Science Timeline

Thousands and thousands of important discoveries have taken place that make our work easier and make our world run as it does. from the wheel to the blade, to the rocket, we’re all here because of something that someone invented. This timeline of scientific discoveries will show you just a few of the things that we’ve learned over the centuries.

3.5 million years ago-The blade came into being. Originally crafted from bone, it helped us to eat and to defend ourselves.

2500 BCE– The wheel.

4th century BCE

4th century BCE – Mandragora (containing atropin) was described by Theophrastus in the fourth century B.C.E. for treatment of wounds, gout, and sleeplessness.

3rd century BCE

323–283 BCE – Euclid: wrote a series of 13 books on geometry called The Elements
280 BCE – Aristarchus of Samos: used a heliocentric, heliostatic model

2nd century BCE

150s BCE – Seleucus of Seleucia: discovery of tides being caused by the moon

2nd century

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

9th century

Al-Kindi (Alkindus): refuted the theory of the transmutation of metals

10th century

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (Rhazes): refutation of Aristotelian classical elements and Galenic humorism; and discovery of measles and smallpox, and kerosene and distilled petroleum
984 – Ibn Sahl accurately describes the optics which became known as Snell’s law of refraction

11th century

1021 – Ibn al-Haytham’s Book of Optics. First use of controlled experiments and reproducibility of its results.
1020s – Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine
1054 – Various early astronomers observe supernova (modern designation SN 1054), later correlated to the Crab Nebula.
Shen Kuo: Discovers the concepts of true north and magnetic declination. In addition, he develops the first theory of Geomorphology.

12th century

1121 – Al-Khazini: variation of gravitation and gravitational potential energy at a distance; the decrease of air density with altitude
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 (a vague foreshadowing of a fundamental law of classical mechanics and a precursor to Newton’s second law of motion)
Averroes: relationship between force, work and kinetic energy

13th century

1220–1235 – Robert Grosseteste: rudimentals of the scientific method
1242 – Ibn al-Nafis: pulmonary circulation and circulatory system
Theodoric of Freiberg: correct explanation of rainbow phenomenon
William of Saint-Cloud: pioneering use of camera obscura to view solar eclipses

14th century

Before 1327 – William of Ockham: Occam’s Razor
Oxford Calculators: the mean speed theorem
Jean Buridan: theory of impetus
Nicole Oresme: discovery of the curvature of light through atmospheric refraction

15th century

1494 – Luca Pacioli: first codification of the Double-entry bookkeeping system, which slowly developed in previous centuries

16th century

1543 – Nicolaus Copernicus: heliocentric model
1543 – Vesalius: pioneering research into human anatomy
1550 Microscope
1552 – Michael Servetus: early research in Europe 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
1619 – Johannes Kepler: third law of planetary motion
1628 – Willebrord Snellius: the law of refraction also known as Snell’s law
1628 – William Harvey: Blood circulation
1638 – Galileo Galilei: laws of falling body
1643 – Evangelista Torricelli invents the mercury barometer
1662 – Robert Boyle: Boyle’s law of ideal gas
1665 – Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first peer reviewed scientific journal published.
1665 – Robert Hooke: Discovers the Cell
1668 – Francesco Redi: disproved idea of spontaneous generation
1669 – Nicholas Steno: Proposes that fossils are organic remains embedded in layers of sediment, basis of stratigraphy
1669 – Jan Swammerdam: Epigenesis in insects
1672 – Sir Isaac Newton: discovers that white light is a spectrum of a mixture of distinct coloured rays
1673 – Christiaan Huygens: first study of oscillating system and design of pendulum clocks
1675 – Leibniz, Newton: Infinitesimal calculus
1675 – Anton van Leeuwenhoek: Observes Microorganisms by Microscope he invented
1676 – Ole Rømer: first measurement of the speed of light
1687 – Sir Isaac Newton: Classical Mathematical description of the fundamental force of universal gravitation and the three physical laws of motion

18th century

1745 – Ewald Jürgen Georg von Kleist first capacitor, the Leyden jar
1750 – Joseph Black: describes latent heat
1751 – Benjamin Franklin: Lightning is electrical
1761 – Mikhail Lomonosov: discovery of the atmosphere of Venus
1763 – Thomas Bayes: publishes the first version of Bayes’ theorem, paving the way for Bayesian probability
1771 – Charles Messier: Publishes catalogue of astronomical objects (Messier Objects) now known to include galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae.
1778 – Antoine Lavoisier (and Joseph Priestley): discovery of oxygen leading to end of Phlogiston theory
1781 – William Herschel announces discovery of Uranus, expanding the known boundaries of the solar system for the first time in modern history
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 – Antoine Lavoisier: law of conservation of mass, basis for chemistry, and the beginning of modern chemistry
1796 – Georges Cuvier: Establishes extinction as a fact
1796 – Edward Jenner: small pox historical accounting
1796 – Hanaoka Seishū: develops general anaesthesia
1800 – Alessandro Volta: discovers electrochemical series and invents the battery
1800 – William Herschel discovers infrared radiation.

19th century

1802 – Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: teleological evolution
1805 – John Dalton: Atomic Theory in (Chemistry)
1820 – Hans Christian Ørsted discovers that a current passed through a wire will deflect the needle of a compass, establishing a deep relationship between electricity and magnetism (electromagnetism).
1821 – Thomas Johann Seebeck is the first to observe a property of semiconductors.
1824 – Carnot: described the Carnot cycle, the idealized heat engine
1827 – Georg Ohm: Ohm’s law (Electricity)
1827 – Amedeo Avogadro: Avogadro’s law (Gas law)
1828 – Friedrich Wöhler synthesized urea, destroying vitalism
1830 – Nikolai Lobachevsky created Non-Euclidean geometry
1831 – Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction
1833 – Anselme Payen isolates first enzyme, diastase
1838 – Matthias Schleiden: all plants are made of cells
1838 – Friedrich Bessel: first successful measure of stellar parallax (to star 61 Cygni)
1842 – Christian Doppler: Doppler effect
1843 – James Prescott Joule: Law of Conservation of energy (First law of thermodynamics), also 1847 – Helmholtz, Conservation of energy
1846 – Johann Gottfried Galle and Heinrich Louis d’Arrest: discovery of Neptune
1848 – Lord Kelvin: absolute zero
1858 – Rudolf Virchow: cells can only arise from pre-existing cells
1859 – Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace: Theory of evolution by natural selection
1861 – Louis Pasteur: Germ theory
1864 – James Clerk Maxwell: Theory of electromagnetism
1865 – Gregor Mendel: Mendel’s laws of inheritance, basis for genetics
1865 – Rudolf Clausius: Definition of Entropy
1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev: Periodic table
1871 – Lord Rayleigh: Diffuse sky radiation (Rayleigh scattering) explains why sky appears blue
1873 – Johannes Diderik van der Waals: was one of the first to postulate an intermolecular force: the van der Waals force.
1873 – Frederick Guthrie discovers thermionic emission.
1873 – Willoughby Smith discovers photoconductivity.
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
1880 – Pierre Curie and Jacques Curie: Piezoelectricity
1884 – Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff: discovered the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions (in his work “Etudes de dynamique chimique”).
1887 – Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley: lack of evidence for the aether
1888 – Friedrich Reinitzer discovers liquid crystals.
1892 – Dmitri Ivanovsky discovers for the first time a virus
1895 – Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays
1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
1897 – J.J. Thomson discovers the electron in cathode rays
1898 – Martinus Beijerinck: concluded a virus infectious—replicating in the host—and thus not a mere toxin and gave it the name ‘virus
1898 – J.J. Thomson proposed the Plum pudding model of an atom
1898 – Marie Curie discovers polonium, radium, and coins the term “radioactivity”
1900 – Max Planck: Planck’s law of black body radiation, basis for quantum theory

20th century

1905 – Albert Einstein: theory of special relativity, explanation of Brownian motion, and photoelectric effect
1906 – Walther Nernst: Third law of thermodynamics
1907 – Alfred Bertheim: Arsphenamine, the first modern chemotherapeutic agent
1909 – Fritz Haber: Haber Process for industrial production of ammonia
1909 – Robert Andrews Millikan: conducts the oil drop experiment and determines the charge on an electron
1911 – Ernest Rutherford: Atomic nucleus
1911 – Heike Kamerlingh Onnes: Superconductivity
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
1920 – Arthur Eddington: Stellar nucleosynthesis
1922 – Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip, John Macleod: isolation and production of insulin to control diabetes
1924 – Wolfgang Pauli: quantum Pauli exclusion principle
1924 – Edwin Hubble: the discovery that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies
1925 – Erwin Schrödinger: Schrödinger equation (Quantum mechanics)
1925 – Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: Discovery of the composition of the Sun and that Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe
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
1928 – Alexander Fleming: Penicillin, the first beta-lactam antibiotic
1929 – Lars Onsager’s reciprocal relations, a potential fourth law of thermodynamics
1932 – James Chadwick: Discovery of the neutron
1934 – Clive McCay: Calorie restriction extends the maximum lifespan of another species
1934 – Curie and Joliot discover artificial radioactivity
1938 – Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann: Nuclear fission
1938 – Isidor Rabi: Nuclear magnetic resonance
1942 – Enrico Fermi creates first atomic pile and the first controlled nuclear chain reaction on a squash court beneath Chicago’s stadium.
1943 – Oswald Avery proves that DNA is the genetic material of the chromosome
1945 – Howard Florey Mass production of penicillin
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.
1948 – Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and Freeman Dyson: Quantum electrodynamics
1951 – George Otto Gey propagates first cancer cell line, HeLa
1952 – Jonas Salk: developed and tested first polio vaccine
1953 – Crick and Watson: helical structure of DNA, basis for molecular biology
1963 – Lawrence Morley, Fred Vine, and Drummond Matthews: Paleomagnetic stripes in ocean crust as evidence of plate tectonics (Vine-Matthews-Morley hypothesis).
1964 – Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig: postulates quarks leading to the standard model
1964 – Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson: detection of CMBR providing experimental evidence for the Big Bang
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
1983 – Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction, a key discovery in molecular biology.
1986 – Karl Müller and Johannes Bednorz: Discovery of High-temperature superconductivity
1994 – Andrew Wiles proves Fermat’s Last Theorem
1995 – Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz definitively observe the first extrasolar planet around a main sequence star
1995 – Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle attained the first Bose-Einstein Condensate with atomic gases, so called fifth state of matter at an extremely low temperature.
1997 – Roslin Institute: Dolly the sheep was cloned.
1997 – CDF and DØ experiments at Fermilab: Top quark.
1998 – Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team: discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe / Dark Energy.
2000 – The Tau neutrino is discovered by the DONUT collaboration

21st century

2001 – The first draft of the Human Genome Project is published.
2003 – Grigori Perelman presents proof of the Poincaré Conjecture.
2006 – Shinya Yamanaka generates first induced pluripotent stem cells
2010 – J. Craig Venter Institute creates the first synthetic genome for a bacterial cell.[6]
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.
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 – Kepler 438b discovered to have similar Earth-like properties
2015 – Traces of liquid water discovered on Mars
2016 – The LIGO team detected gravitational waves from a black hole merger.
2016 – Potentially habitable exoplanet Proxima B discovered around Proxima Centauri.

Some parts of the science timeline created by