1961 in science
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Astronomy and space exploration
- January 31 – Ham, a 37-pound male chimpanzee, is rocketed into space in a test of the Project Mercury capsule designed to carry U.S. astronauts into space.
- April 12 – Yuri Gagarin is the first human in space.
- April 15 – R. N. Schwartz and Charles Hard Townes publish "Interstellar and Interplanetary Communication by Optical Masers" in Nature, providing a basis for Optical SETI.
- May 19 – Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first manmade object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (however the probe had lost contact with earth a month earlier and does not send back any data).
- May 25 – Apollo program: President Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the moon" before the end of the decade.
- The Drake equation is written by Frank Drake.
- Cephalosporin C is first characterized, by Guy Newton and Edward Abraham of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in the University of Oxford.
- May 15 – J. Heinrich Matthaei performs the Poly-U-Experiment in the United States, opening the way to solution of the genetic code, a key event in modern genetics.
- April – Project Mohole begins.
- Francis Birch establishes Birch's law on compressional wave velocities.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is first discovered, in the United Kingdom.
- New Zealand cardiologist J.C.P. Williams identifies Williams syndrome.
- The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Ibuprofen, derived from propanoic acid by the research arm of Boots UK (Andrew R. M. Dunlop with Stewart Adams, John Nicholson, Vonleigh Simmons, Jeff Wilson and Colin Burrows), is patented.
- Thalidomide is withdrawn from sale.
- February 14 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at Berkeley, California.
- October 30 - The largest nuclear weapon by yield, Tsar Bomba, is detonated in Russia, having a 50-megaton yield.
- Spain joins CERN; Yugoslavia leaves.
- July – First Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures.
- June – RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher introduced in the Soviet Union.
- James L. Buie patents transistor-coupled transistor logic, later known as transistor-to-transistor logic circuitry (TTL), used in integrated circuits.
- April 3 – A Leadbeater's possum, a marsupial species thought to have been extinct for over 50 years, is discovered in New South Wales (Australia).
- April 29 – World Wildlife Fund established.
- November 9 – First edition of new International Code of Zoological Nomenclature published.
- Nobel Prizes
- March 10 – Laurel Clark (died 2003), American astronaut.
- July 1 – Kalpana Chawla (died 2003), Indian astronaut.
- January 4 – Samuel Aggrey (born 1887), Ghanaiann physicist.
- May 29 – Arnold Gesell (born 1880), American developmental psychologist.
- June 4 – William Astbury (born 1898), English physicist and molecular biologist.
- June 6 – Carl Jung (born 1875), Swiss psychiatrist.
- September 4 – Emil von Dungern (born 1867), German serologist.
- November 15 – Johanna Westerdijk (born 1883), Dutch plant pathologist
- Abraham, E. P.; Newton, G. G. F. (May 1961). "Structure of cephalosporin C". Biochemical Journal. 79: 377–393. PMC . PMID 13681080.
- Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg. Experimentalsysteme – Eine Geschichte der Proteinsynthese im Reagenzglas. Wallstein. ISBN 3-89244-454-4.
- "Disc Electrophoresis". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Ornstein, Leonard (1964). "Disc Electrophoresis". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 121: 321–349. Bibcode:1964NYASA.121..321O. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1964.tb14207.x. PMID 14240533.
- Landauer, R. (1961). "Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process" (PDF). IBM Journal of Research and Development. IBM. 5 (3): 183–191. doi:10.1147/rd.53.0183. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- Birch, Francis (1961). "The velocity of compressional waves in rocks to 10 kilobars. Part 2" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research. 66: 2199–2224. Bibcode:1961JGR....66.2199B. doi:10.1029/JZ066i007p02199.
- Birch, Francis (1961). "Composition of the Earth's mantle". Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. 4: 295–311. Bibcode:1961GeoJI...4..295B. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.1961.tb06821.x.
- Crilly, Tony (2007). 50 Mathematical Ideas you really need to know. London: Quercus. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84724-008-8.
- Lenhoff, Howard M.; Teele, Rita L.; Clarkson, Patricia M.; Berdon, Walter E. (2010). "John C. P. Williams of Williams-Beuren syndrome". Pediatric Radiology. 41 (2): 267–269. doi:10.1007/s00247-010-1909-y. ISSN 0301-0449. PMID 21107555.
- Adams, S. S. (1992). "The propionic acids: A personal perspective". The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 32 (4): 317–323. doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1992.tb03842.x. PMID 1569234.
- "The story of Ibuprofen". Nottingham: BBC. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Lee, J. A. N. (2013). "Computer Pioneers". James L. Buie. IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
While working for TRW, Inc., Los Angeles, in the early 1960s, Buie developed and patented TTL circuitry, which became the dominant IC technology in the 1970s and early 1980s.