Scientific and Technological Events from 1700 C.E. to 1799 C.E.

© Copyright Andy Pepperdine, 2007 - 2009

Some of these entries need cross-checking against more citations.


Science events

Political events


Halley makes his prediction of the return of the comet that bears his name; which it duly did in 1758.

Hooke (posthumously) publishes Discourse on Earthquakes developing the notion of earth movements.


Fahrenheit devises first thermometric scale using alcohol. In 1714 he switches to using mercury so that he can measure the boiling point of water.


Halley discovers the proper motions of stars by comparing observations with Ptolemy's catalogue.


Newcomen builds first practical steam engine near Dudley Castle.


Lady Mary Montagu records the practice in Turkey of deliberately causing a disease in order to prevent a serious infection of it (inoculation).


Catherine I (wife of Peter the Great) of Russia founds St. Petersburg Academy of Science, and employs many foreigners initially.


Euler moves to St Petersburg and begins the most prolific mathematical career in history. A large portion of modern analytical notation is due to him, including f(n) for a function. He also made advances in number theory, elasticity, wave theory applied to acoustics, light, hydraulics and music, the motion of the moon, and especially convergence of infinite series.


Linnaeus publishes Systema naturae


Euler founds topology as a branch of mathematics.


Van Musschenbroek and von Kleist independently invent the Leiden jar, the first capacitor to store electrical energy.


Franklin invents lightning conductor.

ca 1754

Black isolates the first pure gas (carbon dioxide).


Wolff writes his thesis Theoria Generationis on the development of the body's organs from undifferentiated tissue.


Watt improves the steam engine by adding a separate condenser to allow the engine to remain hot. Patents it in 1769.


Lavoisier proposes a model for combustion, but did not finalise it until 1777. He showed how to use accurate measurements to make progress in chemistry.


Scheele discovers oxygen but paper not published till 1777 after Priestley  [1]

USA proclaims its independence.


The Montgolfier brothers build hot air balloon to give first manned flight.


Hutton publishes his paper on how the Earth has been moulded by long slow processes. His ideas begin palaeontology.


Galvani publishes De Viribus Electricitatis in Motu Musculari Commentarius introducing the idea of neural impulses being electrical in nature.

Metric system proposed in France.


Gauss, aged 18, finds most of his mathematical ideas and records them in a diary, foreshadowing non-Euclidean geometry, and many developments in number theory.


Jenner tests his ideas on cow pox and smallpox. Publishes results in 1798, naming it vaccination.


Count Rumford suggests heat is not a material substance, but a form of motion, noticing that heat is generated by the work of boring cannons.


[1] J. Emsley, Nature's Building Blocks, Oxford, 2001, p. 299

© Copyright Andy Pepperdine, 2007 - 2009

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