the British Hotel at Balaklava, a nursing and convalescent establishment for Crimean War officers.
- October – The Renkioi temporary hospital, prefabricated in wood to a design by I. K. Brunel, is erected in Turkey to serve Crimean War invalids.
- Thomas Addison describes Addison's disease in On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules.
- James Clerk Maxwell unifies electricity and magnetism into a single theory, classical electromagnetism, thereby showing that light is an electromagnetic wave.
- Heinrich Geißler designs a mercury pump capable of producing a significant vacuum.
- October 17 – Henry Bessemer files his patent for the Bessemer process of steelmaking.
- William Armstrong produces the rifled breech-loading Armstrong Gun.
- c. February – Establishment of the Industrial Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, a predecessor of the National Museum of Scotland, with chemist George Wilson as its director. In August he is also appointed Regius Professor of Technology in the University of Edinburgh, the first such post in Britain. This year also he publishes Researches on Colour-Blindness.
- Opening of Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule in Zurich, Switzerland.
- Matthew Fontaine Maury publishes The Physical Geography of the Sea.
- January 5 – King Camp Gillette (died 1932), American inventor.
- January 21 – John Browning (died 1926), American inventor.
- January 28 – William Seward Burroughs (died 1898), American inventor of the adding machine.
- March 13 – Percival Lowell (died 1916), American astronomer.
- May 29 – David Bruce (died 1931), Australian-born British microbiologist.
- November 5 – Léon Teisserenc de Bort (died 1913), French meteorologist.
- November 7 – Edwin Hall (died 1938), American physicist who discovered the "Hall effect".
- February 23 – Carl Friedrich Gauss (born 1777), German mathematician.
- February 27 – Bryan Donkin (born 1768), English engineer and inventor.
- March 20 – Joseph Aspdin (born 1778), English inventor.
- April 13 – Henry De la Beche (born 1796), English geologist.
- June 7 – Friederike Lienig (born 1790), Latvian entomologist.
- June 29 – John Gorrie (born 1803), Scottish American physician and inventor.
- July 6 – Andrew Crosse (born 1784), English 'gentleman scientist', pioneer experimenter in electricity.
- July 8 – William Parry (born 1790), English Arctic explorer.
- October 7 – François Magendie (born 1783), French physiologist.
- December 6 – William John Swainson (born 1789), English naturalist.
- Virchow, R. Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin 8 (1855).
- Lagunoff, David (2002). "A Polish, Jewish Scientist in 19th-Century Prussia". Science. 298 (5602): 2331. doi:10.1126/science.1080726. PMID 12493897.
- At Glasgow meeting of British Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Gaedcke, F. (1855). "Ueber das Erythroxylin, dargestellt aus den Blättern des in Südamerika cultivirten Strauches Erythroxylon Coca". Archiv der Pharmazie. 132 (2): 141–150. doi:10.1002/ardp.18551320208.
- Wurtz, Adolphe (1855). "Sur une nouvelle classe de radicaux organiques". Annales de chimie et de physique. 44: 275–312. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- "Benjamin Silliman, Jr. (1816–1885)". Picture History. Picture History LLC. 2003. Retrieved 2007-03-24.
- Seacole, Mary (1858). Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands. London: Blackwood.
- Silver, Christopher (2007). Renkioi: Brunel's Forgotten Crimean War Hospital. Sevenoaks: Valonia Press. ISBN 978-0-9557105-0-6.
- Carroll, Sean B. (2009). Remarkable Creatures: epic adventures in the search for the origins of species. London: Quercus. pp. 172–4.
- van Dulken, Stephen (2001). Inventing the 19th Century: the great age of Victorian inventions. London: British Library. pp. 30–1. ISBN 0-7123-0881-4.
- Swinney, Geoffrey N. (2016). "George Wilson's map of technology". Journal of Scottish Historical Studies. 36: 165–90. doi:10.3366/jshs.2016.0184.