Timeline of Science and Technology

NOTE: Many of the dates given below are approximate and some are the subject of intense scientific debate.

13.8 billion years ago (bya)

  • The life of this universe begins with the Big Bang.

big-bang

13.6 bya

  • Stars begin to form.

13.1 bya

  • Galaxies begin to form.

4.6 bya

  • Our sun is born and our solar system forms.

4.54 bya

  • Earth is formed.

4.53 bya

  • Earth acquires a satellite (the moon), possibly by collision with another planet.
An illustration of the impact theory of lunar formation.

An illustration of the impact theory of lunar formation.

4.4 bya

  • The oldest rock ever found is made at this time (Australia).

3.8 bya

  • Single-celled Prokaryotes, the first life forms, appear on Earth.

3.5 bya

  • Bacteria and Archaea diverge, following separate evolutionary paths.

3.4 bya

  • First photosynthetic bacteria, which absorb near-infrared light and emit sulfur.

3.26 bya

  • An asteroid measuring 36 miles across slams into the African continent.

3 bya

  • The first cyanobacteria to use visible light for photosynthesis begin releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Fossilized stromatolites composed of layers of cyanobacteria, from the Lower Proterozoic Era between 2.5 and 1.6 bya.

Fossilized stromatolites composed of layers of cyanobacteria, from the Lower Proterozoic Era between 2.5 and 1.6 bya.

2.5 bya

  • The mechanisms of plate tectonics may begin about this time.

2.4 bya

  • The Huronian glaciation period begins.

2.3 bya

  • The Great Oxygenation Event: Earth’s atmosphere is now oxygen-rich, leading to extinction of many anaerobic life forms and reduction of greenhouse gases.

2.1 bya

  • First eukaryotic cells with nuclei may appear about this time.
  • Huronian glaciation period ends.

2 bya

  • The first aerobic bacteria, which process oxygen through respiration, appear.

1.5 bya

  • About this time, eukaryotic cells develop a symbiotic relationship with aerobic bacteria, leading to the mitochondria organelles in all eukaryote cells.

1.2 bya

  • Eukaryotic single-celled organisms begin reproducing sexually, accelerating the pace of evolution.
  • The continents form supercontinent Rodinia.
The supercontinent Rodinia as it appeared about 1.1 bya.

The supercontinent Rodinia as it appeared about 1.1 bya.

1.0 bya

  • The first multi-celled organisms appear.
  • About this time, some eukaryotic cells develop a symbiotic relationship with cyanobacteria, leading to the chloroplast organelle in algae and plants.

750 million years ago (mya)

  • The Sturtian glaciation period begins.

700 mya

  • The first sponges appear.
  • The Sturtian glaciation period ends.

650 mya

  • The Marinoan glaciation period begins.

635 mya

  • The Marinoan glaciation period ends.

600 mya

  • The ozone layer forms.

560 mya

  • Earliest evidence of fungi.

550 mya

  • The flatworm, the first organism with a brain and bilateral symmetry, appears.
The contemporary flatworm Pseudoceros bifurcus, a member of the Turbellaria, which are free living marine flatworms and are the most like their ancient ancestors. Photo by Stephen Childs.

The first flatworms were free-living marine animals like contemporary flatworm Pseudoceros bifurcus. Photo by Stephen Childs.

542 mya

  • The Cambrian explosion, in which most major animal phyla appear, begins.
  • Supercontinent Gondwana forms.

530 mya

  • Pikaia, the first chordate, appears in the fossil record.
An artist's imagining of Pikaia swimming through Cambrian seas.

An artist’s imagining of Pikaia.

505 mya

  • The ostracoderms (jawless fish), the first vertebrates, appear in the fossil record.
An artist's imagining of the primitive ostracoderm Pterapsis.

An artist’s imagining of the primitive armored ostracoderm Pterapsis.

475 mya

  • Plants begin to colonize land habitats.

460 mya

  • The Andean-Saharan glaciation period begins.

450 mya

  • Invertebrates emerge onto the land.

444 mya

  • A mass extinction occurs at the end of the Ordovician Period.

430 mya

  • The first jawed fishes, the placoderms, appear in the fossil record.
An artist's imagining of the early placoderm Entelognathus primordialis, with a photo of its fossil skull.

An artist’s imagining of the early placoderm Entelognathus primordialis, with a photo of its fossil skull.

  • The Andean-Saharan glaciation period ends.

423 mya

  • The first vascular plants appear.

390 mya

  • First tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) appear in the fossil record.

374 mya

  • A mass extinction event occurs.

365 mya

  • Acanthostega, a tetrapod with characteristics of both fish and amphibians, appears.
An artist's imagining of Acanthostega.

An artist’s imagining of Acanthostega.

360 mya

  • The Karoo Ice Age begins.

359  mya

  • The first true amphibians appear in the fossil record.

315 mya

  • Hylonomous lyelli, the first known reptile, appears and leaves footprints in New Brunswick (Canada).
An artist's imagining of Hylonomus.

An artist’s imagining of Hylonomus.

299 mya

  • A mass extinction occurs at the end of the Carboniferous Period.

260 mya

  • The Karoo Ice Age ends.

252 mya

  • The largest mass extinction in history, at the end of the Permian Period, eliminates 90% of marine species, 70% of terrestrial vertebrates and over 50% of land plant species.

250 mya

  • The continents are joined together into one land mass, Pangaea.

243 mya

  • Nyasasaurus, the first known dinosaur, appears.
An artist's imagining of Nyasasaurus.

An artist’s imagining of Nyasasaurus.

220 mya

  • The first true mammals appear in the fossil record.

200 mya

  • Mass extinction event, in which 75% of species go extinct, but dinosaurs survive.

160 mya

  • The first known placental mammal, Juramaia sinensis, appears in the fossil record.
An artist's imagining of Juramia sinensis.

An artist’s imagining of Juramia sinensis.

150 mya

  • Archaeopteryx, the first bird, appears.
This Archaeopteryx fossil clearly shows its feathers.

Feathers are clearly visible in this fossil of Archaeopteryx.

130 mya

  • The first flowering plants appear.

100 mya

  • First evidence of bees.

65 mya

  • Mass extinction event, probably caused by asteroid impact, wipes out 75% of species, including all non-avian dinosaurs.
  • First primates appear in the fossil record.

6.5 mya

  • Sahelanthropus tchadensis, possibly an early human ancestor and possibly bipedal, appears in Africa (Chad).
Scientists have reconstructed what Sahelanthropus tchadensis may have looked like.

A reconstruction of what Sahelanthropus tchadensis may have looked like.

6.0 mya

  • Early hominid Orrorin tugenensis, probably bipedal, appears in Africa (Kenya).

4.4 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Ardipithecus ramidus appears in Africa (Ethiopia).

3.85 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus afarensis appears in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania).
A reconstruction of "Lucy", the first Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered, from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A reconstruction of the young female Australopithecus afarensis fossil skeleton nicknamed “Lucy”, in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

3.3 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus africanus appears in Africa (South Africa).

2.95 mya

  • Australopithecus afarensis becomes extinct about this time.

2.7 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Paranthropus aethiopicus appears in Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia).

2.6 mya

  • Ancestors of modern humans (possibly Australopithecus gahri or Paranathropus aethiopicus) make the first stone tools (Oldowan-type) (Ethiopia).

A stone tool from the Olduvan period.

  • The Quarternary glaciation period begins.

2.3 mya

  • Homo habilis, first member of genus Homo, first appears in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania).
  • Paranthropus aethiopicus becomes extinct about this time.

2.1 mya

  • Australopithecus africanus becomes extinct about this time.

2 mya

  • First hominids (possibly Homo erectus) may begin to migrate out of Africa at this time.

1.9 mya

  • First appearance of Homo ergaster about this time (Kenya).

1.85 mya

  • Earliest fossil evidence of hominids (probably Homo erectus) outside Africa, from Dmanisi, Georgia.
Computer-reconstructed images of five hominid skulls from Dmanis, showing wide variation.

Computer-reconstructed images of five hominid skulls from Dmanisi, showing wide variation.

1.7 mya

  • Hominids begin to make Acheulean-type hand axes and stone tools carved on both sides (Kenya).
  • Earliest evidence of hominids in China (probably Homo erectus).

1.5 mya

  • Earliest evidence of control of fire, by Homo erectus, at Koobi Fora (Kenya).

1.4 mya

  • Homo habilis becomes extinct about this time.

1.3 mya

  • Homo heidelbergensis, direct ancestor of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis, may first appear about this time (Zambia).
An artist's depiction of Homo heidelbergensis.

An artist’s depiction of Homo heidelbergensis.

600,000 BCE

  • Homo heidelbergensis starts out-of-Africa migrations.

400,000 BCE

  • Hominids master the controlled use of fire by this date.

300,000 BCE

  • Hominids are making sharp knife-like tools and scrapers.
  • Spoken language may begin about this time.

250,000 BCE

  • Hearths appear in settlements, indicating that hominids are cooking food.
  • Homo neanderthalensis first appears in Eurasia at about this time.

200,000 BCE

  • Homo heidelbergensis becomes extinct.

195,000 BCE

  • First evidence of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) (Ethiopia).
A display from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History comparing Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis skulls.

A display from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History comparing Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis skulls.

143,000 BCE

  • Homo erectus becomes extinct about this time.

125,000 BCE

  • Homo sapiens begins migrating out of Africa to Eurasia.

55,000 BCE

  • About this time, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens may be interbreeding in western Asia.

44,000 BCE

  • By this date, Homo sapiens has reached Australia.

43,000 BCE

  • Human tool-makers are creating many sharp blades.
  • Homo sapiens arrives in Europe around this time.

38,000 BCE

  • The Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel is carved from a mammoth tusk by a member of the Upper Paleolithic Aurignacian culture (Germany).
  • By this date, Homo neanderthalensis is probably extinct.

33,000 BCE

  • First evidence of the domestication of the dog (Russia).
Archaeologists discovered the remains of this dog buried with a mammoth bone in its mouth at a human settlement in the Czech Republic that dates to 22,000-25,000 BCE.

Archaeologists discovered the remains of a dog buried with a mammoth bone in its mouth at a settlement in the Czech Republic that dates to 22,000-25,000 BCE.

30,000 BCE

  • The Chauvet Cave paintings are made about this time (France).
  • First evidence of hand woven cloth, made from flax fibers (Georgia).

28,000 BCE

  • The Venus of Willendorf figurine is made by a member of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture (Austria).

24,000 BCE

  • A member of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture creates the Venus of Brassempouy figurine (France).

23,000 BCE

  • A member of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture carves the Venus of Laussel (France).
  • The Venus of Kostenki figurine is made by a member of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture. (Ukraine).
The Venus of Kostenki figurine.

The Venus of Kostenki figurine.

20,000 BCE

  • Earliest known pottery vessels (China).

18,000 BCE

  • Possible start of human migration into North America across the Bering Land Bridge.

15,000 BCE

  • First composite tools, such as blades fastened to a stone or wooden shaft.
  • Paintings in Lascaux Caves (France).

13,000 BCE

  • Altamira Cave paintings (Spain).
A painted bison from Altamira Cave.

A painted bison from Altamira Cave.

11,000 BCE

  • Agriculture begins; humans start to domesticate edible plants (Syria, Greece).
  • Domestication of sheep in Southwest Asia.

9600 BCE

  • Founding of permanent settlement at Jericho (Palestine).

9400 BCE

  • Humans are cultivating emmer and einkorn wheat, barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax at various locations in the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and southern Turkey).
  • Settlement at Jericho now has 70 dwellings, a stone wall and a tower (Palestine).
A view of the remains of the earliest wall/tower at jericho.

A view of the remains of the earliest wall/tower at Jericho.

9000 BCE

  • Oldest existing wooden bows (Denmark).
  • Domestication of pigs (Near East, China and Germany).
  • By this date, 135 species of New World mammals that were present before humans arrived are now extinct.

8820 BCE

  • A settlement begins at Amesbury, which has been continuously inhabited since (England, UK).

8700 BCE

  • First evidence of metalworking, using copper (Mesopotamia).

8000 BCE

  • Domestication of cattle (North Africa, India and Mesopotamia).
  • Domestication of goats (Iran).
  • Domestication of squash (Mexico).

7500 BCE

  • Domestication of cats (Cyprus and the Near East).

7000 BCE

  • Weaving using looms is established by this time.
  • Between 5,000 and 7,000 people are living in the settlement at Çatal Hüyük (Turkey).

6000 BCE

  • Earliest evidence of winemaking (Georgia).
  • Domestication of chickens (India and Southeast Asia).
  • Domestication of llamas (Peru).
  • A fortified settlement is established at Erbil in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).
  • Seated Woman of Çatal Hüyük figurine (Turkey).
Seated Woman of Çatal Hüyük.

Seated Woman of Çatal Hüyük (head and right arm rest are restorations).

5500 BCE

  • First evidence of sailing boats (Kuwait).
  • First evidence of field systems and stone walls (Ireland).

5000 BCE

  • Invention of the ard plow (Mesopotamia, Indus Valley).
  • Oldest traces of beer brewing (Iran).
  • Oldest evidence of rowing oars (China).
  • Permanent settlement founded at Argos (Greece).
  • Domestication of maize (Mexico).
  • Rice and sorghum domesticated in Africa’s Sahel region.
  • The Thinker of Cernavoda figurine is made by a member of the Hamangia culture (Romania).

4500 BCE

  • First evidence of bronze, made with copper and tin (Serbia).
A bronze figurine from Syria, dating to about 3000 BCE.

A bronze figurine from Syria, dating to about 3000 BCE.

4400 BCE

  • The two-beamed horizontal loom is invented (Egypt).

4000 BCE

  • The first wheeled vehicles appear (Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, Northern Caucasus).
  • Domestication of the horse (Ukraine, Kazakhstan).

3500 BCE

  • The potter’s wheel is invented (Mesopotamia, Indus Valley).
  • The first glassmaking takes place (Mesopotamia, Egypt).

3400 BCE

  • First forged bronze nails (Egypt).

3200 BCE

  • First writing systems appear: Mesopotamia (cuneiform), Egypt (hieroglyphics) and Indus Valley (Indus Script).
This is an example of Sumerian cuneiform script in about 2600 BCE.

A Sumerian cuneiform tablet from about 2600 BCE.

  • Sumerians are using square-rigged sailboats.

3000 BCE

  • First evidence of ox-drawn plows (Egypt).
  • Smelting of iron ore to make wrought iron begins (Middle East).

2800 BCE

  • First evidence of soapmaking and use (Mesopotamia).

2700 BCE

  • The Sumerians invent the first abacus counting machine.

2600 BCE

  • Building of the Great Pyramids of Giza begins about this time (Egypt).
  • Dwellings in Indus Valley Civilization cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa have flush toilets connected to a sophisticated sewage system.
  • Construction of largest stone circle at Stonehenge begins (England).
Stonehenge from the air.

Stonehenge from the air.

2532 BCE

  • The Great Sphinx of Giza is completed (Egypt).

2400 BCE

  • Earliest surviving parchment documents, made of leather (Egypt).

2300 BCE

  • Invention of the iron plow (China).

2000 BCE

  • Oldest known steel artifact (Turkey).
  • First wooden pin lock (Egypt).
  • Spoke-wheeled chariots appear (Russia; Kazakhstan).
  • Work begins on Karnak Temple Complex (Luxor, Egypt).
A view of the Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt.

A portion of the Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt.

1800 BCE

  • Earliest known use of concrete for building.

1730 BCE

  • Glassmaking begins in South Asian cultures.

1500 BCE

  • Hindu text the Rig Veda states that the Earth is a sphere (India).

1400 BCE

  • The Ugarits invent the first alphabet (Syria).

1050 BCE

  • The Phoenician alphabet – the basis for most later alphabets – is established (Lebanon, Syria).

1000 BCE

  • Solomon’s Temple is built in Jerusalem at about this time (Israel).

900 BCE

  • The Olmecs carve 62 glyphs on the Cascajal Block, possible evidence of a writing system (Mexico).
The Cascajal Block (left) and a graphic depiction of the signs carved on it.

The Cascajal Block (left) and a graphic depiction of the signs carved on it.

700 BCE

  • First lock and key that requires a keyhole (Greece).
  • The first umbrellas are used to provide shade from the sun (Assyria).
  • Archimedes’ Screw is invented (Greece).

600 BCE

  • The crossbow is invented (China).

570 BCE

  • Pythagoras is born in Samos, Greece.

500 BCE

  • The Jains propose that all matter is made of tiny particles (atomism) (India).
  • Temples at Paestum completed (Italy).
  • Invention of the moldboard plow (China).
  • Method for making cast iron discovered (China).
  • Hippocrates is born in Kos, Greece.

495 BCE

  • Pythagoras dies.

460 BCE

  • Democritus is born in Abdera, Greece.

440 BCE

  • Leucippus and Democritus independently develop the theory of atomism (Greece).

432 BCE

  • The Parthenon is built on the Acropolis in Athens (Greece).
Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.

The Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.

425 BCE

  • Invention of the catapult (Greece).

405 BCE

  • The Erechtheion is built on the Acropolis in Athens (Greece).

384 BCE

  • Aristotle is born in Chalkidiki, Greece.

370 BCE

  • Hippocrates dies.
  • Democritus dies.

335 BCE

  • Aristotle’s Physics (Greece).
This marble bust of Aristotle is a Roman copy of a Greek bronze original by Lysippos, c. 330 BCE. The alabaster mantle is modern.

This marble bust of Aristotle is a Roman copy of a bronze Greek original by Lysippos, c. 330 BCE. The alabaster mantle is more recent.

322 BCE

  • Aristotle dies.

300 BCE

  • Euclid publishes his Elements (Egypt).
  • First known watermill (Greece).

287 BCE

  • Archimedes is born in Syracuse, Italy.

285 BCE

  • First true lock built in the Canal of the Pharoahs between the Nile and the Red Sea (Egypt).

250 BCE

  • About this time, Archimedes publishes On the Equilibrium of Planes (explaining the law of the lever), On the Measurement of a Circle (estimating pi), and On Floating Bodies (explaining the principle of buoyancy) (Italy).
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus is completed (Turkey).

240 BCE

  • Experiments by Eratosthenes prove that the Earth is curved, not flat (Egypt).
A diagram of Eratosthenes' measurements of the Earth's circumference.

A diagram of Eratosthenes’ measurements of the Earth’s circumference.

212 BCE

  • Archimedes dies.

204 BCE

  • The original Great Wall of China is completed.

200 BCE

  • Invention of paper (China).
  • Invention of the treed saddle (China).
  • Apollonius of Perga publishes On Conic Sections (Greece).
  • City of Petra founded (Jordan).

190 BCE

  • Hipparchus of Nicaea is born in Iznik, Turkey.

150 BCE

  • The Antikythera Mechanism, which predicts the movements of celestial bodies, is invented (Greece).
The remains of the antikythera mechanism, which was discovered in the waters off the island of Antikythera in

The remains of the Antikythera Mechanism, which was discovered in 1900 by Greek sponge divers.

  • Hipparchus of Nicaea invents the astrolabe (Greece).

120 BCE

  • Hipparchus of Nicaea dies.

100 BCE

  • The Romans invent the warded lock (Italy).
  • The Aztecs complete construction of Teotihuacan (Mexico).
  • Glassblowing invented on the Mediterranean coast (Syria, Lebanon, Israel).

57 BCE

  • The Temple of Horus at Edfu is completed (Egypt).

50 BCE

  • Lucretius publishes On the Nature of Things (Italy).
  • The Romans build the aqueduct of Segovia (Spain).
The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

45 BCE

  • Sosigenes of Alexandria develops a 365-day, 12-month calendar with leap years, which Roman Emperor Julius Caesar adopts as the Julian Calendar (Egypt, Italy).

77 CE

  • First evidence of metal-backed glass mirrors (Lebanon).

79 CE

  • Mt. Vesuvius volcano erupts, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum (Italy).
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius killed the population of Pompeii and then buried them in ash, preserving their bodies.

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius killed the population of Pompeii and then buried them in ash, allowing excavators to create plaster casts of their bodies in the exact positions they held at death.

80 CE

  • The Roman Colosseum is built (Italy).

90 CE

  • Claudius Ptolemy is born in Alexandria, Egypt.

100 CE

  • First glass windows (Egypt).
  • The wheelbarrow is invented (China).

126 CE

  • The Pantheon is built in Rome (Italy).
A temple for Roman gods, the Pantheon survived because it was converted to a Christian church.

A temple for Roman gods, the Pantheon survived destruction because it was converted to a Christian church.

129 CE

  • Galen is born in Pergamon, Turkey.

150 CE

  • The Almagest, by Claudius Ptolemy (Egypt).

168 CE

  • Claudius Ptolemy dies.

170 CE

  • On the Natural Faculties, by Galen (Rome, Italy).

185 CE

  • Chinese astronomers observe a supernova.

200 CE

  • The Mayan city of Tikal becomes a regional power (Guatemala).

206 CE

  • Porcelain ceramics invented (China).
  • The magnetic compass invented (China).
The first Chinese compasses used a spoon on a flat board. It is not clear if this image shows an actual Han Dynasty compass or a reproduction.

The first Chinese compasses used a spoon on a flat board. It is not clear if this image shows an actual Han Dynasty compass or a reproduction.

216 CE

  • Galen dies.

322 CE

  • The first evidence of metal stirrups (China).

450 CE

  • The horse collar is invented (China).

500 CE

  • The Mayans invent paper (called amate or amatl) using tree bark (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador).

526

  • Earthquake in Antioch kills 250,00-300,000 people (Turkey, Syria).

537 CE

  • The Hagia Sophia is built in Constantinople (Turkey).
The Hagia Sophia.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

547 CE

  • The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is completed (Italy).

589 CE

  • Earliest reference to use of toilet paper (China).

600 CE

  • Brahmagupta shows that zero is a number with a value and not just a placeholder (India).
  • The modern Hindu-Arabic numeral system is developed (India).
  • First use of paper money (China).

607 CE

  • The original Horyu-ji Temple is constructed in Ikarauga (Japan).
The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple. The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world.

The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple. The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world.

619 CE

  • The toothbrush is invented (China).

691 CE

  • Muslims build the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

700 CE

  • Building of major pyramids at Tikal begins at about this time (Guatemala).
A panoramic view of Tikal and its pyramids.

A panoramic view of Tikal and its pyramids.

750 CE

  • The pit-treadle loom is in use in Syria, Iran and East Africa.

780 CE

  • Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmi is born in Khwarezm (Uzbekhistan).

800 CE

  • First horizontal windmills used to mill grain in Persia (Iran).
  • Gunpowder is invented (China).

813 CE

  • Original construction of Aachen Cathedral completed (Germany).
Aachen Cathedral.

Aachen Cathedral.

820 CE

  • Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī’s The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing establishes algebra as a separate discipline (Iraq).

825 CE

  • The Borobudur Temple is built on the island of Java (Indonesia).

850 CE

  • Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmi dies.

851 CE

  • The Great Mosque of Samarra completed (Iraq).

868 CE

  • Playing cards are invented (China).

900 CE

  • The fire lance, precursor to modern firearms, is invented (China).
This Chinese Buddhist illustration depicts a demon using a fire lance (upper right). The date is disputed - either 10th or 12th Century.

This 10th or 12th Century CE Buddhist illustration from China depicts a demon using a fire lance (upper right).

976 CE

  • Zhang Sixun replaces the water in his water clock with mercury (China).

980 CE

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) is born in Afshona, Uzbekistan.

984 CE

  • Ibn Sahl announces his discovery of the law of refraction in On Burning Mirrors and Lenses (Iraq).
  • Qiao Weiyou designs the first pound lock (China).

987 CE

  • The Great Mosque of Córdoba is completed (Spain).

1000

  • The people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) begin carving giant Moai statues (Chile).
Most of the Moai stood on platforms and faced inland.

Most of the Moai stood on platforms and faced inland.

  • The Taos Pueblo is established (New Mexico, US).

1006

  • Chinese and Islamic astronomers observe a supernova.

1021

  • Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) publishes the Book of Optics (Egypt).
  • Su Song is born near Quanzhou, China.

1025

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) publishes The Canon of Medicine (Iran).
Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna.

Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna.

1027

  • The Book of Healing, by Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (Iran).

1037

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) dies.

1040

  • Bi Sheng invents movable type printing using first wood, then ceramic characters (China).

1050

  • Shao Yong publishes Huangji Jingshi (Book of Supreme World Ordering Principles) (China).

1054

  • A widely-seen supernova forms the Crab Nebula.
The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova.

The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a 1054 supernova.

1088

  • Su Song begins constructing a 40-foot-tall water-powered astronomical clock tower (Kaifeng, China).

1090

  • Original construction of Westminster Abbey completed (London, UK).

1094

  • St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice is constructed (Italy).

1100

  • The White Tower, the original Tower of London, is completed (London, UK).
The White Tower, the original Tower of London.

The White Tower, the original Tower of London.

1101

  • Su Song dies.

1138

  • An earthquake in Aleppo, Syria kills 230,000 people.

1150

  • The Khajuraho temple complex, including Kandariya Temple, is completed (India).
  • Angkor Wat construction is completed (Cambodia).
A view of the massive complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

A view of Angkor Wat temple complex.

1170

  • The Kurds build the original Krak des Chevaliers (Syria).

1176 

  • First clock using falling weights (France).

1191

  • Earliest known vertical post mill windmill (England).

1200

  • First evidence of buttons used to fasten clothing (Germany).
  • The hand cannon, the simplest firearm, is invented about this time (China).
A gunpowder-charged Chinese hand cannon, gunpowder-charged hand cannon from the 14th Century, during the Yuan Dynasty.

A gunpowder-charged Chinese hand cannon from the 14th Century, during the Yuan Dynasty.

1219

  • Roger Bacon is born in Somerset, England.

1232

  • First recorded use of rockets as weapons (China).

1248

  • Sainte-Chapelle is built in Paris (France).

1250

  • Castel del Monte is constructed in Apulia (Italy).

1260

  • Original construction of Chartres Cathedral is completed (France).
Monet painted Chartres Cathedral in many different lights.

Chartres Cathedral.

1267

  • Roger Bacon publishes Opus Majus (England).

1280

  • Original construction of Durham Cathedral is completed (UK).

1286

  • Eyeglasses with convex lenses are invented (Italy).

1294

  • Roger Bacon dies.

1307

  • Theodoric of Freiberg provides a scientific explanation of rainbows (Germany).

1320

  • William of Ockham publishes Commentaries on Peter Lombard’s Sentences (England).

1333

  • Completion of initial phase of building at the Kremlin in Moscow (Russia).
  • Original construction at Himeji Castle finished (Japan).
Himeji Castle is a famous Japanese landmark.

Himeji Castle.

1345

  • Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is completed (France).

1346

  • The Black Death (bubonic plague) arrives in Europe.  Between 1346 and 1352, the plague will kill an estimated 30-60% of the population.

1372

  • The Campanile of the Pisa Cathedral (Leaning Tower of Pisa) is completed (Italy).

1391

  • Major construction of the Alhambra completed (Granada, Spain).
A view of the Alhambra.

A view of the Alhambra.

1398

  • Johannes Gutenberg is born in Mainz, Germany.

1420

  • Building of the Forbidden City is completed (Beijing, China).

1436

  • Florence Cathedral (The Duomo) is completed (Italy).

1442

  • The Doge’s Palace is completed in Venice (Italy).

1450

  • Johannes Gutenberg independently invents movable type printing with metal type and the first modern printing press (Germany).
  • The first evidence of screwdrivers (France and Germany).
  • Nicholas of Cusa invents eyeglasses with concave lenses for myopia (Germany).
  • The Incas build Machu Picchu (Peru).
The ruins of Machu Picchu lie nestled in the high Peruvian Andes.

The ruins of Machu Picchu are nestled high in the Peruvian Andes.

1452

  • Leonardo da Vinci is born in Vinci, Italy.

1468

  • Johannes Gutenberg dies.

1470

  • Leonardo da Vinci designs the first parachute (Italy).

1473

  • Cologne Cathedral is completed (Germany).
  • Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Toruń, Poland.

1492

  • Christopher Columbus crosses the Atlantic Ocean, lands in the West Indies and claims them for Spain (The Bahamas).

1494

  • Luca Pacioli codifies the system of double-entry bookkeeping (Italy).
A 1496 portrait of Fra Luca Pacioli, attributed to Jacopo de Barbari.

A 1496 portrait of Fra Luca Pacioli, attributed to Jacopo de Barbari.

1498

  • Vasco de Gama becomes the first European to travel from Europe to India by sea (Portugal).

1514

  • Andreas Vesalius is born in Brussels, Belgium.

1519

  • Leonardo da Vinci dies.

1522

  • A Spanish expedition led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan completes the first circumnavigation of the globe (Spain, Portugal).
Caption.

After Ferdinand Magellan is killed in the Philippines, Juan Sebastian Elcano completes the circumnavigation.

1543

  • Nicolaus Copernicus publishes On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres (Poland).
  • Andreas Vesalius publishes On the Fabric of the Human Body (Belgium).
  • Copernicus dies.

1544

  • William Gilbert is born in Colchester, England.

1546

  • Tycho Brahe is born in Scania, Denmark (now Sweden).

1547

  • Château de Chambord built (France).

1550

  • John Napier is born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

1556

  • The Shaanxi earthquake, measuring an estimated 8.0 on the Richter scale, kills 830,000 people (China).

1560

  • Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti invent the first graphite pencil (Italy).

1561

  • St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow is built (Russia).
The onion domes of St. Basil appear to have no precedent in architecture.

The onion domes of St. Basil have no known precedent in architecture.

  • Francis Bacon is born in London, England.

1564

  • Galileo Galilei is born in Pisa, Italy.
  • Andreas Vesalius dies.

1571

  • Johannes Kepler is born in Weil der Stadt, Germany.

1572

  • Tycho Brahe observes a supernova in Cassiopeia.
Tycho Brahe.

Tycho Brahe.

1574

  • Selimiye Mosque erected in Edirne (Turkey).

1578

  • William Harvey is born in Folkestone, England.

1582

  • Pope Gregory adopts the Gregorian calendar, which corrects the errors of the Julian calendar (Italy).

1584

  • Giordano Bruno proposes that the universe is infinite and the sun is one of an infinite number of stars, many of which have their own planets (Italy).
  • El Escorial is completed (Spain).

1585

  • The planned city of Fatehpur Sikri is completed (India).
A view of the planned city of Fatehpur Sikri.

A panoramic view of the planned city of Fatehpur Sikri.

1590

  • Galileo Galilei experimentally determines the law of falling bodies (Italy)
  • Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen make the first compound optical microscope (The Netherlands).

1596

  • René Descartes is born in Indre-et-Loire, France.

1600

  • William Gilbert publishes De Magnete, which proposes that the Earth is a giant magnet with its own magnetic field (England).
  • Gilbert conducts the first experiments with electricity (England).

William Gllbert Demonstrates His Experiment on Electricity to Queen Elizabeth I and Her Court, a 19th Century painting by Arthur Ackland Hunt [~late 1800s]

A 19th Century painting by Arthur Ackland Hunt entitled, “William Gilbert Demonstrates His Experiment on Electricity to Queen Elizabeth I and Her Court.”

1601

  • Tycho Brahe dies.

1603

  • William Gilbert dies.

1604

  • Johannes Kepler observes a supernova (Czech Republic).

1608

  • Hans Lippershey, Zacharias Jansen and Jacob Metius create the first refractor telescope (The Netherlands).
  • Evangelista Torricelli is born in Rome, Italy.

1609

  • Johannes Kepler publishes his first two laws of planetary motion (Czech Republic).

1610

  • Galileo Galilei publishes Sidereus Nuncius, which describes his telescopic observations, including: (1) the four largest moons of Jupiter; (2) the phases of Venus; (3) mountains and craters on the moon; and (4) masses of stars that make up ‘clouds’ in the Milky Way (Italy).
Photographs of the four largest moons of Jupiter.

Photographs of the four largest moons of Jupiter.

1611

  • The thermometer is invented (Italy).

1614

  • John Napier discovers logarithms (Scotland).
John Napier.

John Napier (1550-1617).

1616

  • The Sultan Ahmed (“Blue”) Mosque is completed in Istanbul (Turkey).

1617

  • John Napier dies.

1619

  • Johannes Kepler publishes The Harmonies of the World, containing his three laws of planetary motion (Austria).

1620

  • William Bourne designs and Cornelius Drebbel builds the first submarine, the Drebbel, which is propelled by oars (England).
A reduced-scale replica of the Drebbel, built in 2001.

A reduced-scale replica of the Drebbel, built in 2001.

  • Francis Bacon publishes Novum Organum (England).

1623

  • Blaise Pascal is born in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

1626

  • St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is completed (Italy).
  • Francis Bacon dies.

1627

  • Robert Boyle is born in Lismore, Ireland.

1628

  • William Harvey publishes On the Motion of the Heart and Blood (England).

1629

  • Shah Mosque (now Imam Mosque) built in Isfahan (Iran).
The Imam Mosque, in Isfahan.

The Imam Mosque, in Isfahan.

  • Christiaan Huygens is born in The Hague, The Netherlands.

1630

  • Johannes Kepler dies.

1632

  • William Oughtred invents the slide rule (England).
  • Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems leads to his arrest, trial and conviction for heresy by the Catholic Church (Italy).
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is born in Delft, The Netherlands.

1635

  • Robert Hooke is born in the Isle of Wight, England.

1637

  • René Descartes and Pierre de Fermat invent analytic geometry (France).
  • Descartes publishes Discourse on Method and The Geometry (France).
A late 17th Century copy of Franz Hals' 1649 portrait of René Descartes. It is located in the Louvre, Paris.

A late 17th Century copy of Franz Hals’ 1649 portrait of René Descartes, now in the Louvre.

  • Fermat sets out his last theorem in the margin of a mathematics text (France).

1638

  • Nicolas Steno is born in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1642

  • Blaise Pascal invents the Pascaline, the first mechanical calculator (France).
The Pascaline, Blaise Pascal's calculator, from 1652.

The Pascaline, Blaise Pascal’s mechanical calculator.

  • Galileo Galilei dies.

1643

  • Evangelista Torricelli discovers atmospheric pressure (Italy).
  • Torricelli invents the mercury barometer (Italy).
  • Isaac Newton is born in Woolsthorpe, England.

1644

  • Ole Rømer is born in Aarhus, Denmark.

1646

  • Gottfried Leibniz is born in Leipzig, Germany.

1647

  • Evangelista Torricelli dies.

1650

  • The Potala Palace is completed in Lhasa (Tibet).
Tibet's Potala Palace.

The Potala Palace in Tibet, home to the Dalai Lamas until 1959.

  • René Descartes dies.
  • Thomas Savery is born in Modbury, England.

1653

  • The Taj Mahal, a memorial for Shah Jahan’s wife, is completed (India).

1654

  • Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal invent probability theory (France).
  • Otto von Guericke invents the first vacuum pump (Germany).

1655

  • Christiaan Huygens is the first to accurately describe Saturn’s rings (The Netherlands).

1656

  • Christiaan Huygens invents the first pendulum clock (The Netherlands).
A diagram the first pendulum clock.

A diagram of the interior workings of Christiaan Huygens’ first pendulum clock.

  • Edmond Halley is born in Haggerston, England.

1657

  • William Harvey dies.

1660

  • Otto von Guericke invents the first static electricity generator (Germany).

1661

  • Robert Boyle publishes The Sceptical Chymist (England).

1662

  • Robert Boyle demonstrates the mathematical relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas (Boyle’s Law) (England).
  • The last dodo is seen (Mauritius).
A recently-discovered 17th Century Dutch drawing of a dodo (Raphus cucullatus).

A recently-discovered 17th Century Dutch drawing of a dodo (Raphus cucullatus).

  • Blaise Pascal dies.

1663

  • Thomas Newcomen is born in Dartmouth, England.

1665

  • Robert Hooke publishes Micrographia, in which he first describes cells (England).

1666

  • Sir Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of a spectrum of colors (England).
  • Newton invents calculus (England).

1668

  • Sir Isaac Newton invents the first reflector telescope (England).
Isaac Newton's first reflecting telescope. Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Isaac Newton’s first reflecting telescope. Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

1669

  • Nicolas Steno demonstrates that fossils are the remains of living organisms (Italy).
  • Hennig Brand discovers phosphorus (Germany).

1674

  • Antonie van Leewenhoek first observes and describes microorganisms (The Netherlands).
  • Gottfried Leibniz independently invents calculus (Germany).

1675

  • Sir Isaac Newton proposes that light consists of a beam of tiny particles (England).
  • Giovanni Cassini first identifies that Saturn’s rings consist of multiple rings with gaps between them (France).
A color enhanced photograph of Saturn's rings.

A color enhanced photograph of Saturn’s rings.

1676

  • Ole Rømer proves that light travels at a finite speed (Denmark, France).
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is the first to observe and describe bacteria (The Netherlands).

1678

  • Christiaan Huygens proposes that light consists of waves of radiation (The Netherlands).

1679

  • Gottfried Leibniz publishes a paper explaining the first binary number system (Germany).

1684

  • Major construction of the Palace of Versailles is completed (France).
The Palace of Versailles, home to French kings and queens.

The Palace of Versailles, home to French kings and queens.

1686

  • Sir Isaac Newton articulates the law of universal gravitation (England).
  • Nicolas Steno dies.
  • Daniel Fahrenheit is born in Danzig, Germany.

1687

  • Sir Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which sets out his three laws of motion and law of gravitation (England).
Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) painted in 1689, when Newton was 46, by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) painted in 1689 by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

1690

  • Treatise on Light, by Christiaan Huygens (The Netherlands).

1691

  • Robert Boyle dies.

1692

  • Pieter van Musschenbroek is born in Leiden, The Netherlands.

1693

  • John Harrison is born near Wakefield, England.

1695

  • Christiaan Huygens dies.

1698

  • Thomas Savery designs the first practical steam engine (England).
A drawing of the Savery steam engine, built in 1698.

A drawing of Thomas Savery’s steam engine.

1700

  • Daniel Bernoulli is born in Groningen, The Netherlands.

1703

  • Robert Hooke dies.

1704

  • Optics, by Sir Isaac Newton (England).

1705

  • Edmund Halley hypothesizes the periodicity of comets and predicts the return of a comet (England).
A photo of Halley's Comet taken during its 1986 return.

A photo of Halley’s Comet taken during its 1986 return.

1706

  • Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston, Massachusetts (US).

1707

  • Carl Linnaeus is born in Råshult, Sweden.

1710

  • Ole Rømer dies.

1712

  • Thomas Newcomen builds the first commercially viable steam engine (England).
A sketch of Thomas Newcomen's steam engine.

A sketch of Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine.

1715

  • Thomas Savery dies.

1716

  • Gottfried Leibniz dies.

1720

  • St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is completed (UK).

1723

  • Antonie van Leewenhoek dies.

1724

  • Daniel Fahrenheit proposes the Fahrenheit temperature scale (The Netherlands).
One of the original thermometers made by Daniel Farenheit, dating to between 1714 and 1724.

One of Daniel Fahrenheit’s original thermometers.

  • Sir Isaac Newton dies.

1729

  • Thomas Newcomen dies.

1730

  • John Hadley (England) and Thomas Godfrey (US), working independently, invent the octant.
  • Jan Ingenhousz is born in Breda, The Netherlands.

1731

  • Henry Cavendish is born in Nice, Kingdom of Sardinia (now France).

1733

  • John Kay invents the flying shuttle (England).
  • Joseph Priestley is born in Birstall, England.

1735

  • Carolus Linnaeus develops the modern system of taxonomy for living organisms (Sweden).
  • The Jantar Mantar, an outdoor astronomical observatory, is constructed in Jaipur (India).
Jantar Mantar is an astrophysical observatory.

Jantar Mantar is a unique astronomical observatory located in New Delhi, India.

1736

  • Charles-Augustin de Coulomb is born in Angoulême, France.
  • Daniel Fahrenheit dies.

1737

  • The Calcutta cyclone kills 300,000 people (India).

1738

  • Daniel Bernoulli proposes the kinetic theory of gases (Switzerland).
Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782).

Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782).

  • Pierre Louis Maupertuis proves that the Earth is flattened at the poles, evidence that the Earth rotates on its axis (France).
  • William Herschel is born in Hanover, Germany.

1742

  • Anders Celsius proposes the Celsius temperature scale (Sweden).
  • Edmond Halley dies.
  • Carl Wilhelm Scheele is born in Stralsund, Swedish Pomerania (now Germany).

1743

  • Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier is born in Paris, France.
  • Andreas Cunaeus is born in The Netherlands.

1744

  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is born in Bazentin, France.

1745

  • German and Dutch scientists, working independently, invent the Leyden jar.
An artist's imagining of the discovery of the Leyden jar by Andreas Cuneus in the laboratory of Pieter van Musschenbroek.

An artist’s imagining of the discovery of the Leyden jar by Andreas Cuneus in the laboratory of Pieter van Musschenbroek.

  • Alessandro Volta is born in Como, Italy.

1748

  • William Cullen invents artificial refrigeration (Scotland).
  • Mikhail Lomonosov makes the first modern scientific statement of the law of conservation of mass (Russia).
  • Excavation of the ruins of Pompeii begins (Italy).

1749

  • Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod (US).
  • Edward Jenner is born in Berkeley, England.
  • Pierre-Simon Laplace is born in Beaumont-en-Auge, France.

1752

  • Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is a form of electricity (US).

1755

  • An earthquake in Lisbon, measuring an estimated 8.7 on the Richter scale, and the resulting tsunami kill 40,000-50,000 people (Portugal).
A copper engraving of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

A copper engraving of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

1757

  • John Campbell and John Bird invent the sextant (England).

1758

  • Halley’s Comet reappears, as predicted by Edmond Halley in 1705.

1760

  • John Joseph Merlin invents the first inline roller skates (France).

1761

  • John Harrison invents the first accurate marine chronometer for determining longitude (England).
John Harrison's 1761 'sea watch.'

John Harrison’s 1761 ‘sea watch.’

  • Pieter van Musschenbroek dies.

1762

  • Joseph Black discovers latent heat (Scotland).

1764

  • James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny (England).
  • John Dalton is born in Eaglesfied, England.
  • William Symington is born in Leadhills, Scotland.

1765

  • Eli Whitney is born in Westborough, Massachusetts (US).
  • Robert Fulton is born in Little Britain Township, Pennsylvania (US).

1766

  • Jacob Perkins is born in Newburyport, Massachusetts (US).

1769

  • Sir Richard Arkwright and John Kay invent the spinning frame (England).
  • Nicolas Joseph Cugnot designs and builds a steam-powered three-wheeled automobile (France).
Cugnot's 1771 'fadier a vapeur' is now in a Paris museum.

Nicolas Joseph Cugnot’s steam-powered automobile is now in a Paris museum.

  • James Watt patents an improved steam engine (Scotland).
  • Alexander von Humboldt is born in Berlin, Germany.

1770

  • Joseph Priestley and Edward Naime, working independently, invent the eraser after recognizing the ability of raw rubber to erase pencil marks (England).

1772

  • Carl Wilhelm Scheele is the first to isolate oxygen gas and identify it as a separate element (Sweden).
An engraved portrait of Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786).

An engraved portrait of Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786).

  • Antoine Lavoisier discovers the chemical nature of combustion (France).

1774

  • Joseph Priestley independently discovers oxygen (England).

1775

  • André-Marie Ampère is born in Lyon, France.

1776

  • Amedeo Avogadro is born in Turin, Italy.
  • John Harrison dies.

1777

  • Joseph Priestley discovers that plants take in and give off gases (England).
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss is born in Braunschweig, Germany.

1778

  • Carl Linnaeus dies.
  • Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac is born in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, France.

1779

  • Jan Ingenhousz discovers the basic principles of plant respiration and photosynthesis (Austria).
  • Samuel Crompton invents the spinning mule (England).

1781

  • William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus (England).
Uranus is the only planet whose axis is tilted on its side.

Uranus is the only planet whose axis is tilted on its side.

1782

  • Thomas Jefferson completes work on Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia (US).
  • Daniel Bernoulli dies.

1783

  • On November 21, the first free, untethered, manned hot-air balloon flight occurs when Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes travel five miles in 25 minutes in a balloon designed by Jacques and Joseph Montgolfier (France).
  • Louis-Sébastien Lenormand designs, builds and demonstrates the first modern parachute (France).
A 19th Century illustration of Lenormand's first parachute descent.

A 19th Century illustration of Lenormand’s first parachute descent.

1784

  • Benjamin Franklin invents bifocals (US).
  • Friedrich Bessel is born in Minden, Germany.

1785

  • Jan Ingenhousz first describes Brownian motion (Austria).
  • Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries cross the English Channel in Blanchard’s hydrogen gas balloon, which was powered by flapping wings and a windmill (France).

1786

  • Carl Wilhelm Scheele dies.

1788

  • Johann Christoph Andreas Mayer recognizes that fingerprints are unique to every individual (Germany).
Categories of fingerprints.

Categories of fingerprints.

1789

  • Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier publishes Elements of Chemistry (France).
  • Georg Ohm is born in Erlangen, Germany.

1790

  • Benjamin Franklin dies.

1791

  • Michael Faraday is born in Newington Butts, England.
  • Charles Babbage is born in Teignmouth, England.
  • Samuel Morse is born in Boston, Massachusetts, US.

1792

  • French revolutionaries Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, Laquiante and Antoine Louis, with the help of German engineer Tobias Schmidt, design and build the first guillotine, which removes its first head on April 25. (France).
The guillotine was intended to make executions efficient and painless. This is a guillotine from the French Revolutionary era.

The guillotine was intended to make executions efficient and painless. This guillotine is from the French Revolutionary era.

1793

  • Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin (US).

1794

  • Philip Vaughan invents the modern ball bearing (Wales).
  • Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier dies.

1796

  • Georges Cuvier proves that species have become extinct in the past (France).
  • Aloys Senefelder invents offset printing (Germany)
  • Edward Jenner performs the first vaccinations against smallpox (England).

1797

  • Charles Lyell is born in Angus, Scotland.
  • Andreas Cunaeus dies.

1799

  • French soldier Pierre-François Bouchard discovers the Rosetta Stone (Egypt).
The Rosetta Stone has been in the collection of the British Museum in London since 1802.

The Rosetta Stone has been in the collection of the British Museum in London since 1802.

  • Mary Anning is born in Lyme Regis, England.
  • Jan Ingenhousz dies.

1800

  • Alessandro Volta invents the voltaic pile, the first true battery (Italy).
  • William Herschel discovers infrared radiation (England).
  • Friedrich Wöhler is born in Escherscheim, Germany.
  • Charles Goodyear is born in New Haven, Connecticut, US.

1801

  • Original construction of the White House, in Washington, D.C. is completed (US).

1802

  • Thomas Davenport is born in Williamstown, Vermont, US.

1803

  • The first commercially successful steamboat, the Charlotte Dundas (designed by William Symington)is launched (UK).
An artist's depiction of the Charlotte Dundas under way.

An artist’s depiction of the Charlotte Dundas under way.

  • Christian Doppler is born in Salzburg, Austria.

1804

  • The first steam locomotive, invented by Richard Trevithick, pulls a train containing 10 tons of iron and 70 passengers approximately nine miles (UK).
  • Joseph Priestley dies.
  • Matthias Schleiden is born in Hamburg, Germany.

1806

  • Charles-Augustin de Coulomb dies.

1807

  • Alfred Vail is born in Morristown, New Jersey, US.

1808

  • John Dalton articulates the principles of modern atomic theory (UK).

1809

  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposes the first fully-developed theory of evolution (France).
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829).

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829).

  • Charles Darwin is born in Shrewsbury, England, UK.

1810

  • Henry Cavendish dies.

1811

  • Amedeo Avogadro hypothesizes that atoms form clusters called molecules (Italy).
  • Avogadro demonstrates that equal volumes of all gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules (Avogadro’s Law) (Italy).
Amedeo Avogadro.

Amedeo Avogadro.

  • Robert Bunsen is born in Göttingen, Germany.

1814

  • Elisha Collier invents the flintlock revolver (US).

1815

  • The eruption of the Mount Tambora volcano kills 92,000 people (Indonesia).
  • Robert Fulton dies.
  • George Boole is born in Lincoln, England, UK.

1816

  • René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec invents the stethoscope (France).
  • Low solar activity and major volcanic eruptions result in ‘The Year Without A Summer.’

1817

  • Karl Drais invents the velocipede, precursor to the bicycle (Germany).
A draisine also known as a hobby horse, from the 1820s.

Karl Drais’s velocipede, also known as a draisine or hobby horse, had no pedals.

1818

  • James Prescott Joule is born in Salford, England, UK.

1819

  • Léon Foucault is born in Paris, France.

1820

  • Hans Christian Ørsted (Denmark) and André-Marie Ampère (France), working independently, prove that electricity and magnetism are two forms of the same phenomenon.
  • Ampère invents the solenoid (France).
  • Louis Pasteur is born in Dole, France.

1821

  • Hermann von Helmholtz is born in Potsdam, Germany.

1822

  • Joseph Fourier publishes his Analytic Theory of Heat (France).
  • Charles Babbage designs a programmable Difference Engine (UK).
In 1991, Doron Swade and Allan Bromley built a Difference Engine to Babbage's specifications. It is now in the London Science Museum.

In 1991, Doron Swade and Allan Bromley built a Difference Engine to Babbage’s specifications. It is now in the London Science Museum.

  • Jean-François Champollion translates the hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone (France).
  • Gregor Mendel is born in Heinzendorf bei Odrau, Austria (now Hynčice, Czech Republic).

1823

  • William Herschel dies.
  • Francis Galton is born in Birmingham, England, UK.
  • Rudolf Clausius is born in Köslin, Pomerania, Prussia (now Koszalin, Poland).
  • Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir is born in Mussy-la-Ville, Luxembourg.
  • Edward Jenner dies.

1824

  • William Sturgeon invents the first electromagnet (UK).
  • Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot sets out the first statement of the second law of thermodynamics (France).
  • Sadi Carnot proposes the Carnot cycle and the Carnot engine (France).
  • Joseph Aspdin invents Portland cement (UK).
  • William Thomson, Lord Kelvin is born in Belfast, Ireland, UK.
  • Gustav Kirchhoff is born in Königsberg, Prussia (now Russia).

1825

  • Eli Whitney dies.

1826

  • Joseph Nicéphore Niépce creates the first photograph, using the heliography technique, which requires an exposure time of eight hours or more (France).
The first photograph, from 1826, "View from the Window at Le Gras."

The first photograph, from 1826, “View from the Window at Le Gras.”

  • John Walker invents the first true friction match (UK).
  • James Sharp invents the first commercially-produced gas stove (UK).

1827

  • George Ohm establishes the relationship between electric current, electromotive force and circuit resistance (Ohm’s Law) (Germany).
  • Petrache Poenaru invents the first practical fountain pen (France).
  • Edwin Budding invents the manual lawn mower (UK).
One of John Budding's original mowers, from the early 1800s.

One of Edwin Budding’s original manual lawn mowers.

  • Alessandro Volta dies.
  • Pierre-Simon Laplace dies.

1828

  • Friedrich Wöhler synthesizes organic urea using only inorganic materials (Germany).
  • Ányos István Jedlik builds the first commutated rotary electromagnetical engine (Hungary).
  • Joseph Lister is born in Upton, England, UK.
  • Joseph Swan is born in Bishopwearmouth, England, UK.

1829

  • First discovery of a fossil Neanderthal skull (Belgium).
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck dies.

1830

  • Charles Lyell publishes the first volume of Principles of Geology (UK).
  • Barthélemy Thimonnier invents the first commercially successful sewing machine (France).
Thimonnier's sewing machine. Unfortunately a mob of angry competitors destroyed his factory.

Thimonnier’s sewing machine. Unfortunately a mob of angry competitors destroyed his factory.

  • János Bolyai (Romania) and Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky (Russia) publish treatises on hyperbolic geometry, a form of non-Euclidean geometry.
  • Andrew Ure invents the bi-metallic thermostat (UK).

1831

  • Michael Faraday (UK) and Joseph Henry (US), working independently, discover electromagnetic induction.
  • Faraday builds the first electrical generator (UK).
  • Gideon Mantell first publicizes the existence of dinosaurs in The Age of Reptiles (UK).
A skeleton of Megalosaurus, one of the first dinosaurs discovered, in the World Museum in Liverpool, UK.

A skeleton of Megalosaurus, one of the first dinosaurs discovered, in the World Museum in Liverpool, UK.

  • Robert Brown makes the first detailed observations of the cell nucleus (UK).
  • Cyrus McCormick invents the first effective horse-drawn reaper (US).
  • James Clerk Maxwell is born in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
  • William Symington dies.

1833

  • In isolating diastase from barley malt, Anselme Payen and Jean-François Persoz discover the first enzyme (France).
  • Alfred Nobel is born in Stockholm, Sweden.

1834

  • Jacob Perkins builds the first refrigerator (UK).
  • Thomas Davenport creates a battery-powered direct current motor (US).
An artist's rendering of Davenport's first electric motor, from 1835.

An artist’s rendering of Thomas Davenport’s first electric motor.

  • Hiram Moore invents the combine harvester (US).
  • Dmitri Mendeleev is born in Verkhnie Aremzyani, Russia.
  • Ernst Haeckel is born in Potsdam, Germany.
  • Gottlieb Daimler is born in Schorndorf, Germany.

1835

  • Samuel Colt patents a percussion cap revolver (US).
  • William Talbot invents the calotype photographic process, which creates a negative image. (UK).

1836

  • John Deere introduces the first steel plow (US).
  • André-Marie Ampère dies.

1837

  • Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre invents the daguerrotype photographic process (UK).
Daguerre's first daguerrotype, a view of the Boulevard du Temple taken in 1837.

One of Daguerre’s first daguerrotypes, a view of the Boulevard du Temple taken in 1837.

  • William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone (UK); Edward Davy (UK); and Samuel Morse (US), working independently, invent commercial electrical telegraph systems.
  • Louis Agassiz, building on the work of Karl Friedrich Schimper and Jean de Charpentier, proposes that the Earth underwent a sequence of past ice ages, during which glaciers covered much of the northern hemisphere (Switzerland).
  • Charles Babbage designs (but does not build) an Analytical Machine with many of the properties of a computer (UK).
  • Louis Braille invents the Braille reading system (France).
  • Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse invent Morse Code for use in telegraph systems (US).

1838

  • Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann propose the cell theory (Germany).
  • Friedrich Bessel becomes the first to measure the stellar parallax for a distant star (Germany).
An 1839 portrait of Friedrich Bessel.

An 1839 portrait of Friedrich Bessel.

1839

  • Charles Goodyear discovers the vulcanization process for making rubber more useful (US).
  • Michael Faraday publishes the first volume of his Experimental Researches in Electricity (UK).
  • Charles Darwin publishes The Voyage of the Beagle (UK).
  • The India Cyclone kills 300,000 people (India).
  • William Talbot invents a process for making positive photographic prints from his calotype negatives (US).

1840

  • Christian Friedrich Schönbein isolates ozone and identifies it as a distinct compound (Switzerland).

1841

  • Richard Owen creates a new taxonomic order of reptiles for dinosaurs, the Dinosauria (UK).

1842

  • Physician Crawford Long is the first to use ether as an anesthetic for human surgery (US).
  • Julius Robert von Mayer definitively articulates the law of conservation of energy (Germany).
  • Christian Doppler first describes the apparent change in the frequency of a wave when either the source or observer is moving (the Doppler Effect) (Czech Republic).
  • William Lindley begins building the first modern sewer system in Hamburg (Germany).
  • Alexander Bain invents a chemical mechanical facsimile device, the first fax machine (UK).
A drawing of Alexander Bain's original fax machine, from 1842.

A drawing of Alexander Bain’s original fax machine, from 1842.

1843

  • Robert Koch is born in Clausthal, Germany.

1844

  • Charles Fenerty (Canada) and Friedrich Gottlob Keller (Germany), working independently, develop a process for making paper out of wood pulp.
  • Gustaf Erik Pasch invents the safety match (Sweden).
  • Francis Rynd invents a hollow needle and uses it to make the first recorded subcutaneous injections (Ireland).
  • John Dalton dies.

1845

  • Stephen Perry invents the rubber band (UK).
  • Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen is born in Lennep, Germany.

1846

  • Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (France) and John Couch Adams (UK), working independently, calculate the location of an eighth planet.  Relying on Le Verrier’s calculations, Johann Gottfried Galle (with Heinrich Louis d’Arrest) (France) discovers Neptune.
A 1989 photograph of Neptune taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

A 1989 photograph of Neptune taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

  • Friedrich Bessel dies.

1847

  • George Boole invents Boolean logic and Boolean algebra (UK).
  • William Kelly invents a method for improving steel production (US).
  • Thomas Alva Edison is born in Milan, Ohio, US.
  • Alexander Graham Bell is born in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
  • Mary Anning dies.

1848

  • William Thomson, Lord Kelvin makes the first accurate calculation of absolute zero (UK).

1849

  • Walter Hunt invents the first true safety pin (US).
An illustration from Walter Hunt's 1849 patent - Figure 2 shows the first safety pin.

An illustration from Walter Hunt’s 1849 patent – Figure 2 shows the first safety pin.

  • Jacob Perkins dies.

1850

  • Rudolf Clausius articulates the first law of thermodynamics (Germany).
  • Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac dies.

1851

  • Léon Foucault definitively demonstrates the Earth’s rotation with his pendulum (France).
  • Thomas Davenport dies.

1852

  • Elisha G. Otis invents the first safety elevator (US).
  • Léon Foucault designs and builds the first modern gyroscope (France).
An 1867 replica of Foucault's original gyroscope.

An 1867 replica of Foucault’s original gyroscope.

  • Hermann Emil Fischer is born in Euskirchen, Germany.
  • Henri Becquerel is born in Paris, France.

1853

  • Charles Frédéric Gerhardt first synthesizes acetylsalicylic acid (France).
  • Charles Pravaz (France) and Alexander Wood (UK), working independently, create the first true hypodermic syringes.
  • Heike Kamerlingh Onnes is born in Groningen, The Netherlands.
  • Christian Doppler dies.

1854

  • Georg Ohm dies.
  • Paul Ehrlich is born in Strehlen, Germany.

1855

  • Alexander Parkes makes celluloid, the first man-made plastic (UK).
  • Rudolf Virchow amends Schleiden & Schwann’s cell theory to require that all cells must come from other cells (Germany).
  • Robert Yeates invents the first true can opener (UK).
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss dies.

1856

  • Henry Bessemer independently invents a steelmaking process that allows for mass steel production (UK).
This Bessemer converter, now located at Kelham Island Museum, UK, stopped operating in 1978.

This Bessemer converter, now located at Kelham Island Museum, UK, stopped operating in 1978.

  • William Henry Perkin creates mauveine, the first synthetic organic dye (UK).
  • Nikola Tesla is born in Smiljan, Austrian Empire (now Croatia).
  • Amedeo Avogadro dies.
  • Sigmund Freud is born in Freiberg in Mähren, Austrian Empire (now Příbor, Czech Republic).
  • J.J. Thomson is born in Manchester, England, UK.

1857

  • Louis Pasteur proves that lactic acid fermentation is carried out by living bacteria (France).
  • Heinrich Hertz is born in Hamburg, Germany.

1858

  • Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace jointly propose that the mechanism of evolution is natural selection (UK).
  • Hymen Lipman invents the first combination pencil-eraser (US).
  • Max Planck is born in Kiel, Germany.

1859

  • Louis Pasteur demonstrates that microorganisms, or ‘germs’, cause disease (germ theory of disease) (France).
  • Pasteur’s experiments disprove spontaneous generation (France).
  • Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen identify the atomic light signatures of chemical elements (Germany).
  • Kirchhoff and Bunsen invent spectrum analysis (spectroscopy) (Germany).
  • Kirchhoff and Bunsen discover the elements cesium and rubidium (Germany).
Spectra from the sun, potassium, rubidium and caesium, based on published drawings by Kirchoff and Bunsen.

Spectra from the sun, potassium, rubidium and caesium, based on drawings by Kirchhoff and Bunsen published in the American Journal of Science in November 1861.

  • Edwin Drake begins drilling the first modern oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania (US).
  • Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species (UK).
  • Alexander von Humboldt dies.
  • Alfred Vail dies.

1860

  • Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir invents the first two-stroke gas-fired internal combustion engine with cylinders, pistons, connecting rods, and a flywheel (France).
Internal combustion engine invented by Jean Joseph Lenoir.

Jean Joseph Lenoir’s 1860 internal combustion engine.

  • Charles Goodyear dies.
  • William Dickson is born in Le Minihic-sur-Rance, France.

1861

  • Frederick Gowland Hopkins is born in Eastbourne, England, UK.

1862

  • Nikolaus Otto invents an indirect acting, compressionless four-cycle free-piston internal combustion engine (Germany).
  • Richard Jordan Gatling invents the Gatling Gun, the first machine gun (US).
A Gatling gun from the American civil war era, 1861-1865.

A Gatling gun from the American civil war era.

  • James Clerk Maxwell shows that light, electricity and magnetism are all forms of the electromagnetic force (UK).

1863

  • The London Underground, the world’s first underground railway, opens (England, UK).
  • The Plongeur, the first submarine to operate without human power, is launched (France).
An 1867 model of the Plongeur submarine.

An 1867 model of the Plongeur submarine.

  • James Plimpton invents four-wheeled quad roller skates (US).

1864

  • Louis Pasteur invents pasteurization (France).
  • Walther Nernst is born in Briesen, Prussia (now Wąbrzeźno, Poland).
  • George Boole dies.

1865

  • Gregor Mendel publishes the laws of heredity, which he derived from his experiments with pea plants (Czech Republic).
A photograph of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884).

Gregor Mendel (1822-1884).

  • Rudolf Clausius introduces the concept of entropy (Germany).

1866

  • Thomas Hunt Morgan is born in Lexington, Kentucky, US.

1867

  • Joseph Lister publishes his Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery (UK).
  • Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (Sweden).
  • Joseph Monier invents reinforced concrete (France).
  • Charles Wheatstone (UK), Werner von Siemens (Germany) and Samuel Alfred Varley (UK), working independently, invent the dynamo.
  • Marie Curie is born in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Michael Faraday dies.
  • Wilbur Wright is born in Millville, Indiana, US.

1868

  • Christopher Latham Sholes invents the first commercially successful typewriter (US).
A Sholes typewriter from 1873.

A Sholes typewriter from 1873.

  • Karl Landsteiner is born in Baden bei Wien, Austria.
  • Felix Hoffmann is born in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
  • Léon Foucault dies.

1869

  • Dmitri Mendeleev creates the modern periodic table (Russia).
  • Johannes Friedrich Miescher isolates and identifies deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) (Germany).
  • William Crookes invents the Crookes Tube (UK).
  • Johann Hittorf discovers cathode rays (Germany).

1870

  • Siegfired Marcus attaches an internal combustion engine to a handcart and becomes the first person to propel a vehicle with gasoline (Austria).
  • The British Houses of Parliament in London are completed (UK).
The British Houses of Parliament.

The British Houses of Parliament.

  • Thomas Edison invents the Universal Stock Ticker (US).

1871

  • Ernest Rutherford is born in Brightwater, New Zealand.
  • Charles Babbage dies.
  • Orville Wright is born in Dayton, Ohio, US.
  • Arthur Tansley is born in London, England, UK.

1872

  • Samuel Morse dies.

1874

  • Joseph Glidden invents barbed wire (US).
  • Othmar Zeidler synthesizes DDT, the first pesticide (Austria).
  • Guglielmo Marconi is born in Bologna, Italy.

1875

  • Climate and Time, in their Geological Relations, by James Croll (UK).
  • Charles Lyell dies.
  • Gilbert N. Lewis is born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, US.

1876

  • Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone (US).
A photograph of Alexander Graham Bell taken between 1914 and 1919.

A photograph of Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) from between 1914 and 1919.

  • Willis Carrier is born in Angola, New York, US.

1877

  • David Edward Hughes, Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison, working independently, invent the carbon microphone (US).
  • Thomas Edison invents the phonograph (US).
Thomas Edison's original phonograph, which made recordings on tin foil.

Thomas Edison’s original phonograph, which made recordings on tin foil.

  • Oswald Avery is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • Frederick Soddy is born in Eastbourne, England, UK.

1878

  • Joseph Swan (UK) and Thomas Edison (US), working independently, invent commercially-viable incandescent electric light bulbs.
  • Eadweard Muybridge publishes Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, a series of photographs proving that all four of a running horse’s legs leave the ground (US).
Sallie Gardner at a Gallop.

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop was made by setting up multiple cameras along a racetrack that were triggered when the horse’s hooves tripped a wire.

1879

  • Walther Flemming first accurately describes mitosis in cells (Germany).
  • James Ritty invents the cash register (US).
  • Albert Einstein is born in Ulm, Germany.
  • James Clerk Maxwell dies.
  • Otto Hahn is born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

1880

  • Werner von Siemens invents the electric elevator (Germany).
  • Fredrik and Otto Kampfe invent the safety razor (US).
Star Safety Razors, invented by the Kampfe Brothers, from 1884.

Star Safety Razors, invented by the Kampfe Brothers, from 1884.

  • Alfred Wegener is born in Berlin, Germany.

1881

  • Lucien Gaulard and John D. Gibbs demonstrate an alternating current transformer in London (UK).
  • Alexander Fleming is born in Lochfield, Scotland, UK.
  • Matthias Schleiden dies.

1882

  • Thomas Edison builds the first large-scale electrical supply network, supplying 110 volts of direct current to 59 customers in lower Manhattan (US).
  • Robert Koch identifies the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis as the cause of tuberculosis (Germany).
A photograph of tuberculosis bacteria infecting a human lung (20 X magnification).

A photograph of tuberculosis bacteria infecting a human lung (20X magnification).

  • Dmitri Iosefovich Ivanovsky determines that the pathogen causing tobacco mosaic disease is much smaller than a bacterium (Russia).
  • Schuyler Skaats Wheeler invents the electric fan (US).
  • Henry W. Seeley invents the first practical and safe electric iron (US).
  • Paul Beiersdorf invents the adhesive bandage (Germany).
  • Charles Darwin dies.
  • Robert Goddard is born in Worcester, Massachusetts, US.
  • Friedrich Wöhler dies.

1883

  • Robert Koch identifies the bacterium Vibrio cholerae as the cause of cholera (Germany).
  • Max Rubner shows a relationship between metabolic rate and body surface area, known as the surface hypothesis (Germany).
  • The Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge, opens (US).
Dozens of workers died while building the Brooklyn Bridge, including the architect, John Roebling. He was inspecting the works from a pier across the Hudson when a boat crashed into the dock, crushing his foot. Despite the amputation of his toes, he died two weeks later of a tetanus infection.

Dozens of workers died while building the Brooklyn Bridge, including the architect, John Roebling.

  • Eruption of the Krakatoa volcano and the resulting tsunami kill between 36,000-120,000 people in Indonesia and elsewhere.

1884

  • Edward Butler invents the three-wheeled Butler Petrol Cycle (UK).
  • Charles Renard and Arthur Constantin Krebs achieve fully controllable free flight in the French Army airship La France (France).
La France, at Chalais-Meudon. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

La France airship at Chalais-Meudon. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images).

  • Lewis Waterman produces a new, improved fountain pen (US).
  • Hiram Maxim invents the Maxim Gun, the first self-powered machine gun (UK).
  • George Eastman invents roll film (US).
  • Charles Parsons invents the modern reaction-type steam turbine (UK).
  • Gregor Mendel dies.

1885

  • Carl Benz builds the first practical automobile, the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, which has a high-speed gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine (Germany).
The Benz Patent Motor Car.

The Benz Patent Motor Car.

  • Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach design and build the Daimler Reitwagen, considered by some to be the first motorcycle (Germany).
  • Louis Pasteur uses weakened pathogens to vaccinate citizens against anthrax and rabies (France).
  • John Starley invents the safety bicycle, which has pedals in the middle, a rear wheel chain drive and equal-size wheels (UK).
  • Niels Bohr is born in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1886

  • Charles Martin Hall (US) and Paul Héroult (France), working independently, invent a process for extracting aluminum from other minerals.
  • The Statue of Liberty is erected in New York harbor (US).
The Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty.

1887

  • Nikola Tesla builds a two-phase commutatorless alternating current induction motor (US).
  • Heinrich Hertz proves the existence of radio waves (Germany).
  • Hertz discovers the photoelectric effect (Germany).
  • Albert Michelson and Edward Morley conduct the Michelson-Morley experiment, which finds no evidence of ‘luminiferous aether’ (US).
  • Josephine Cochran invents the first reliable manual dishwasher (US).
  • John Boyd Dunlop invents the first commercially viable pneumatic tires (Ireland).
  • Flooding of the Yellow River kills between 900,000 and 2 million people (China).
  • Erwin Schrödinger is born in Vienna, Austria.
  • Gustav Kirchhoff dies.
  • Henry Moseley is born in Weymouth, England, UK.

1888

  • George Eastman invents the first portable camera (US).
Eastman's 1888 Kodak camera. After users finished taking all 100 photographs on the roll of film, they mailed the entire camera to Kodak, which mailed back the prints.

Eastman’s 1888 Kodak camera. After users used all 100 exposures on the roll of film, they mailed the entire camera to Kodak, which mailed back the prints.

  • Adolf Fick makes the first true contact lenses (Germany).
  • Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman is born in Thiruvanaikoil, Madras, India.
  • Rudolf Clausius dies.
  • John Logie Baird is born in Helensburgh, Scotland, UK.

1889

  • Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach build the Stahlradwagen automobile, which is licensed by Peugeout for production in France (Germany).
The four-wheeled Daimler Stahlradwagen.

The four-wheeled Daimler Stahlradwagen.

  • Singer produces the first electric sewing machines (US).
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris is completed (France).
  • Edwin Hubble is born in Marshfield, Missouri, US.
  • James Prescott Joule dies.

1890

  • Gustaf Retzius identifies and describes mitochondria (Sweden).
  • William Dickson and Thomas Edison invent the first practical movie camera (US).
  • Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky makes the first three-phase alternating current induction motor (Germany).

1891

  • Eugène Dubois discovers “Java Man” (Homo erectus) in Java (Indonesia).
A reconstruction of Java Man with the fossil skull. Note that only the dark portion of the skull was found.

A reconstruction of Java Man with the fossil skull. Note that only the dark portion of the skull was found – the rest is educated guesswwork.

  • Frederick Banting is born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada.
  • James Chadwick is born in Bollington, England, UK.

1892

  • Rudolf Diesel invents the diesel engine (Germany).
  • Nikola Tesla invents the Tesla coil, an electrical resonant transformer circuit that produces alternating current electricity (US).
Nikola Tesla in his New York laboratory with a Tesla coil.

Nikola Tesla in his New York laboratory with a Tesla coil.

  • John Froelich builds the first gasoline-powered tractor (US).
  • Jesse Reno and George Wheeler, working independently, invent the escalator (US).
  • James Dewar invents the Thermos vacuum flask (UK).
  • Louis de Broglie is born in Dieppe, France.

1893

  • Raymond Dart is born in Brisbane, Australia.

1894

  • Charles Francis Jenkins uses his Phantoscope projector to project a motion picture he filmed onto a screen for an audience in Richmond, Indiana (US).
  • Sir Oliver Lodge (UK) and Jagadish Chandra Bose (India), working independently, demonstrate the transmission of radio waves at a distance.
Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937).

Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937).

  • William Ramsay and Lord Rayleigh, John William Strutt discover argon (UK).
  • John Harvey Kellogg invents breakfast cereal flakes (US).
  • Georges Lemaitre is born in Charleroi, Belgium.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz dies.
  • Heinrich Hertz dies.

1895

  • The Lumière brothers present a public, commercial exhibition of projected motion pictures to a paying audience in Paris (France).
The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, one of the short subjects from the original Lumiere program.

A still image from The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, one of the short subjects from the original Lumiere program.

  • Wilhelm Röntgen discovers X-rays (Germany).
  • Guglielmo Marconi transmits radio waves to a receiver 1.5 miles away (Italy).
  • Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin designs and patents a rigid airship (Germany).
  • Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud publish Studies in Hysteria, which introduces the principles of psychoanalysis (Austria).
  • Westinghouse’s hydroelectric Adams Power Plant begins supplying alternating current electricity to Buffalo, New York (US).
  • Louis Pasteur dies.
  • Gerhard Domagk is born in Lagow, Prussia (now Łagów, Poland).

1896

  • Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity (France).
  • Svante Arrhenius predicts that burning fossil fuels will create a ‘greenhouse effect’ (Sweden).
  • Alfred Nobel dies.
  • Wallace Carothers is born in Burlington, Iowa, US.

1897

  • J.J. Thomson discovers the electron (UK).
J.J. Thomson.

J.J. Thomson (1856-1940).

  • Felix Hoffmann at Bayer synthesizes a pure form of acetylsalicylic acid that is marketed as Bayer aspirin (Germany).
  • The first Hornsby-Akroyd Patent Safety Oil Traction Engine (tractor) is sold (UK).

1898

  • Marie and Pierre Curie discover the radioactive elements radium and polonium (France).

1899

  • Ernest Rutherford discovers alpha and beta radiation (Canada)
  • Rutherford proposes the weak force to explain beta decay (Canada).
A photograph of Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937).

Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937).

  • Jean-Louis Prévost and Frédéric Batelli demonstrate the power of electric shocks on ventricular fibrillation (Switzerland).
  • Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams (Austria).
  • Otis Elevator Co. produces the first commercially-successful escalator, designed by Charles Seeberger and based on a design by George Wheeler (US).
  • Charles Best is born in West Pembroke, Maine, US.
  • Robert Bunsen dies.

1900

  • Paul Ulrich Villard discovers gamma rays (France).
  • Scientists from The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the US rediscover Gregor Mendel’s work on the laws of heredity.
  • The White Pass & Yukon Route is completed (Canada).
A view of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway in Canada.

A view of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway in Canada.

  • Gottfried Daimler dies.
  • Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir dies.
  • Wolfgang Pauli is born in Vienna, Austria.

1901

  • Guglielmo Marconi announces the first transatlantic radio transmission (UK, Canada).
  • Charles Hart and Charles Parr sell their first model No. 1 tractor (US).
  • Dan Albone builds the Ivel Agricultural Motor tractor (US).
  • Karl Landsteiner identifies the A, B, and O blood types (Austria).
  • Herbert Cecil Booth invents the electric vacuum cleaner (UK).
Herbert Cecil Booth's jumbo-sized vacuum cleaner in the early 20th Century.

Herbert Cecil Booth’s jumbo-sized vacuum cleaner.

  • Linus Pauling is born in Portland, Oregon, US.
  • Enrico Fermi is born in Rome, Italy.
  • Werner Heisenberg is born in Würzburg, Germany.
  • Ernest O. Lawrence is born in Canton, South Dakota, US.

1902

  • Alfred von Decastello and Adriano Sturli identify the AB blood type (Austria).
  • Léon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort (France) and Richard Assmann (Germany), working independently, discover that the atmosphere is divided into troposphere and stratosphere.
  • Ernest Starling and William Bayliss identify and describe secretin, the first hormone (UK).
  • Willis Carrier invents the first modern electrical air conditioner (US).
Carrier and his air conditioner, in an undated photo.

Willis Carrier and his air conditioner.

  • Ivan Pavlov (Russia) and Edwin Twitmyer (US), working independently, discover the principles of classical conditioning.
  • Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries introduces gasoline-powered lawn mowers (UK).
  • The eruption of the Mount Pelée volcano kills 29,000 (Martinique).
  • Paul Dirac is born in Bristol, England, UK.
  • Walter Brattain is born in Xiamen, China.
  • Fritz Strassmann is born in Boppard, Germany.
  • Barbara McClintock is born in Hartford, Connecticut, US.

1903

  • On December 17, Orville Wright makes the first powered, heavier-than-air flight in an airplane designed and built by Orville and Wilbur Wright.  The plane flies 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina (US).
The Wright Brothers' first powered flight, December, 1903.

The Wright Brothers’ first powered flight, December, 1903.

  • John von Neumann is born in Budapest, Hungary.
  • George Wells Beadle is born in Wahoo, Nebraska, US.

1904

  • Christian Hülsmeyer invents the Telemobiloscope, which can detect distant objects by bouncing radio waves off them (Germany).
Christian Hülsmeyer's Telemobiloscope.

Christian Hülsmeyer’s Telemobiloscope.

  • Benjamin Holt demonstrates the first tractor with crawler-type treads (US).
  • Sir John Fleming invents the first thermionic valve (vacuum tube) (UK).
  • Thomas Sullivan invents the tea bag (US).
  • The Trans-Siberian Railroad is completed (Russia).
  • Robert Oppenheimer is born in New York, New York, US.

1905

  • Albert Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity (Switzerland).
  • Einstein proves that mass and energy can be converted into one another according to the formula E = mc2 (Switzerland).
  • Einstein provides a theoretical explanation for Brownian motion (Switzerland).
  • Einstein explains the photoelectric effect in terms of quantum theory (Switzerland).
  • Ernest Rutherford proposes the use of radioactive isotopes to determine the age of a substance (Canada).
  • Walter Griffiths invents the first portable vacuum for home use (UK).
  • Carl David Anderson is born in New York, New York, US.
  • M. Stanley Livingston is born in Brodhead, Wisconsin, US.

1906

  • Walter Nernst first formulates the third law of thermodynamics (Germany).
  • Richard Dixon Oldham proves that the Earth has a central core (UK).
  • Lee de Forest invents the triode amplifying tube (US).
Lee de Forest's original triode amplifying tube.

Lee de Forest’s original triode amplifying tube.

  • Hans Bethe is born in Strasbourg, Germany.

1907

  • Leo Baekeland invents Bakelite, the first completely synthetic plastic (US).
  • William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, dies.
  • Dmitri Mendeleev dies.
  • Rachel Carson is born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, US.
  • John Mauchly is born in Cincinnati, Ohio, US.
  • Frank Whittle is born in Earlsdon, England, UK.

1908

  • Alva Fisher invents the first commercially successful electric washing machine (US).
A 1910 Thor electric washing machine.

Alva Fisher’s Thor electric washing machine.

  • Hans Geiger and Ernest Rutherford invent the Geiger counter (UK).
  • Edward Teller is born in Budapest, Hungary.
  • John Bardeen is born in Madison, Wisconsin, US.
  • Henri Becquerel dies.
  • Willard Libby is born in Grand Valley, Colorado, US.

1909

  • Andrija Mohorovičić discovers the Mohorovičić discontinuity at the border of the Earth’s crust and mantle (Croatia).
  • Charles D. Walcott begins collecting Cambrian era fossils from the Burgess Shale in British Columbia (Canada).
The shrimplike Marrella is the most common Burgess Shale fossil.

The shrimplike Marrella is the most common Burgess Shale fossil.

  • Frank Shailor at General Electric invents the first commercially successful electric toaster (US).
  • American Navy engineer Robert Peary becomes the first person to reach the North Pole.
  • Colin MacLeod is born in Port Hastings, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • Edward Lawrie Tatum is born in Boulder, Colorado, US.

1910

  • Thomas Hunt Morgan identifies the first genetic mutations (US).
  • Morgan proves that genes are carried on chromosomes (US).
Thomas Hunt Morgan in the fly room at Columbia University.

Thomas Hunt Morgan in the fruit fly room at Columbia University.

  • Umetaro Suzuki isolates vitamin B1 (thiamine) (Japan).
  • Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra (US).
  • Robert Koch dies.
  • William Shockley is born in London, England, UK.

1911

  • Ernest Rutherford proposes the solar system model of the atom (UK).
  • Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovers superconductivity in liquid helium (The Netherlands).
  • Georges Claude invents the neon light bulb (France).
  • Roald Amundsen becomes the first person to reach the South Pole (Norway).
Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole.

Roald Amundsen poses at the South Pole.

  • Francis Galton dies.
  • Maclyn McCarty is born in South Bend, Indiana, US.

1912

  • Alfred Wegener proposes the theory of continental drift (Germany).
  • Frederick Gowland Hopkins proposes the existence of “accessory food factors” (i.e., vitamins) that are essential for animal growth and survival (UK).
  • Max von Laue performs the first X-ray diffraction (Germany).
  • Victor Hess confirms the existence of cosmic rays (Austria).
  • Vesto Slipher discovers that the Andromeda nebula (now the Andromeda Galaxy) is moving away from the Milky Way (US).
  • Lewis Richardson and Reginald Fessenden, working independently, invent acoustic underwater echolocation systems (US).
  • Lester Wire installs the first modern traffic lights in Salt Lake City, Utah (US).
Lester Wire and his 1912 two-color traffic light.

Lester Wire and his two-color traffic light.

  • Joseph Lister dies.
  • Alan Turing is born in London, England, UK.
  • Wilbur Wright dies.

1913

  • Henry Ford establishes a moving assembly line to build the Model T automobile (US).
  • Henry Moseley proves that atomic number, not atomic weight, is the defining characteristic of a chemical element (UK).
  • Elmer V. McCollum and Marguerite Davis at University of Wisconsin, and Thomas Osborne and Lafayette Mendel at Yale, working independently, discover vitamin A (US).
  • Frederick Soddy predicts the existence of isotopes of radioactive elements (UK).
  • J.J. Thomson discovers multiple isotopes in a non-radioactive element (neon) (UK).
  • Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson discover a layer of ozone in the atmosphere (France).
  • Niels Bohr proposes a quantum theory of the atom (Denmark).
  • Fred W. Wolf invents the first electric refrigerator for home use (US).
  • Gideon Sundback invents the modern zipper (US).
  • On December 21, the New York World publishes the first true crossword puzzle (US).
  • Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell publish Principia Mathematica (UK).

1914

  • The 47-mile-long Panama Canal, which permits ships to travel between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, opens (Panama).
A man, a plan, a canal: Panama. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library.

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library.

  • Martha, the last passenger pigeon, dies in the Cincinnati Zoo (US).
  • James Fields Smathers invents the first practical electric typewriter (US).
  • Jonas Salk is born in New York, New York, US.
  • Norman Ernest Borlaug is born in Cresco, Iowa, US.
  • Joseph Swan dies.

1915

  • Edward C. Kendall isolates the thyroid hormone thyroxin (US).
  • Alfred Wegener publishes The Origin of Continents and Oceans (Germany).
  • Elmer V. McCollum discovers the vitamin B complex (US).
  • Maurice Levy invents tube lipstick (US).
Maurice Levy's 1915 lipstick tube.

Maurice Levy’s 1915 lipstick tube.

  • Paul Ehrlich dies.
  • Charles Hard Townes is born in Greenville, South Carolina, US.
  • Henry Moseley dies.

1916

  • Albert Einstein publishes the general theory of relativity (Germany).
  • Peter Debye and Paul Scherrer invent powder diffraction (Germany).
  • Gilbert N. Lewis develops the modern concept of the electron-pair bond (US).
  • Karl Schwarzschild proposes the existence of black holes (Germany).
  • The British and French use Benjamin Holt’s Caterpillar tractors to produce the first military tanks.
British troops surround a Mark I tank during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

British troops surround a Mark I tank during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

  • Francis Crick is born in Weston Favell, England, UK.
  • Claude E. Shannon is born in Petoskey, Michigan, US.

1917

  • Ernest Rutherford discovers the proton (UK).
  • Rutherford uses alpha particles to convert nitrogen into oxygen (UK).
  • Albert Einstein publishes Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Germany).
  • On Growth and Form, by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (UK).
  • Robert William Boyle and A.B. Wood create the first modern sonar system (UK).

1918

  • Florence Sabin identifies the origin of blood and blood vessels in chicken embryos (US).
  • An influenza pandemic infects 500 million people and kills 50-100 million worldwide in 1918-1919.
  • Paul Portier hypothesizes that mitochondria are descended from bacteria (France).
  • Richard Feynman is born in New York, New York, US.
  • Frederick Sanger is born in Rendcomb, England, US.

1919

  • Arthur Eddington and Frank W. Dyson confirm Einstein’s theory of general relativity during a solar eclipse (US).
  • Charles Strite invents the automatic pop-up toaster (US).
A Waters-Genter toaster from the 1920s, based on Charles Strite's design.

A Waters-Genter toaster from the 1920s, based on Charles Strite’s design.

  • Ernst Haeckel dies.
  • Hermann Emil Fischer dies.
  • J. Presper Eckert is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.

1920

  • Arthur Eddington proposes that the heavy elements in the universe were created in stars or in explosions of stars (UK).
  • Sir Edward Mellanby discovers vitamin D (UK).
  • Earl Dickson at Johnson & Johnson invents the Band-Aid (US).
  • Racine Universal Motor Co. and Hamilton Beach Co. introduce the first portable handheld electric hair dryers (US).
  • The Haiyuan earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, kills 273,400 people (China).
  • Rosalind Franklin is born in London, England, UK.

1921

  • Frederick Banting and Charles Best are the first to isolate and extract insulin (Canada).
Banting and Best with one of the diabetic dogs they used to test insulin.

Banting and Best with one of the diabetic dogs they used to test insulin.

  • Otto Loewi proves that neurons communicate by releasing chemicals (Austria).
  • Loewi identifies acetylcholine, the first known neurotransmitter (Austria).

1922

  • The first successful treatment of a human diabetic using insulin (Canada).
  • Herbert McLean Evans and Katharine Scott Bishop discover vitamin E (US).
  • Howard Carter and George Herbert, Lord of Carnarvon, discover the tomb of Tutankhamun (Egypt).
Howard Carter with Tutankhamen's sarcophagus.

Howard Carter with Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus.

  • Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters invent the absorption refrigerator, which is produced and marketed by Electrolux (Sweden).
  • Alexander Graham Bell dies.

1923

  • Fossils of Peking Man (Homo erectus) discovered in Zhoukoudian (China).
  • Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen dies.
  • Jack Kilby is born in Jefferson City, Missouri, US.

1924

  • Edwin Hubble discovers that the Milky Way is only one of millions of galaxies in the universe (US).
  • Raymond Dart discovers bipedal hominid Australopithecus africanus, which lived 3.3 to 2.1 mya (South Africa).
Raymond Dart (1893-1988) with the Taung Child skull.

Raymond Dart (1893-1988) with the skull of an immature Australopithecus africanus, known as the Taung Child.

  • William Howard Livens invents the first modern electric dishwasher (UK).
  • Kimberly-Clark Co. markets the first Kleenex facial tissues (US).
  • Elements of Physical Biology, by Alfred Lotka (US).

1925

  • Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, Pascual Jordan and Erwin Schrödinger develop quantum mechanics (Germany).
  • Charles Francis Jenkins (US), John Logie Baird (UK), Bell Labs (US), Kenjiro Takayangi (Japan) and Leon Theremin (USSR), working independently, make important advances in television technology.
  • Goodyear launches its first blimp (US).
  • Wolfgang Pauli articulates the Pauli exclusion principle (Germany).
  • Simon van der Meer is born in The Hague, The Netherlands.

1926

  • Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid fuel rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts (US).
Robert Goddard with his first liquid fueled rocket in 1926.

Robert Goddard with his first liquid fueled rocket in 1926.

  • Albert Michelson measures the speed of light as 299,796 kilometers per second (US).
  • John Logie Baird demonstrates a television system that transmits an image of a recognizable human face (UK).
  • Harold Jeffreys proves that the Earth’s core is liquid (UK).
  • D.T. Smith and E.G. Hendrick discover vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
  • Mark Lidwell and Edgar Booth invent the first cardiac pacemaker (Australia).
  • Erik Rotheim invents the aerosol can (Norway).
  • Heike Kamerlingh Onnes dies.

1927

  • Georges Lemaître hypothesizes that the universe is expanding and proposed the rate of expansion (the Hubble constant) (Belgium).
  • Philo T. Farnsworth’s Image Dissector transmits a visual image to a receiver (US).
  • Edward V. Appleton confirms the existence of the ionosphere (UK).
  • Werner Heisenberg first articulates the uncertainty principle (Germany).
  • Warren Marrison and J.W. Horton at Bell Labs invent the quartz clock (US).
The first quartz clock, built in 1927 by Marrison and Hold at Bell Labs.

The first quartz clock, built in 1927 by Marrison and Horton at Bell Labs.

  • Charles Lindbergh completes the first solo transatlantic flight (US).
  • Theodore Maiman is born in Los Angeles, California, US.

1928

  • Paul Dirac proposes the Dirac equation (US).
  • Alexander Fleming discovers that a mold, Penicillium notatum, destroys bacterial colonies (UK).
  • Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrates the first working all-electronic television system to the press (US).
  • Thomas Midgley, Jr. invents Freon (US).
  • Frederick Griffith discovers a ‘transforming principle’ that can change one type of bacteria to another (UK).
  • Hans Spemann performs the first somatic-cell nuclear transfer (Germany).
  • Otto Frederick Rohwedder invents the bread slicer (US).
A 1930 demonstration of a bread slicing machine in St. Louis, Missouri.

A 1930 demonstration of Rohwedder’s bread slicing machine in St. Louis, Missouri.  It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

  • Jacob Schick invents the electric razor (US).
  • James Watson is born in Chicago, Illinois, US.
  • Noam Chomsky is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.
  • Charles David Keeling is born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, US.

1929

  • Edwin Hubble obtains direct evidence that the universe is expanding and provides a more accurate estimate of the Hubble Constant (US).
  • Henrik Dam (Denmark) and Edward Adelbert Doisy (US) discover vitamin K.
  • E.O. Wilson is born in Birmingham, Alabama, US.
  • Gordon Moore is born in San Francisco, California, US.
  • Murray Gell-Mann is born in New York, New York, US.

1930

  • Vladimir Zworykin at Westinghouse demonstrates both transmission and reception of images in an electronic television system (US).
  • Richard Drew at 3M invents Scotch Tape (US).
  • The Chrysler Building in New York City opens (US).
The Chrysler building. Photo by David Shankbone.

The Chrysler Building. Photo by David Shankbone.

  • Alfred Wegener dies.
  • Neil Armstrong is born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, US.
  • Buzz Aldrin is born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, US.

1931

  • Georges Lemaître proposes that the universe began expanding from an initial point he calls the ‘primeval atom’ (Belgium).
  • Karl Jansky identifies extraterrestrial radio signals coming from the center of the Milky Way (US).
  • Fritz Zwicky introduces the concept of the supernova (US).
  • Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll invent the transmission electron microscope (US).
A replica of Ernst Ruska's 1933 electron microscope.

A replica of Ruska and Knoll’s transmission electron microscope.

  • The Empire State Building in New York City opens (US).
  • Flooding of the Yangtze and Huai rivers kills 145,000-4,000,000 people (China).
  • Thomas Alva Edison dies.
  • Roger Penrose is born in Colchester, England, UK.

1932

  • Ernest O. Lawrence and M. Stanley Livingston build and operate the first cyclotron (US).
M. Stanley-Livingstone (left) and Ernest Lawrence standing with the 27" cyclotron.

M. Stanley-Livingston (left) and Ernest Lawrence standing with the cyclotron.

  • Harold Urey and G.N. Lewis discover and isolate deuterium (US).
  • James Chadwick discovers the neutron (UK).
  • Carl D. Anderson discovers the positron (US).
  • John von Neumann establishes the mathematical basis for quantum mechanics (US).
  • Albert Szent-Györgyi and Joseph L. Svirbely, and Charles Glen King, working independently, first identify and isolate vitamin C.
  • Otto Rosenheim and Harold King, and Heinrich Wieland and Elizabeth Dane, working independently, determine the chemical structure of cholesterol.
  • Josef Klarer, Fritz Mietzsch and Gerhard Domagk synthesize and test Prontosil, the first sulfa drug.
  • Jan Oort suggests that the explanation for orbital velocities of stars is the existence of unseen matter (now known as dark matter) (the Netherlands).
  • Luc Montagnier is born in Chabris, France.

1933

  • Eugene Wigner (US) and Enrico Fermi (Italy), working independently, propose the existence of a weak nuclear force/weak interaction that explains radioactive decay.
  • Eugene Wigner (US) and Werner Heisenberg (Germany), working independently, propose the existence of a strong nuclear force/strong interaction that binds protons and neutrons together.
Werner Heisenberg (left) and Eugene Wigner in a 1928 candid.

Werner Heisenberg (left) and Eugene Wigner in a 1928 candid.

  • Fritz Walther Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld discover the Meissner effect (Germany).
  • The Expanding Universe, by Arthur Eddington (UK).
  • Steven Weinberg is born in New York, New York, US.

1934

  • American, German and Russian scientists, working independently, develop the first practical radar systems.
  • Enrico Fermi bombards uranium with neutrons and finds new elements with atomic numbers 93 and 94 (Italy).
  • Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature, by Niels Bohr (Denmark).
  • The Logic of Scientific Discovery, by Karl Popper (Austria).
  • Marie Curie dies.
  • Jane Goodall is born in London, England, UK.
  • Carl Sagan is born in New York, New York, US.
  • Carlo Rubbia is born in Gorizia, Italy.
  • Yuri Gagarin is born in Klushino, Russia.

1935

  • Arthur Tansley coins the term ‘ecosystem’ (UK).
  • Wendell Stanley crystallizes the tobacco mosaic virus and identifies its features (US).
  • Wallace Carothers at DuPont invents nylon, the first completely synthetic fiber (US).
  • László and György Bíró patent the first practical and effective ballpoint pen (Hungary).
A birome pen made by the Biro brothers in Argentina in the 1940s.

A birome pen made by the Biro brothers in Argentina in the 1940s.

  • Carlton C. Magee invents and installs the first parking meter in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (US).
  • William Dickson dies.

1936

  • Alan Turing establishes the basic principles of computer science, including the Turing machine and the Universal Turing machine (UK).
  • Alonzo Church creates the lambda calculus, a method for defining functions (US).
  • Inge Lehmann hypothesizes that Earth’s core is composed of a liquid outer core and a denser inner core (Denmark).
Inge Lehmann (1888-1993).

Seismologist Inge Lehmann (1888-1993).

  • On November 2, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins the first public television service (UK).
  • Hoover Dam is completed (Nevada, US).
  • The last captive thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) dies (Tasmania).
The last known thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) in a 1933 photo at the Beaumaris Zoo in Tasmania.

The last known thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) in a 1933 photo at the Beaumaris Zoo in Tasmania.

1937

  • In April, Frank Whittle bench tests a prototype turbojet engine (UK).
  • In September, Hans von Ohain and Ernst Heinkel bench test a jet engine (Germany).
  • György Jendrassik designs and builds the first working turboprop engine (Hungary).
  • Claude Shannon invents a method of expressing Boolean algebra using binary code through electronic relays and switches (US).
  • Karl Landsteiner and Alexander Wiener identify the Rh factor in blood (US).
  • Hans Adolf Krebs discovers the citric acid cycle (the Krebs Cycle) (UK).
  • Manfred von Ardenne invents the scanning electron microscope (Germany).
  • Chester F. Carlson invents the photocopier (US).
  • Theodosius Dobzhansky publishes Genetics and the Origin of Species (US).
  • The Golden Gate Bridge opens in San Francisco, California (US).
The Golden Gate refers to

The Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Ernest Rutherford dies.
  • Guglielmo Marconi dies.
  • George Zweig is born in Moscow, Russia.
  • Wallace Carothers dies.
  • Robert Gallo is born in Waterbury, Connecticut, US.

1938

  • A South African fisherman hauls up a coelacanth, a type of fish long thought to be extinct.
Coelacanth.

A West Indian coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) that was caught in 1965 near the Comoro Islands..

  • In December, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann split the nucleus of a uranium atom by bombarding it with neutrons (Germany).
  • Lise Meitner and Otto Robert Frisch confirm that Hahn and Strassmann have achieved nuclear fission (Sweden).
  • Guy Stewart Callendar demonstrates that global land temperature has increased over the past 50 years due to rising carbon dioxide levels (UK).
  • Hans Bethe explains how nuclear fusion provides the energy source for stars (US).
  • Roy Plunkett invents Teflon coating (US).
  • Lynn Margulis is born in Chicago, Illinois, US.
  • Donald Knuth is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US.

1939

  • Michael Perrin synthesizes polyethylene (UK).
  • Packard introduces the first air conditioned automobile (US).
  • Igor Sikorsky invents the first practical, commercially successful helicopter (US).
Igor Sikorsky pilots his 1939 helicopter, the VS-300.

Igor Sikorsky pilots his 1939 helicopter, the VS-300.

  • On August 27, the first jet aircraft, the Heinkel He178, flies for the first time (Germany).
  • Sigmund Freud dies.

1940

  • At Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, Edward M. McMillan and Philip H. Abelson synthesize neptunium, the first transuranian element (US).
  • John Randall and Harry Boot invent the cavity magnetron (UK).
  • J.J. Thomson dies.

1941

  • George Wells Beadle and Edward Lawrie Tatum propose that genes control cells by controlling the specificity of enzymes, i.e., one gene controls one enzyme (US).
  • John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson invent polyester (UK).
  • DuPont introduces acrylic (US).
  • Konrad Zuse builds the Z3, which may have been the first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer (Germany).
  • Stephen Jay Gould is born in New York, New York, US.
  • Frederick Banting dies.
  • Walther Nernst dies.

1942

  • Ernico Fermi and his team at University of Chicago (including Leó Szilárd) create the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction inside the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1 (US).
Scientists observing the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, in the Chicago Pile No. 1, December 2, 1942. Photograph of an original painting by Gary Sheehan, 1957.

Enrico Fermi and his team observe the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, in the Chicago Pile No. 1, December 2, 1942. Photograph of an original painting by Gary Sheehan, 1957.

  • Dorothy Hodgkin and Harry Carlisle use X-ray diffraction to determine the three-dimensional structure of a complex molecule (cholesterol iodide) for the first time (UK).
  • Howard Florey, Norman Heatley, Ernst Chain and Andrew J. Moyer develop a method of manufacturing penicillin as a drug (US).
  • Hugo Schmeisser invents the assault rifle (Germany).
  • Stephen Hawking is born in Oxford, England, UK.

1943

  • Max Newman, Tommy Flowers and others build the Mk I Colossus computing machine for the British military to break the German encryption system (UK).
The Mk 1 Colossus in 1943.

The Mk 1 Colossus in 1943.

  • Werner Heisenberg proposes S-matrix theory (Germany).
  • Nikola Tesla dies.
  • Karl Landsteiner dies.

1944

  • Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty discover that DNA is the substance that carries genetic information (US).
  • Dorothy Hodgkin discovers the three-dimensional structure of the penicillin molecule (UK).

1945

  • John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania launch ENIAC, the first electronic, digital, programmable general purpose computer (US).
  • On July 16, the US detonates a plutonium implosion atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico (US).
  • On August 6, the US drops a uranium gun atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing 90,000-140,000 people and destroying 69% of the city’s buildings.
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after atomic blast.

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after atomic blast.

  • On August 9, the US drops a plutonium implosion atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing approximately 74,000 people.
  • Arthur C. Clarke advocates geostationary satellites for communications (UK).
  • Percy L. Spencer invents the microwave oven (US).
  • Thomas Hunt Morgan dies.
  • Robert Goddard dies.

1946

  • Walter Elsasser proposes that the Earth’s liquid outer core is a dynamo that generates the Earth’s magnetic field (US).
  • Ulf von Euler discovers the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (noradrenaline) (Argentina).
  • Marion Donovan invents disposable diapers (US).
Marion Donovan in 1949 with one of her disposable diapers.

Marion Donovan with one of her disposable diapers.

  • Craig Venter is born in Salt Lake City, Utah, US.
  • Gilbert N. Lewis dies.
  • Felix Hoffmann dies.
  • John Logie Baird dies.

1947

  • William Shockley John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at Bell Labs build the first solid-state electronic transistor (US).
  • Piloted by Chuck Yeager, the Bell X-1 becomes the first aircraft to break the sound barrier (US).
  • Dennis Gabor invents holography (UK).
  • George Gamow develops Georges Lemaître’s ‘primeval atom’ idea into the Big Bang theory (UK).
  • Edwin Land introduces the Polaroid Land Camera, the first instant camera (UK).
  • The first Dead Sea Scrolls are found near Jericho (Palestine).
A portion of the Dead Sea scrolls.

A portion of the Dead Sea scrolls.

  • Max Planck dies.
  • Alan Guth is born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, US.
  • Frederick Gowland Hopkins dies.

1948

  • Paul Dirac (UK). Richard Feynman (US), Julian Schwinger (US), Sin-Itiro Tomonaga (Japan) and Freeman Dyson (US) develop quantum electrodynamics.
  • Claude E. Shannon develops information theory (US).
  • Barbara McClintock at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discovers ‘jumping genes’ (transposons) (US).
Barbara McClintock (1902-1992).

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992).

  • Cable television is introduced in the US.
  • George de Mestral invents Velcro (Switzerland).
  • Orville Wright dies.

1949

  • Willard Libby and James Arnold use the radioactive carbon-14 isotope to accurately date wood samples in Ancient Egyptian tombs (US).
  • The USSR tests its first fission-type atomic weapon.
  • Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver invent the barcode (US).

1950

  • Fred Whipple first hypothesizes that comets are ‘dirty snowballs’ (US).
  • The Diners’ Club Card, the first major credit card, is introduced (US).
  • The US launches a rhesus monkey into space.
  • Willis Carrier dies.

1951

  • Min Chueh Chang repeats a 1937 experiment showing that progesterone suppresses ovulation in rabbits (US).
  • Carl Djerassi, Luis Miramontes and George Rosenkranz at Syntex synthesize the first orally highly active progestin, norethindrone (Mexico).
  • Ernst Öpik explains how helium becomes carbon inside the cores of red giant stars (UK).
  • David Abraham at the Perkins School for the Blind invents the Braille typewriter (US).
  • Bette Nesmith invents correction fluid and gives birth to a Monkee (US).
  • Edward Witten is born in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

1952

  • Jonas Salk develops a polio vaccine using inactivated polio virus (US).
  • The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, is introduced (US).
The de Havilland Comet 1. Unfortunately, the square windows led to crashes.

The de Havilland Comet 1. Unfortunately, the square windows led to crashes.

  • IBM markets its first mainframe computer (US).
  • The US tests its first thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb.
  • Robert Priggs and Thomas J. King clone northern leopard frogs using nuclear transfer of embryonic cells (US).
  • Gynecologist John Rock begins using progesterone and estrogen to treat infertile women (US).

1953

  • With the help of Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction image, James Watson and Francis Crick determine the double helix structure of DNA (UK).
Rosalind Franklin's X-ray image of DNA.

Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray image of DNA.

  • Stanley Miller and Harold Urey’s experimental simulation of the early Earth’s atmosphere and oceans produces all necessary amino acids and sugars (US).
  • Charles Hard Townes, James Gordon and Herbert Zeiger create the first microwave amplifier, or maser (US).
  • The USSR tests its first hydrogen bomb.
  • Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are the first people to reach the summit of Mt. Everest (Nepal).
  • Edwin Hubble dies.

1954

  • The first nuclear reactor for civilian use begins operating (USSR).
  • Joseph E. Murray and his team perform the first successful organ transplant (of a kidney) in Boston, Massachusetts (US).
  • The first transistor radio, the TR-1, from Texas Instruments and Regency, is introduced (US).
  • George Devol invents Unimate, the first digitally operated and programmable robot (US).
The first industrial robot - the Unimate - at General Motors in 1961.

The first industrial robot – the Unimate – at General Motors in 1961.

  • Enrico Fermi dies.
  • Alan Turing dies.

1955

  • Rosalind Franklin determines the three-dimensional structure of the tobacco mosaic virus (UK).
  • Albert Einstein dies.
  • Tim Berners-Lee is born in London, England, UK.
  • Alexander Fleming dies.
  • Oswald Avery dies.
  • Arthur Tansley dies.

1956

  • Dorothy Hodgkin determines the three-dimensional structure of vitamin B-12 (UK).
  • Felix Wankel invents the rotary engine (Germany).
  • IBM introduces the first hard drive, which can store 5 MB of information (US).
  • Robert Adler invents the Zenith Space Command, the first effective television remote control (US).
Robert Adler's wireless remote control from 1956 - the Zenith Space Command.

Robert Adler’s wireless remote control from 1956 – the Zenith Space Command.

  • Frederick Soddy dies.

1957

  • Albert Sabin uses live but attenuated polio virus to create an oral polio vaccine (US).
  • Syntactic Structure, by Noam Chomsky (US).
  • John von Neumann dies.

1958

  • James Van Allen confirms the existence of two belts of particles trapped within the Earth’s magnetic field (the Van Allen belts) (US).
  • Rune Elmqvist and Åke Senning invent the first implantable cardiac pacemaker (Sweden).
  • Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments creates the first prototype integrated circuits (US).
Jack Kilby's prototype integrated circuit, from 1959.

Jack Kilby’s prototype integrated circuit, from 1959.

  • Kurt Lehovec of Sprague Electric Co. invents a method of electrically isolating components on a semiconductor crystal (US).
  • Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor invents aluminum metallization (US).
  • Robert Banks and Paul Hogan invent polypropylene (US).
  • The US sends Project Score, the first communications satellite, into orbit.
  • Rosalind Franklin dies.
  • Wolfgang Pauli dies.
  • Ernest O. Lawrence dies.

1959

  • On September 14, the USSR’s unmanned Luna 2 probe lands on the moon.
  • The USSR’s unmanned Luna 3 probe sends back the first photographs of the moon’s far side.
  • Gordon Gould designs a gas discharge laser and coins the term ‘laser.’ (US).
  • Saul Perlmutter is born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, US.

1960

  • Theodore Maiman creates the first working laser (US).
Ted Maiman's first laser, from 1960.

Theodore Maiman’s first laser, from 1960.

  • The FDA approves Enovid, the first birth control pill for contraception.
  • Harry Hess and Robert Dietz hypothesize that the seafloor is spreading, and that this spreading is the cause of continental drift (US).
  • In April, Texas Instruments announces its first integrated circuit (US).
  • On September 27, Jay Last and his team at Fairchild Semiconductor build the first operational semiconductor integrated circuit (US).
  • Don Walsh (US) and Jacques Picard (Switzerland) reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean, in the bathyscaphe Trieste.
The bathyscaphe Trieste.

The bathyscaphe Trieste.

  • The Valdivia earthquake, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale, is the strongest ever recorded (Chile).

1961

  • On April 12, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person in space when his space capsule leaves the atmosphere and enters Earth’s orbit (USSR).
  • Charles David Keeling publishes measurements showing that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising (US).
  • Luther George Simjian invents the automatic teller machine (ATM) (US).
  • Erwin Schrödinger dies.

1962

  • Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space (USSR).
  • The US launches Telstar, the first active direct relay communications satellite.
  • Leon Lederman, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger detect the muon neutrino (US).
  • Thomas Kuhn publishes The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (US).
  • Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring (US).
  • Niels Bohr dies.

1963

  • Frederick Vine and Drummond Matthews, and Lawrence Morley, working independently, confirm seafloor spreading when they discover that the crust along the mid-ocean ridges consists of parallel sections with alternating magnetic polarity (US).
  • Maarten Schmidt identifies and calculates the redshift for a quasi-stellar radio source (quasar) (US).
  • Tong Dizhou clones a carp (China).
  • Douglas Engelbart and Bill English at Stanford Research Institute invent the computer mouse (US).
Douglas Engelbrecht's original computer mouse.

Douglas Engelbrecht’s original computer mouse.

1964

  • Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig, working independently, propose the quark model, also known as quantum chromodynamics (US).
  • James West and Gerhard Sessler invent the foil electret microphone (US).
  • Louis Leakey discovers Homo habilis, which lived 2.4 to 1.4 mya (Tanzania).
  • The US launches Syncom 3, the first geostationary communications satellite.
  • Emmett Leigh and Juris Upatnieks at the University of Michigan create the first hologram (US).
  • An earthquake in Prince William Sound, Alaska, measures 9.2 on the Richter scale (US).
  • Rachel Carson dies.
  • Gerhard Domagk dies.

1965

  • Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson detect cosmic microwave background radiation from the Big Bang (US).
  • J. Tuzo Wilson adds the concept of transform faults to the plate tectonics model (US).
  • Olivetti introduces the Programma 101, the first commercially produced desktop computer (US).
  • Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov conducts the first space walk (USSR).
  • James Russell invents the compact disc (CD) (US).
  • Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont invents Kevlar (US).
Kevlar inventor Stephanie Kwolek holds a model of the polymer she synthesized.

Kevlar inventor Stephanie Kwolek holds a model of the polymer she synthesized.

1966

  • The USSR’s unmanned Luna 9 probe lands on the moon and sends back photos from the surface.
  • Georges Lemaitre dies.

1967

  • The first DNA ligase is discovered and isolated (US).
  • On November 28, Antony Hewish and Jocelyn Bell Burnell are the first to observe a pulsating star (pulsar) (UK).
  • W. Jason Morgan announces a plate tectonics model consisting of 12 plates moving relative to each other (US).
  • Jack Kilby, Jerry Merryman and James van Tassel at Texas Instruments invent the Cal Tech, the first handheld calculator (US).
  • The Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris (UK).
  • Lynn Margulis proposes a modern theory of endosymbiosis (US).
  • Robert Oppenheimer dies.
  • Brian Schmidt is born in Missoula, Montana, US.

1968

  • Sheldon Glashow (US), Abdus Salam (Pakistan) and Steven Weinberg (US) prove that the weak force/weak interaction and electromagnetism are two aspects of a single electroweak force.
  • Gabriele Veneziano proposes the dual resonance model, a precursor of string theory (Switzerland).
  • Xavier Le Pichon develops a computer model of plate tectonics involving six plates moving relative to each other (France).
  • Using the Stanford Linear Accelerator, Jerome Friedman, Henry Kendall, and Richard Taylor detect the up, down and strange quarks (US).
  • On December 24, three American astronauts in the Apollo 8 spacecraft enter the moon’s orbit (US).
Caption.

A view of the Earth rising over the moon, taken by the crew of Apollo 8 from the moon’s orbit.

  • Ralph Baer invents the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey (US).
  • The Double Helix, by James Watson (US).
  • Otto Hahn dies.
  • Yuri Gagarin dies.

1969

  • Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon’s surface on July 20 and walk on the moon on July 21 (US).
  • In September 1969, the first node of the ARPANET (which will become the Internet) is installed at UCLA (US).
  • In October, the first message is sent over the ARPANET between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute (US).
  • By the end of the year, four computers are linked in the ARPANET (US).
  • Dorothy Hodgkin discovers the three-dimensional structure of the insulin molecule (UK).
  • Stephen Benton creates the first rainbow hologram (US).
  • Sony introduces the videocassette (Japan).
A VHS videocassette, showing the magnetic tape inside.

A VHS videocassette, showing the magnetic tape inside.

  • Adam Riess is born in Washington, DC, US.

1970

  • CTC brings out the Datapoint 2200 personal computer (US).
  • Hamilton Smith uses restriction enzymes to target DNA at a specific location and separate the pieces (US).
  • Yoichiro Nambu, Holger Bech Nielsen and Leonard Susskind propose that nuclear forces are equivalent to one-dimensional vibrating strings (string theory) (US).
  • Zhores Alferov (Russia), Izuo Hayashi (US) and Morton Panish (US), working independently, develop room-temperature, continual-operation diode lasers.
  • Robert Maurer, Donald Keck and Peter Schultz at Corning Glass develop highly efficient fiber optic cables using fused silica (US)
  • John M. Bergey and George Thiess invent the first electronic watch with a digital display (US).
  • The Bhola Cyclone kills 300,000-500,000 people in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
  • Physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman dies.

1971

  • Busicom produces the first pocket calculator, the LE-120A “Handy” (Japan).
  • Intel introduces the first microprocessor (US).
  • Ray Tomlinson at BBN writes the first electronic mail program and sends the first e-mail on the ARPANET network (US).
Ray Tomlinson, who sent the first true e-mail in 1971.

Ray Tomlinson, who sent the first true e-mail in 1971.

  • Pierre Verdun invents the first home food processor, the Magimix 1800, which is redesigned and marketed in the US as the Cuisinart (France).
  • Sony invents the first videocassette recorder (VCR) (Japan).
  • Godfrey Hounsfield invents X-ray computed tomography (CAT or CT scan) (UK).

1972

  • Walter Fiers and his team sequence the RNA nucleotides of the bacteriophage MS2 genome (Belgium).
  • Paul Berg creates the first recombinant DNA molecules (US).
  • Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen insert recombinant DNA into bacterial cells using DNA cloning (US).
  • Charles Thomas Bolton (US) and Louise Webster and Paul Murdin (UK), working independently, obtain the first indirect evidence of a black hole, in X-ray binary system Cygnus X-1.
An artist's depiction of the black hole near the star Cygnus X-1. It formed when a large star caved in. This black hole pulls matter from blue star beside it. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

An artist’s depiction of the black hole near the star Cygnus X-1, which pulls matter from blue star beside it.
Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

  • Colin MacLeod dies.

1973

  • Xerox PARC designs and builds its influential Alto personal computer (US).
  • Stanley Cohen, Annie Chang and Herbert Boyer insert antibiotic resistant genes from resistant E. coli bacteria into non-resistant E. coli, creating the first genetically modified organisms (US).
  • Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer insert a frog ribosomal RNA gene  into E. coli bacteria, creating the first genetically modified organisms containing genetic material from a different species (US).
  • John Mitchell and Martin Cooper at Motorola invent the mobile cellular phone (US).
Martin Cooper places a call in 1973 using the mobile phone he and John Mitchell developed at Motorola.

Martin Cooper places a call in 1973 using the mobile phone he and John Mitchell developed at Motorola.

1974

  • Rudolf Jaenisch inserts foreign DNA into a mouse embryo, creating the first genetically modified animal (US).
  • Donald Johanson discovers Australopithecus afarensis, which lived 3.85 to 2.95 mya (Ethiopia).
  • Burton Richter and Samuel Ting detect the charm quark (US).
  • On June 26, the barcode on a pack of chewing gum becomes the first ever scanned (US).
  • Arthur Fry at 3M invents Post-It Notes (US).
  • The Lives of a Cell, by Lewis Thomas (US).
  • The Terracotta Army, buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the 3rd Century BCE, is discovered in Xi’an (China).

terracotta army

  • James Chadwick dies.

1975

  • MITS offers the Altair 8800, a build-it-yourself personal computer (US).
  • Steven Sasson at Eastman Kodak invents the first digital camera (US).
  • Edward Lawrie Tatum dies.

1976

  • Gary Ingram and Bob Marsh at Processor Technology Corp. design the all-in-one Sol-20 Personal Computer (US).
  • Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson found Genentech, the first commercial enterprise based on genetic engineering (US).
  • Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene (UK).
  • The Tangshan earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, kills 242,000-655,000 people (China).
  • Werner Heisenberg dies.

1977

  • Frederick Sanger and his team sequence the genome of bacteriophage ΦX174 (UK).
  • After conducting an analysis of ribosomal RNA, Carl Woese and George E. Fox determine that some prokaryotes differ so much from bacteria that they belong in a separate domain they call the Archaea (US).
  • Chuck Peddle introduces the Commodore PET personal computer (US).
  • Steve Wozniak brings out the Apple II personal computer (US).
  • Tandy/Radio Shack offers the TRS-80/Model I personal computer (US).
  • Jack Corliss and his team at Scripps Institution of Oceanography discover chemosynthetic biological activity surrounding underwater hydrothermal vents along the Galapagos Rift (US).
A hydrothermal vent with black smokers and a biological community with large numbers of tube worms.

A hydrothermal vent with black smokers and a biological community with large numbers of tube worms.

  • Arthur Riggs, Keiichi Itakura and Herbert Boyer create genetically engineered synthetic human insulin (US).
  • Leon Lederman detects the bottom quark (US).

1978

  • First Internet bulletin board created (US).
  • On July 25, Louise Brown, the first person conceived through in vitro fertilization, is born (UK).
  • Charles Best dies.

1979

  • Alexei Starobinsky suggests that the early universe went through a de Sitter phase, or inflationary era (Russia).
  • Akio Morita, Masaru Ibuka and Kozo Ohsone at Sony invent the Walkman, the first personal stereo (Japan).
  • E.O. Wilson publishes On Human Nature (US).
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter (US).
  • James Lovelock publishes Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (US).

1980

  • Alan Guth proposes scalar-driven inflation in the early universe (US).
  • Luis and Walter Alvarez, Frank Asaro and Helen Michel propose that an asteroid impact caused the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period (US).
  • Daniel Desbruyères and Lucien Laubier discover the Pompeii worm, a new species, in a hydrothermal vent community (France).
The Pompeii worm thrives in the harsh hydrothermal vent ecosystem.

The Pompeii worm thrives in the harsh hydrothermal vent ecosystem.

  • Ferranti introduces the uncommitted logic array, the first gate array (UK).
  • John Mauchly dies.
  • Fritz Strassmann dies.
  • Willard Libby dies.

1981

  • IBM introduces the IBM PC (US).
  • Frank Ruddle, Frank Constantini and Elizabeth Lacy pass new genes into subsequent generations by inserting foreign DNA into a mouse embryo (US).
  • Stephen Jay Gould publishes The Mismeasure of Man (US).

1982

  • NEC releases the PC-9801 personal computer (Japan).
  • Bill Moggridge’s GRiD Compass 1101 – the first modern laptop computer – goes on sale (US).
Bill Moggridge's GRiD 1101 laptop, from 1979-1980.

Bill Moggridge’s GRiD 1101 laptop.

  • Sony introduces the first commercial CD player, the CDP-101 (Japan).

1983

  • Carlo Rubbia (Italy) and Simon van der Meer (The Netherlands) experimentally detect the W and Z bosons.
  • Satellite television begins in US.
  • A French research group led by Luc Montagnier (with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi) isolates HIV, the virus that causes AIDS (France).
  • Andrei Linde proposes a revised model of inflation theory called chaotic inflation (Russia).
  • IBM issues the IBM XT personal computer (US).
  • Michael Bevan, Richard Flavell and Mary-Dell Chilton create the first genetically modified plant, tobacco (US).
  • ARPANET computers switch to TCP/IP protocol (US).
  • Sony introduces the Betamovie BMC-100P, the first consumer camcorder (Japan).
The Sony Betamovie BMC-100P, the first consumer camcorder, went on the market in 1983.

The Sony Betamovie BMC-100P, the first consumer camcorder.

  • Gorillas in the Mist, by Dian Fossey (Rwanda).
  • The 17th General Conference on Weights and Measures defines the meter as the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds.

1984

  • Steen Willadsen clones a sheep using early embryonic cells (UK).
  • Scientists at the Medical Research Council sequence the genome of the Epstein-Barr virus (UK).
  • Apple introduces the Macintosh personal computer (US).
  • Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester develops DNA fingerprinting (UK).
Alec Jeffreys with a copy of the first DNA fingerprint profile. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA.

Alec Jeffreys with a copy of the first DNA fingerprint profile. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA.

  • Sony (Japan) and Philips (The Netherlands) jointly release the first CD-ROMs.
  • Paul Dirac dies.

1985

  • Harold Kroto, Richard Smally, Robert Curl, James Heath and Sean O’Brien at Rice University discover and prepare C-60, the first fullerene, which they name buckminsterfullerene (US).
  • The first ‘dot com’ domain name is registered (US).

1986

  • Soviet scientists clone a mouse (Russia).
  • M. Stanley Livingston dies.

1987

  • Richard Rhodes publishes The Making of the Atomic Bomb (US).
  • Louis de Broglie dies.
  • Walter Brattain dies.

1988

  • Cornell student Robert Morris releases the first computer virus (the Morris worm) on the Internet (US).
  • A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking (UK).
Stephen Hawking during a visit to NASA in the 1980s.

Stephen Hawking in the 1980s.

  • Richard Feynman dies.
  • Raymond Dart dies.

1989

  • Tim Berners-Lee at CERN creates the World Wide Web (Switzerland).
  • Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies manipulate a mouse’s DNA to turn off a gene (US).
  • William Shockley dies.
  • George Wells Beadle dies.

1990

  • In April, the Hubble Space Telescope enters Earth orbit (US).
  • The discovery of a giant 65-million-year-old crater at Chicxulub on the Yucatan Peninsula supports the theory that an asteroid caused the end-Cretaceous extinction (Mexico).
A view of the Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan based on seismic readings.

A view of the Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan based on seismic readings.

  • ARPANET is decommissioned in favor of NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network) (US).
  • The Ants, by E.O. Wilson and Bert Hoelldobler (US).

1991

  • Sumio Iijima of NEC creates single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (Japan)
  • The World Wide Web becomes publicly available.
  • Trevor Baylis invents the hand-cranked clockwork radio (UK).
The original Baygen clockwork radio.

The original Baygen clockwork radio.

  • John Bardeen dies.
  • Carl Anderson dies.

1992

  • Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail discover two Earth-sized planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12 (US).
  • Barbara McClintock dies.

1994

  • Andrew Wiles solves Fermat’s last theorem (UK).
  • Edward Witten suggests that the multiple existing string theories are variations on his 11-dimensional M-theory (US).
  • Tim White discovers a new bipedal hominid species, Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived 4.5 to 4.2 mya (Ethiopia).
  • Linus Pauling dies.

1995

  • Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz observe a giant planet in a four-day orbit around 51 Pegasi, a main sequence star (France).
  • Scientists at the the Roslin Institute clone two sheep from differentiated embryonic cells (UK).
  • Meave Leakey discovers a new species of bipedal hominid, Australopithecus anamensis, which lived between 4.2 and 3.9 mya (Kenya).
  • NSFNET is decommissioned and replaced by networks operated by commercial Internet Service Providers (US).
  • A team at Fermilab finds the top quark (US).
  • The Global Positioning System (GPS) becomes fully operational (US).
  • Philips (The Netherlands), Sony (Japan), Toshiba (Japan) and Panasonic (US) jointly release the first digital videodiscs (DVDs).
  • Jonas Salk dies.
  • J. Presper Eckert dies.

1996

  • Ian Wilmut and his team at the Roslin Institute clone Dolly the sheep, the first animal cloned using a somatic cell (UK).
Dolly the cloned sheep and her first lamb Bonny, in 1998-1999.

Dolly the cloned sheep and her first lamb Bonny, in 1998-1999.

  • Carl Sagan dies.
  • Frank Whittle dies.

1997

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin launch the Google website and search engine (US).

1998

  • Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess discover that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (US).
  • Walter K. Boyd invents the high-volume low-speed (HVLS) ceiling fan (US).
  • High definition TV is introduced in the US.
  • Annals of the Former World, by John McPhee (US).
  • Completion of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, world’s longest suspension bridge (Japan).

2000

  • The Human Genome Project announces its first draft of the human genome (US).
  • Craig Ventner and Celera Genomics sequence the genome of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) (US).
  • Scientists at Fermilab observe the tau neutrino (US).

2001

  • The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics jointly publish their sequencing of the human genome (US).
  • Scientists discover the scaly-foot gastropod, a new species, in a hydrothermal vent community in the Indian Ocean.
  • Tony Fadell, Michael Dhuey and Jonathan Ive at Apple invent the iPOD (US).
  • Claude E. Shannon dies.

2002

  • Stephen Jay Gould dies.

2003

  • Peter Brown discovers Homo floresiensis (nicknamed ‘Hobbit’), which lived between 95,000 and 17,000 years ago (Indonesia).
  • Edward Teller, ‘father of the hydrogen bomb’, dies.

2004

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his team launch Facebook (US).
  • The Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge, opens (France).
The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.

The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.

  • An earthquake in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale and the resulting tsunami kill 280,000 people in 14 countries.
  • Francis Crick dies.

2005

  • The US crashes a space probe into Comet Tempel I.
  • Hans Bethe dies.
  • Maclyn McCarty dies.
  • Charles David Keeling dies.
  • Jack Kilby dies.

2007

  • Theodore Maiman dies.

2009

  • Analog broadcast television in the US ends on June 12.
  • Norman Ernest Borlaug, Green Revolution pioneer, dies.

2010

  • Siddhartha Mukherjee publishes The Emperor of All Maladies (US).
  • Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is completed in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
Dubai now boasts the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai now boasts the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

  • An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale kills 158,000-223,000 people in Haiti.

2011

  • Lynn Margulis dies.
  • Simon van der Meer dies.

2012

  • The Higgs boson is detected in the Large  Hadron Collider at CERN (Switzerland).
  • Neil Armstrong dies.

2013

  • The Neanderthal Genome Project sequences the genome of Homo neanderthalensis (Germany).
  • Frederick Sanger dies.

2014

  • The Kepler Space Telescope identifies the first exoplanet similar to Earth in size with an orbit within the habitable zone of another star (US).

2015

  • South African paleoanthropologist Lee Berger announces the discovery of a new hominin species, Homo naledi, after finding bones from 15 different individuals in a South African cave.
Some of the thousands of bone fragments found by Lee Berger's team in South Africa.

Some of the thousands of bone fragments found by Lee Berger’s team in South Africa.

  • Scientists use CRISPR gene-editing technology to modify the DNA of a nonviable human embryo (China) and insert genes from an extinct woolly mammoth into the living cells of an elephant (Harvard Univ.)
  • The National Wildlife Foundation announces the discovery of 211 new species in the Eastern Himalayas.
  • NASA detects flowing salty streaks on Mars that vary with the seasons, the strongest evidence yet of water there.

For the Timeline of Human History, go here.

For a list of the Most Important Scientific Discoveries, go here.

For a list of the Best Inventions of All Time, go here.

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