1874 in science
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- December 9 – a transit of Venus across the Sun is observed in Muddapur, India, by an astronomical expedition led by Pietro Tacchini
- Per Teodor Cleve discovers that didymium is in fact two elements, now known as neodymium and praseodymium
- C. R. Alder Wright synthetizes heroin
- Othmar Zeidler synthesises DDT
- Carl Schorlemmer publishes A Manual of Chemistry of the Carbon Compounds; or, Organic Chemistry.
- Jacobus van 't Hoff and Achille Le Bel independently propose that organic molecular models can be three-dimensional
- February – the Challenger expedition provides geological evidence for the existence of the continent of Antarctica
History of science
- John William Draper publishes History of the Conflict between Religion and Science
- Georg Cantor's paper, "Ueber eine Eigenschaft des Inbegriffes aller reellen algebraischen Zahlen" ("On a Property of the Collection of All Real Algebraic Numbers"), published in Crelle's Journal, considered as the origin of set theory
- William Stanley Jevons publishes his comprehensive treatise on logic, The Principles of Science
- Sofia Kovalevskaya is awarded a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Göttingen, the first woman in Europe to hold that degree. Her submission includes a paper on partial differential equations containing a presentation of the Cauchy-Kovalevski theorem.
- April 1 – Dr Frances Morgan marries Dr George Hoggan and they set up the first husband-and-wife general medical practice in the United Kingdom
- Autumn – London School of Medicine for Women founded
- A. T. Still introduces osteopathic medicine in the United States
- Vladimir Alekseyevich Betz describes giant pyramidal cells in the motor cortex, later called Betz cells
- Franz Brentano publishes Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkte (Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint)
- May 20 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a United States patent for blue denim jeans with copper rivets
- July 1 – Sholes and Glidden typewriter, with cylindrical platen and QWERTY keyboard, first marketed, in the United States
- July 4 – official opening of Eads Bridge (combined road and rail steel arch) over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri, designed by James B. Eads. It is the longest arch bridge in the world at this time, with an overall length of 6,442 feet (1,964 m); the first use of true steel as a primary structural material in a major bridge project; the first built using cantilever support methods exclusively; and the first major project to make use of pneumatic caissons.
- Invention of barbed wire by Joseph Glidden
- January 22 – Leonard Eugene Dickson (died 1954), mathematician
- February 2 – Ernest Shackleton (died 1922), explorer
- April 25 – Guglielmo Marconi (died 1937), inventor
- September 12 – Redcliffe N. Salaman (died 1955), botanist
- September 26 – Oakes Ames (died 1950), botanist
- October 13 – Kiyotsugu Hirayama (died 1943), astronomer
- November 27 – Chaim Weizmann (died 1952), chemist and first President of Israel
- November 29 – António Egas Moniz (died 1955), winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- December 6 – Elizabeth Laird (died 1969), physicist
- January 16 – Max Schultze (born 1825), physiologist
- January 24 – Johann Philipp Reis (born 1834), physicist and inventor
- February 17 – Adolphe Quetelet (born 1796), mathematician and astronomer
- February 19 – Carl Ernst Bock (born 1809), physician and anatomist
- March 14 – Johann Heinrich von Mädler (born 1794), astronomer
- March 28 – Peter Andreas Hansen (born 1795), astronomer
- April 13 – James Bogardus (born 1800), inventor
- November 21 – Sir William Jardine, 7th Baronet (born 1800), naturalist
- DDT and its derivatives, Environmental Health Criteria monograph No. 009, Geneva: World Health Organization, 1979, ISBN 92-4-154069-9
- Crilly, Tony (2007). 50 Mathematical Ideas you really need to know. London: Quercus. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-84724-008-8.
- The Foundations of Stereo Chemistry: Memoirs by Pasteur, van 't Hoff, Lebel and Wislicenus. New York: American Book Co. 1901.
- Jones, Max (2003). The Last Great Quest. Oxford University Press. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-19-280483-9.
- McGonigal, David (2009). Antarctica: Secrets of the Southern Continent. London: Frances Lincoln. p. 289. ISBN 0-7112-2980-5.
- Johnson, Phillip E. (1972). "The Genesis and Development of Set Theory". The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal. 3 (1): 55–62.
- Grattan-Guinness, Ivor (2000). The Search for Mathematical Roots, 1870–1940. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05858-0.
- Cooke, Roger (1984). The Mathematics of Sonya Kovalevskaya. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-96030-9.
- Elston, M. A. (2004). "Hoggan, Frances Elizabeth (1843–1927)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/46422. Retrieved 2012-06-22. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Elston, M. A. (2004). "Edinburgh Seven (act. 1869–1873)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- Autobiography of A. T. Still. Rev. ed., Kirksille, MO (1908).
- Maxwell, James Clerk; Harman, P. M. (2002), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, Volume 3; 1874-1879, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-25627-5, p. 148: "I have just finished a clay model of a fancy surface, showing the solid, liquid, and gaseous states, and the continuity of liquid and gaseous states." (letter to Thomas Andrews, November 1874).
- DeLony, Eric. "Context for World Heritage Bridges". International Council on Monuments and Sites. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-06.