Timeline of scientific discoveries

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The timeline below shows the date of publication of possible major scientific theories and discoveries, along with the discoverer. In many cases, the discoveries spanned several years.

4th century BC[edit]

  • 4th century BC – Mandragora (containing atropin) was described by Theophrastus in the fourth century B.C. for treatment of wounds, gout, and sleeplessness, and as a love potion. By the first century A.D. Dioscorides recognized wine of mandrake as an anaesthetic for treatment of pain or sleeplessness, to be given prior to surgery or cautery.[1]

3rd century BC[edit]

  • 323–283 BC – Euclid: wrote a series of 13 books on geometry called The Elements
  • 287-212 BC – Archimedes of Syracuse: derived an accurate approximation of pi, defined and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers.
  • 280 BC – Aristarchus of Samos: used a heliocentric, heliostatic model

2nd century BC[edit]

1st century[edit]

2nd century[edit]

3rd century[edit]

  • 200s Galen: produced big contributions to medicine.

9th century[edit]

10th century[edit]

11th century[edit]

12th century[edit]

13th century[edit]

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

  • 2001 – The first draft of the Human Genome Project is published.
  • 2003 – Grigori Perelman presents proof of the Poincaré Conjecture.
  • 2004 – Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated graphene, a monolayer of carbon atoms, and studied its quantum electrical properties.
  • 2005 – Grid cells in the brain are discovered by Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser.
  • 2010 – The first Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cells are Constructed.[7]
  • 2010 – The Neanderthal Genome Project presented preliminary genetic evidence that interbreeding did likely take place and that a small but significant portion of Neanderthal admixture is present in modern non-African populations.[citation needed]
  • 2012 – Higgs boson is discovered at CERN (confirmed to 99.999% certainty)
  • 2012 – Photonic molecules are discovered at MIT
  • 2014 – Exotic hadrons are discovered at the LHCb
  • 2015 – Traces of liquid water discovered on Mars[8]
  • 2016 – The LIGO team detected gravitational waves from a black hole merger.
  • 2017 – Gravitational wave signal GW170817 was observed by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration. This was the first instance of a gravitational wave event that was observed to have a simultaneous electromagnetic signal when space telescopes like Hubble observed lights coming from the event, thereby marking a significant breakthrough for multi-messenger astronomy.[9][10][11]
  • 2018 - The first genetically engineered babies (Lulu and Nana)
  • 2019 – The first ever image of a black hole was captured, using eight different telescopes taking simultaneous pictures, timed with extremely precise atomic clocks.


  1. ^ Robert S. Holzman, MD (July 1998). "The Legacy of Atropos". Anesthesiology. 89 (1): 241–249. doi:10.1097/00000542-199807000-00030. PMID 9667313. citing J. Arena, Poisoning: Toxicology-Symptoms-Treatments, 3rd edition. Springfield, Charles C. Thomas, 1974, p 345
  2. ^ Page 26, (2nd chapter) in: Ronald L. Numbers (ed.) Galileo Goes to Jail, and Other Myths about Science and Religion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Note: the first tree chapters of the book can be found here "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  3. ^ "Kirschner, Stefan, "Nicole Oresme", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)". Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  4. ^ L.M. Smith (1 October 2008). "Luca Pacioli: The Father of Accounting". Acct.tamu.edu. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  5. ^ "John Napier and logarithms". Ualr.edu. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  6. ^ "The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh) - Public Interest: Dolly the Sheep". www.roslin.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  7. ^ "JCVI: First Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cell Constructed by J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers". jcvi.org. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  8. ^ Anderson, Gina (28 September 2015). "NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today's Mars". NASA. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  9. ^ Landau, Elizabeth; Chou, Felicia; Washington, Dewayne; Porter, Molly (16 October 2017). "NASA Missions Catch First Light from a Gravitational-Wave Event". NASA. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Neutron star discovery marks breakthrough for 'multi-messenger astronomy'". csmonitor.com. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Hubble makes milestone observation of gravitational-wave source". slashgear.com. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.

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