Timeline of scientific discoveries

Timeline of scientific discoveries

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


* 17th century BC - Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa: first known Babylonian astronomical observations
* 8th century BC - "Aitareya Brahmana": heliocentrism
* 360s BC - Eudoxus of Cnidus: first Greek planetary models
* 350s BC - Heraclides: Earth's rotation
* 3rd century BC - Eratosthenes: measured the size of the earth and its distance to the sun and to the moon
* 150s BC - Seleucus of Seleucia: discovery of tides being caused by the moon

2nd century

* 150s Ptolemy: produced the geocentric model of the solar system

8th century

* Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s): expansion and contraction of universe; the discovery that every object in the universe is always in motion including objects which appear to be inanimate; the discovery that there are more than four chemical elements; discovery of atoms being made up of tiny particles with two opposite poles; discovery of materials which are solid and absorbent being opaque and materials which are solid and repellent being more or less transparent; and the discovery that opaque materials absorb heat
* Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan): beginning of chemistry and experimental method; discovery of hydrochloric, sulfuric, nitric and acetic acids; discovery of soda, potash, distilled water and pure alcohol (ethanol); the discovery that aqua regia, a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids, could dissolve metals such as gold; and discovery of liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation, filtration and sublimation

9th century

* Ja'far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir: discovery of the heavenly bodies and celestial spheres being subject to the same physical laws as the earth; and the existence of gravitation between heavenly bodies and within the celestial spheres (precursor to Newton's law of universal gravitation)
*Al-Kindi (Alkindus): refutation of the theory of the transmutation of metals; and the concept of relativity

10th century

* Muslim physicians: immune system
* Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes): refutation of Aristotelian classical elements and Galenic humorism; and discovery of measles and smallpox, and kerosene and distilled petroleum
*Ibn Sahl: Snell's law of refraction

11th century

* 1021 - Ibn al-Haytham's "Book of Optics": beginning of modern optics, scientific method and experimental physics; correct explanation of visual perception; invention of camera obscura and pinhole camera; foundations of telescopic astronomy; discovery of light rays travelling in straight lines and being made up of energy particles, Fermat's principle of least time, and vision being caused by light rays entering the eye; the rectilinear propagation, constituent colors and electromagnetic aspects of light; explanations of shadows, binocular vision, atmospheric refraction and the moon illusion; the relationship of the density of the atmosphere with altitude; and the finite speed of light
* 1020s - Avicenna's "The Canon of Medicine": beginning of experimental medicine; discovery of the contagious nature of infectious diseases, including phthisis, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease; and the discovery of mediastinitis and pleurisy, bacteria and viral organisms, and the distribution of disease through water and soil
* Ibn al-Haytham and Avicenna: law of inertia (Newton's first law of motion) and discovery of momentum (part of Newton's second law of motion)
*Ibn al-Haytham: attraction between masses and the magnitude of acceleration due to gravity at a distance
* Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī: beginning of experimental astronomy and experimental mechanics; discovery of the Milky Way galaxy being a collection of numerous nebulous stars; and the discovery that the solar apogee and the precession are not identical; the finite speed of light being much faster than the speed of sound; and the relationship between acceleration and non-uniform motion (part of Newton's second law of motion)
* Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel): elliptic orbits of the planets

12th century

*1121 - Al-Khazini: variation of gravitation and gravitational potential energy at a distance; differentiation between force, mass and weight; the decrease of air density with altitude; and the greater density of water when nearer to the Earth's centre
*Ibn Bajjah (Avempace): discovery of reaction (precursor to Newton's third law of motion)
*Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi (Nathanel): relationship between force and acceleration (fundamental law of classical mechanics and precursor to Newton's second law of motion)
*Averroes: relationship between force, work and kinetic energy
*Nur Ed-Din Al Betrugi (Alpetragius): self-luminosity of the planets

13th century

* 1220-1235 - Robert Grosseteste: rudimentals of the scientific method (see also: Roger Bacon)
* 1242 - Ibn al-Nafis: pulmonary circulation and circulatory system
* Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī: conservation of mass
* Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi and Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī: correct explanation of rainbow phenomenon

14th century

* Before 1327 - William of Ockham: Occam's Razor
* Ibn Khatima and Ibn al-Khatib: microorganisms

16th century

* 1543 - Copernicus: heliocentric model
* 1543 - Vesalius: pioneering research into human anatomy
* 1552 - Michael Servetus: early research into pulmonary circulation
* 1570s - Tycho Brahe: detailed astronomical observations
* 1600 - William Gilbert: Earth's magnetic field

17th century

* 1609 - Johannes Kepler: first two laws of planetary motion
* 1610 - Galileo Galilei: "Sidereus Nuncius": telescopic observations
* 1614 - John Napier: use of logarithms for calculation [http://www.ualr.edu/~lasmoller/napier.html]
* 1628 - William Harvey: Blood circulation
* 1637 - René Descartes: Scientific method
* 1643 - Evangelista Torricelli invents the mercury barometer
* 1662 - Robert Boyle: Boyle's law of ideal gas [http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/GasLaw/Gas-Boyle.html]
* 1665 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first peer reviewed scientific journal published.
* 1669 - Nicholas Steno: Proposes that fossils are organic remains embedded in layers of sediment, basis of stratigraphy
* 1675 - Leibniz, Newton: infinitesimal calculus
* 1676 - Ole Rømer: first measurement of the speed of light
* 1687 - Newton: Laws of motion, law of universal gravitation, basis for classical physics

18th century

* 1714 - Gabriel Fahrenheit invents the mercury thermometer
* 1745 - Ewald Jürgen Georg von Kleist first capacitor, the Leyden jar
* 1750 - Joseph Black: describes latent heat
* 1751 - Benjamin Franklin: Lightning is electrical
* 1778 - Antoine Lavoisier (and Joseph Priestley): discovery of oxygen leading to end of Phlogiston theory
* 1785 - William Withering: publishes the first definitive account of the use of foxglove (digitalis) for treating dropsy
* 1787 - Jacques Charles: Charles' law of ideal gas
* 1789 - Lavoisier: law of conservation of mass, basis for chemistry, and the beginning of modern chemistry
* 1796 - Georges Cuvier: Establishes extinction as a fact
* 1799 - William Smith: Publishes geologic map of England, first geologic map ever, first application of stratigraphy

19th century

* 1800 - Alessandro Volta described the electric battery
* 1802 - Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: teleological evolution
* 1805 - John Dalton: Atomic Theory in (Chemistry)
* 1824 - Carnot: described the Carnot cycle, the idealized heat engine
* 1827 - Georg Ohm: Ohm's law (Electricity)
* 1827 - Amedeo Avogadro: Avogadro's law (Gas laws)
* 1828 - Friedrich Wöhler synthesized urea, destroying vitalism
* 1833 - Anselme Payen isolates first enzyme, diastase
* 1838 - Matthias Schleiden: all plants are made of cells
* 1843 - James Prescott Joule: Law of Conservation of energy (First law of thermodynamics), also 1847 - Helmholtz, Conservation of energy
* 1846 - William Morton: discovery of anesthesia
* 1848 - Lord Kelvin: absolute zero of temperature
* 1858 - Rudolf Virchow: cells can only arise from pre-existing cells
* 1859 - Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace: Theory of evolution by natural selection
* 1865 - Gregor Mendel: Mendel's laws of inheritance, basis for genetics
* 1869 - Dmitri Mendeleev: Periodic table
* 1873 - James Clerk Maxwell: Theory of electromagnetism
* 1875 - William Crookes invented the Crookes tube and studied cathode rays
* 1876 - Josiah Willard Gibbs founded chemical thermodynamics, the phase rule
* 1877 - Ludwig Boltzmann: Statistical definition of entropy
* 1887 - Albert Michelson and Edward Morley: lack of evidence for the aether
* 1895 - Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays
* 1896 - Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
* 1897 - J.J. Thomson discovers the electron in cathode rays

20th century

* 1900 - Max Planck: Planck's law of black body radiation, basis for quantum theory
* 1905 - Albert Einstein: theory of special relativity, explanation of Brownian motion, and photoelectric effect
* 1906 - Walther Nernst: Third law of thermodynamics
* 1912 - Alfred Wegener: Continental drift
* 1912 - Max von Laue : x-ray diffraction
* 1913 - Henry Moseley: defined atomic number
* 1913 - Niels Bohr: Model of the atom
* 1915 - Albert Einstein: theory of general relativity - also David Hilbert
* 1915 - Karl Schwarzschild: discovery of the Schwarzschild radius leading to the identification of black holes
* 1918 - Emmy Noether: Noether's theorem - conditions under which the conservation laws are valid
* 1924 - Wolfgang Pauli: quantum Pauli exclusion principle
* 1925 - Erwin Schrödinger: Schrödinger equation (Quantum mechanics)
* 1927 - Werner Heisenberg: Uncertainty principle (Quantum mechanics)
* 1927 - Georges Lemaître: Theory of the Big Bang
* 1928 - Paul Dirac: Dirac equation (Quantum mechanics)
* 1929 - Edwin Hubble: Hubble's law of the expanding universe
* 1929 - Lars Onsager's reciprocal relations: also called Fourth law of thermodynamics
* 1943 - Oswald Avery proves that DNA is the genetic material of the chromosome
* 1947 - William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invent the first transistor
* 1948 - Claude Elwood Shannon: 'A mathematical theory of communication' a seminal paper in Information theory.
* 1951 - George Otto Gey propagates first cancer cell line, HeLa
* 1953 - Crick and Watson: helical structure of DNA, basis for molecular biology
* 1964 - Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig: postulate quarks leading to the standard model
* 1964 - Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson: detection of CMBR providing experimental evidence for the Big Bang
* 1965 - Richard Feynman: Quantum electrodynamics
* 1965 - Leonard Hayflick: normal cells divide only a certain number of times: the Hayflick limit
* 1967 - Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discover first pulsar
* 1984 - Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction, a key discovery in molecular biology
* 1995 - Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz definitively observe the first extrasolar planet around a main sequence star
* 1997 - Roslin Institute: Dolly the sheep was cloned.

21st century

* 2001 - The first draft of the human genome is completed.

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