A Timeline of Science

By Tim Lambert

Early Science

494-434 BC Empedocles lives. He says the world is made of 4 elements, earth, fire, water, and air.

384-322 BC Aristotle lives. Many of his ideas are wrong but they dominate science for the next 2,000 years.

276-194 BC Eratosthenes lives. He measures the circumference of the Earth.

c 150 BC Aglaonike, a woman astronomer lives

130-210 AD The doctor Galen lives. His ideas about the human body dominated medicine for the next 1,500 years.

c 150 AD Ptolemy writes his book Almagest which states that the Sun and other planets orbit the Earth

1543 Copernicus publishes his theory that the Earth orbits the Sun

1572 Tycho Brahe observes a supernova

Science in the 17th century

1600 William Gilbert shows that the Earth is a magnet

1604 Johannes Kepler publishes a book on optics

1609 Kepler publishes 2 laws of planetary motion. Galileo observes the Heavens with a telescope

1619 Kepler publishes a 3rd law of planetary motion

1628 William Harvey publishes his discovery of how blood circulates around the body

1632 Galileo publishes Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

1634 Galileo publishes a book about mechanics called Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences

1643 Evangelista Torricelli invents the barometer

1650 Otto von Guericke invents an air pump

1658 Jan Swammerdann observes red blood corpuscles

1661 Robert Boyle publishes The Skeptical Chemist. Marcello Malpighi discovers capillaries

1662 The Royal Society is given a charter by Charles II

1665 Robert Hooke describes cells

1687 Isaac Newton publishes Principia Mathematica

Science in the 18th century

1704 Isaac Newton publishes a book about optics

1743-1794 French chemist Antoine Lavoisier lives

1746 Petrus van Musschenbroek invents the leyden jar

1751 Axel Cronstedt discovers nickel

1752 Thomas Francois Dalibard proves lightning is a form of electricity

1758 Carl Linnaeus publishes his work Systema Naturae classifying living things

1766 Henry Cavendish isolates hydrogen

1772 Daniel Rutherford discovers nitrogen

1774 Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen

1781 William Herschel discovers Uranus

1784 John Goodricke discovers variable stars

1785 James Hutton publishes Theory of the Earth

1798 Henry Cavendish measures the density of the Earth

Science in the 19th century

1800 Alessandro Volta invents the battery

1801 The first asteroid is discovered

1808 John Dalton publishes his atomic theory

1828 Friedrich Wohler produces urea

1830 Charles Lyell publishes Principles of Geology

1831 Michael Faraday invents the dynamo

1842 The word dinosaur is coined

1846 Neptune is discovered

1847 Axel Herman von Helmholtz formulates the law of the Conservation of Energy

1859 The Origin of Species is published by Charles Darwin

1866 Gregor Mendel discovers the law of hereditary

1873 James Clerk Maxwell shows that light is an electromagnetic wave

1895 X-rays are discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen

1896 Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity

1897 Joseph Thomson discovers the electron

1898 Marie Curie and Pierre Curie discover radium and polonium. Morris Travers and William Ramsay discover xenon.

Science in the 20th century

1900 Max Planck proposes the quantum theory

1905 Einstein publishes his theory of Special Relativity

1910 Ernest Rutherford discovers the atomic nucleus

1915 Einstein publishes his General Theory of Relativity

1926 Arthur Eddington suggests that stars are powered by nuclear fusion

1927 Werner Heisenberg publishes his uncertainty principle

1928 Alexander Fleming invents penicillin

1930 Pluto is discovered

1932 James Chadwick discovers the neutron

1937 The first radio telescope is built

1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discover the structure of DNA

1960 The laser is invented

1963 Quasars are discovered

1964 Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig suggest that quarks exist

1967 Pulsars are discovered

1990 The Hubble Space Telescope is launched

1995 The first exoplanet is discovered