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The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project: Providing access to classic scientific papers and other scholarly materials, since 1993. More About:  ESP | OUR CONTENT | THIS WEBSITE | WHAT'S NEW | WHAT'S HOT

ESP Timelines

Comparative Timelines

The ESP Timeline (one of the site's most popular features) has been completely updated to allow the user to select (using the timeline controls above each column) different topics for the left and right sides of the display.

Select:

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1540

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Venetian mathematician Giambattista Benedetti publishes two editions of Demonstratio proportionum motuum localium, developing his new doctrine of the speed of bodies in free fall.

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1585

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Galileo publishes La Billancetta, describing an accurate balance to weigh objects in air or water.

1586

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1587

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Glass lenses are developed in the Netherlands and used for the first time in microscopes and telescopes.

1590

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1623

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Galileo presents to Cesi, founder of the Lincean Academy, a "little eyeglass" (a microscope). The invention will enable the Linceans to study natural objects with unprecedented precision. They will start with bees, then move on to flies and dust mites.

1624

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1661

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1662

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1663

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image Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of different colors.

1664

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1674

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The English physicist Sir Isaac Newton argues that light is composed of particles, which are refracted by acceleration toward a denser medium, and posits the existence of “aether” to transmit forces between the particles.

1675

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image The first quantitative estimate of the speed of light was made in 1676 by Danish astronomer Ole Rømer. From the observation that the periods of Jupiter's innermost moon Io appeared to be shorter when the Earth was approaching Jupiter than when receding from it, he concluded that light travels at a finite speed, and estimated that it takes light 22 minutes to cross the diameter of Earth's orbit. Christiaan Huygens combined this estimate with an estimate for the diameter of the Earth's orbit to obtain an estimate of speed of light of 220000 km/s, 26% lower than the actual value.

1676

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1749

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1750

image Carolus Linnaeus's Philosophia Botanica rejects any notion of evolution and continues his work in classifying plants.

image Benjamin Franklin describes electricity as a single fluid and distinguishes between positive and negative electricity in Experiments and Observations on Electricity. He shows that electricity can magnetize and demagnetize iron needles.

1751

image Linnaeus's Species Plantarum completes his development of the use of binary nomenclature in botany. The work still provides the foundation for the modern classification of species.

image Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis's Système de la Nature provides a theoretical speculation on heredity and the origin of species by chance.

image The lightning conductor is invented by Benjamin Franklin, whose experiments with lightning include a flying a kite in a thunderstorm. The kite experiment shows that lightning is a form of electricity, similar to the discharge from a Leyden jar.

1752

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image Russian scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann is killed performing a lightning experiment in St. Petersburg. Richmann is electrocuted in while trying to quantify the response of an insulated rod to a nearby storm. The incident, reported worldwide, underscored the dangers inherent in experimenting with insulated rods and in using protective rods with faulty ground connections.

1753

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1754

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1755

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image William Cullen observes the cooling effect of evaporating liquids and publishes the results in An Essay on the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and Other Means of Producing Cold.

1756

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1757

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1758

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1759

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image Photometria by German physicist Johann Lambert is an investigation of light reflections from planets, introducing the term ALBEDO (whiteness) for the differing reflectivities of planetary bodies.

image In experiments with primitive apparatus, Daniel Bernoulli decides that the electrical force obeys an inverse square law similar to that of gravity.

1760

image Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter'S Vorläufige nachricht von einigen das geschlecht der pflantzen betreffende versuche and beobachtungen describes his research in heredity in plants.

image Joseph Black discovers latent heat by finding that ice, when melting, absorbs heat without changing in temperature. Later he measures the latent heat of steam — that is, the heat required to keep water boiling without raising its temperature.

1761

Jean-Baptiste Robinet's five-volume De la nature claims that organic species form a linear scale of progress, without gaps.

image Between 1761 and 1766, Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter (Germany) demonstrates that hybrid offspring receive traits from both parents (pollen and ovule transmit genetic information), and are intermediate in most traits. First scientific hybrid produced (tobacco). Demonstrates the identity of reciprocal crosses. Notes hybrid vigor, segregation of offspring (parental and non-parental types) from a hybrid.

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1762

image Charles Bonnet's Considerations sur les corps organisées gives his theory of "preformation" — the idea that each creature is already preformed in miniature in the egg, and that the egg contains all future generations in even smaller scale, ad infinitum.

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1763

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1764

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image Leonhard Euler gives a general treatment of the motion of rigid bodies, including the precession and nutation of earth, in Theoria motus corporum solidorum seu rigidorum (Theory of the motion of solid and rigid bodies).

1765

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image Horace-Bénédict de Saussure invents the electrometer, a device for measuring the electric potential by means of the attraction or repulsion of charged bodies.

1766

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1767

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1768

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image John Robison measures the repulsion between two charged bodies and shows that this force is inversely proportional to the distance between the two bodies.

1769

image Charles Bonnet's Philosophical palingenesis, or ideas on the past and future states of living beings contains his view that the females of every species contain the germs of all future generations.

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1770

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1771

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Swedish scientist Johan Carl Wilcke calculates the latent heat of ice (the amount of heat absorbed when ice turns into water).

1772

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1773

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1774

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image Alessandro Volta describes his electrofore perpetuo device for producing and storing a charge of static electricity. This device replaces the Leyden jar and eventually leads to modern electrical condensers.

1775

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image Pierre-Simon Laplace states that if all of the forces on all objects in any one time are known, then the future can be completely predicted.

1776

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image Charles-Augustin Coulomb invents the torsion balance.

1777

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1778

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1779

The peculiar inheritance of human color-blindness reported to The Royal Society of London by Michael Lort.

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1780

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image Coloumb's Théorie des machiones simple (Theory of simple machines) is a study of friction.

Johan Carl Wilcke introduces the concept of SPECIFIC HEAT.

1781

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1782

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image Horace-Bénédict de Saussure's Essais sur l'hygromé (Essay on measuring humidity) describes how to construct a hygrometer from human hair that can measure relative humidity.

1783

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George Atwood accurately determines the acceleration of a free-falling body.

1784

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image Couloumb makes precise measurements of the forces of attraction and repulsion between charged bodies and between magnetic poles, using a torsion balance, demonstrating conclusively that electric charge and magnetism obey inverse-square laws like that of gravity. He also discovers that electrically charged bodies discharge spontaneously. In the 20th century, it is found that cosmic radiation is responsible for this discharge.

1785

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1786

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image Jacques-Alexandre Charles shows that different gases expand by the same amount for a given rise in temperature (Charles Law).

1787

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1788

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The French chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier definitively states the Law of Conservation of Mass (although others had previously expressed similar ideas, including the ancient Greek Epicurus, the medieval Persian Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and the 18th Century scientists Mikhail Lomonosov, Joseph Black, Henry Cavendish and Jean Rey), and identifies (albeit slightly incorrectly) 23 elements which he claims can not be broken down into simpler substances.

1789

image Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Versuch, die Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären (Attempt to explain the metamorphosis of plants) claims incorrectly that all plant structures are modified leaves, but clearly espouses evolution.

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1790

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image Luigi Galvani announces that electricity applied to severed frog's legs causes them to twitch and that frogs legs twitch in the presence of two different metals with no electric current present. The latter discovery eventually leads to Alessandro Volta's developing the electric battery.

image Pierre Prévost develops his theory of exchanges of radiation of heat. He correctly shows that cold is merely the absence of heat and that all bodies continually radiate heat. If they seem not to radiate heat, it means that they are in heat equilibrium with their environment.

1791

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1792

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1793

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image Alessandro Volta demonstrates that the electric force observed by Galvani is not connected with living creatures, but can be obtained whenever two different metals are placed in a conducting fluid.

1794

image Erasmus Darwin (Charles' grandfather) publishes Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life.

James Hutton publishes An Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge. Buried in the 2,138-page philosophical tome is a chapter about variety in nature in which Hutton anticipates Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

image John Dalton's Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colors gives an early account of red-green color blindness, which he refers to as Daltonism, since he is afflicted with the condition.

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1795

image James Hutton's Theory of the Earth published, interpreting certain geological strata as former sea beds. Hutton proposes geological theory of gradualism.

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1796

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1797

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Henry Cavendish determines the mass of Earth by measuring the gravity between two small masses and two large masses. This gives the gravitational constant G, which was the only unknown in Newton's equations. Solving for G enables Cavendish to establish that Earth is about 5.5 times as dense as water.

image Enquiry concerning the source of heat which is excited by friction by Count Rumford (Benjamin Thompson) describes his experiments with boring cannons that show that the caloric theory of heat cannot be true, and that heat should be considered a kind of motion.

1798

image Publication of Thomas Malthus' Essay on the Principle of Population, a work that Darwin asserted helped him frame the principle of evolution by natural selection.

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1799

image The first mammoth fossil fully documented by modern science is discovered near the delta of the Lena River in 1799 by Ossip Schumachov, a Siberian hunter. Schumachov allows it to thaw (a process taking several years) until he can retrieve the tusks for sale to the ivory trade in Yakutsk. He then abandons the specimen, allowing it to decay before its recovery. In 1806, Russian botanist Mikhail Adams rescues what remained of the specimen and brought it to the Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. The specimen, which became known as the Adams Mammoth, is stuffed and mounted, and continues to be on display at the Zoological Institute.

Charles White publishes An Account of the Regular Gradation in Man, and in Different Animals and Vegetables, a treatise on the great chain of being, showing people of color at the bottom of the human chain.

image Alessandro Volta announces his invention, made in 1799, of the electric battery, also known as the Voltaic pile. It consists of a stack of alternating zinc and silver discs separated by felt soaked in brine. It is the first source of a steady electric current.

image William Herschel's "An investigation of the powers of prismatic colors to heat and illuminate objects" tells of his discovery of infrared radiation. While investigating the power of different parts of the spectrum to heat a thermometer, he finds that invisible light beyond the red produces the most heat.

1800

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image The English scientist Thomas Young demonstrates, in his famous double-slit experiment, the interference of light and concludes that light is a wave, not a particle as Sir Isaac Newton had ruled.

1801

image Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's Système de Animaux sans Vertèbres (System for Animals without Vertebrae) includes a classification system for invertebrates and a preliminary view of his ideas of evolution.

image Thomas Young's On the theory of light and colors is the first of three pivotal papers describing his wave theory of light.

1802

In Natural Theology, William Paley uses the analogy of a watch requiring a watchmaker to argue that the universe implies an intelligent designer.

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1803

(no entry for this year)

John Leslie's An experimental inquiry into the nature and propagation of heat establishes that the transmission of heat through radiation has the same properties as the propagation of light.

1804

(no entry for this year)

image Pierre-Simon Laplace measures molecular forces in liquids and announces his theory of capillary forces.

The English chemist John Dalton develops his atomic theory, proposing that each chemical element is composed of atoms of a single unique type, and that, though they are both immutable and indestructible, they can combine to form more complex structures.

1805

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1806

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image Thomas Young introduces the concept of, and is the first to use the word, ENERGY.

1807

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image Étienne-Louis Malus discovers that reflected light is polarized and introduces the term POLARIZATION.

1808

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1809

image 12 Feb 1809

Charles Darwin is born

image Jean Baptiste de Lamarck's theory of evolution presented with the publication of his Philosophie Zoologique, which emphasized the fundamental unity of life and the capacity of species to vary.

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1810

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1811

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image William Hyde Wollaston invents the camera lucida, a device for projecting an image onto a flat surface, such as drawing paper, on which the object can then be traced.

1812

(no entry for this year)

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1813

image Swiss-French botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle introduces the word TAXONOMY in his lifelong project of a 21-volume plant encyclopedia. Seven volumes are published during his lifetime, the remainder after his death.

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1814

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1815

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image Augustin Fresnel demonstrates with his mirror experiment the wave nature of light. He also gives an explanation of polarization.

1816

(no entry for this year)

image image Thomas Young and Augustin Fresnel demonstrated that light waves must be transverse vibrations.

1817

image Georges Cuvier's Le règne animal distribué d'après son organisation (The animal kingdom, distributed according to its organization) gives an account of the whole animal kingdom, dividing it into four distinct groups.

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1818

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image André-Marie Ampère formulates one of the basic laws of electromagnetism, the right-hand rule for the influence of an electric current on the magnet and demonstrates that two wires that are carrying an electric current will attract or repel each other, depending on whether the occurrence are in opposite where the same directions.

image Dominique-François Arago discovers the magnetic effect of electricity passing through a copper wire, demonstrating that iron is not necessary for magnetism.

image Augustin-Jean Fresnel invents the so-called Fresnel lens, a lens used in lighthouses.

image The science of electrodynamics is born with the announcement of Hans Christian Ørsted's discovery of electromagnetism.

1820

image Christian Friedrich Nasse formulated Nasse's law: hemophilia occurs only in males and is passed on by unaffected females.

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1821

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1822

Etienne Geoffroy publishes Anatomical Philosophy discussing similarities between skeletal structures — such as bat wings, paws and hands — that support the evolutionary claims of Lamarck. He also argues that arthropods and vertebrates have similar but inverse body plans, an assertion that will ultimately be widely accepted.

image Between 1822-1824, Thomas Andrew Knight, John Goss, and Alexander Seton all independently perform crosses with the pea and observe dominance in the immediate progeny, and segregation of various hereditary characters in the next generation. However, they do not study later generations or determine the numerical ratios in which the characters are transmitted.

(no entry for this year)

1823

image Thomas Andrew Knight confirms reports of dominance, recessivity, and segregation in peas, but does not detect regularities.

image Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu (On the motive power of fire) by Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot shows that work is done as heat passes from a high temperature to a low temperature; defines work; hints at the second law of thermodynamics; and suggests internal combustion engines.

1824

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1825

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1826

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image Theory of systems of rays by William Rowan Hamilton is a unification of the study of optics through the principle of "varying action". It contains his correct prediction of conical refraction. When his prediction is verified, he becomes a well-known and is knighted.

1827

image Karl Ernst von Baer first demonstrated the mammalian ovum; he regarded the sperm cells as "Entozoa," i.e., parasites, and named them spermatozoa.

(no entry for this year)

1828

A year after discovering the mammalian egg cell, Karl Ernst von Baer publishes Entwickelungsgeschichte der Thiere tracing the developmental history of animals.

image Publication of Karl Ernst von Baer's The Embryology of Animals which strongly opposed preformationism.

image Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis coins the term KINETIC ENERGY in On the calculation of mechanical action.

image Joseph Henry shows that passing an electric current through a wire wrapped into coils produces a greater magnetic field than is produced when that same current is passed through a straight wire, and that an insulated wire wrapped around an iron core can produce a powerful electromagnet.

1829

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1830

image Charles Lyell's multi-volume Principles of Geology appear (between 1830 amd 1833), advancing the theory of uniformitarianism, i.e., the view that geological formations are explainable in terms of forces and conditions observable at present.

Independently, Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry discover that electricity can be induced by changes in a magnetic field (electromagnetic induction), a discovery leading to the first electric generators.

1831

image Charles Darwin joins the crew of the HMS Beagle as the ship's naturalist. The Beagle plans a two-year voyage to map the coast of South America. This turns out to be a five-year trip.

Patrick Matthew publishes On Naval Timber and Arboriculture with an appendix describing what Charles Darwin will later name natural selection. After becoming aware of Matthew's hypothesis, Darwin will acknowledge it in a reprint of On the Origin of Species.

image Robert Brown published his observations reporting the discovery and widespread occurrence of nuclei in cells.

(no entry for this year)

1832

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image image In correspondence, Michael Faraday and William Whewell introduce the terms ELECTRODE, ANODE, ION, CATHODE, ANION, CATION, ELECTROLYTE, and ELECTROLYSIS.

1833

image The first volume of the five-volume Recherches sur les poissons fossiles (Researches on Fossil Fishes) by Jean-Louis-Rodolphe Agassiz is published.

image Mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) shows that the origin of the Earth's magnetic field must lie deep inside the Earth. He makes use of the measurements of the magnetic field made by the physicist Paul Erman in 1828.

1834

(no entry for this year)

image Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis's Mémoire sur les equations du mouvement relatif des sytèms de corps (Memoir on the equations of relative movement of systems of bodies) describes the Coriolis effect: the deflection of a moving body caused by Earth's rotation. The Coriolis effect is important in the study of wind. However, the claim that the Coriolis effect determines the direction water rotates when going down a drain is a myth.

1835

image While serving as scientific officer on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin visits the Galapagos Islands. He observes that the many varieties of finches on the islands seem to have developed from a common ancestor found on the mainland of South America.

image John Frederic Danielle invents the Daniell cell, the first reliable source of electric current, based on the interactions of copper and zinc.

1836

(no entry for this year)

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1837

Charles Darwin formulates the theory of natural selection to explain evolution. Fearful of the reaction his theory will cause, he delays publishing.

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1838

image image M. J. Schleiden and T. Schwann develop the cell theory. Schleiden notes nucleoli within nuclei.

The English scientist Michael Faraday concludes from his work on electromagnetism that, contrary to scientific opinion of the time, the divisions between the various kinds of electricity are illusory. He also establishes that magnetism can affect rays of light, and that there is an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.

1839

(no entry for this year)

image Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel shows that light can initiate chemical reactions that produce an electric current.

1840

image Charles Darwin's Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle appears.

Martin Barry expressed the belief that the spermatozoon enters the egg.

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1841

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image German physician and physicist Julius Robert Mayer is the first to state the law of conservation of energy, noting specifically that heat and mechanical energy are two aspects of the same thing.

image On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies, by William Thomson, aka Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), is published. Thomson's concern with the physics of cooling bodies will draw him into debates concerning the age of the Earth. In 1846 he calculates that the Earth can be no more than 100 million years old.

image The change in the observed frequency of waves emitted from a source, moving relative to the observer, is described by Christian Johann Doppler (1803-1853). This phenomenon is now known as the Doppler Effect.

1842

image Charles Darwin's book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, is published. During the year Darwin composes an abstract of his theory of species evolution.

image Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891) publishes Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Pollens. His paper describes cell division in plants with remarkable accuracy, and discusses seed formation in flowering plants.

image James Prescott Joule determines the mechanical equivalent of heat by measuring the rise in temperature produced in water by stirring it.

1843

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1844

image Charles Darwin first outlines his thoughts on natural selection in an unpublished essay.

image Robert Chambers, a Scottish journalist, publishes (anonymously) his Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, an early book outlining an evolutionary view of the natural world.

image The second part of the Geology of the Beagle, Charles Darwin's Geological Observations on Volcanic Islands Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, is published. Darwin's book claims to supply evidence for the geological theories of Charles Lyell (1797-1875), from areas that Lyell himself had never seen.

image That all the cells in an organism are generated from successive divisions of the egg cell is described by Rudolf Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905). Kölliker shows that the egg is itself a cell.

image Michael Faraday relates magnetism to light after finding the magnetic field effects the polarization of light in crystals. He proposes that light may be waves of electromagnetism. He also describes the phenomena of diamagnetism and paramagnetism, which he explains in terms of his concept of a magnetic field.

1845

(no entry for this year)

image James Prescott Joule discovers that the length of an iron bar changes slightly when the bar is magnetized.

1846

(no entry for this year)

image Über die Erhaltung der Kraft ("On the Conservation of Force"), by Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz (1821-1894), is published. It articulates what later becomes known as the Conservation of Energy.

1847

Jakob Mathias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann announce that cells are the basic units of all living structures.

image An absolute scale of temperatures is proposed by William Thomson (1824-1907). Thomson will become Baron Kelvin of Largs, in 1892, and the scale will come to bear his name.

image Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau suggests that light from a source of moving away from the observer will be shifted toward the red end of the spectrum, a phenomenon known as redshift. This is closely related to, but not exactly the same as, the Doppler effect.

1848

image On the archetype and homologies of the vertebrate skeleton, by Richard Owen (1804-1892), is published. In the book Owen argues that the skull, and other parts of the body, are formed by the modification of the vertebra of different animals.

Richard Owen describes "homologies" — similarities of design in bird wings, fish fins and human hands.

image Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau measures the velocity of light in error by measuring the time it takes for a beam of light to pass between the teeth of a rotating gear. The light is reflected by a mirror and stopped by the next tooth of the gear. The result, 315,000 km/se4c (196,000 miles/sec), is within 5% of today's accepted value.

image In describing Sadi Carnot's theory of heat, published in 1824, William Thomson (1824-1907) uses the term THERMODYNAMICS.

image The speed of light is measured by physicist Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau (1819-1896) to be approximately 186,000 miles per second.

1849

image Botanist Carl Friedrich von Gärtner (1772-1850) publishes Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreiche. The book describes thousands of experiments, many involving the production of hybrids, on more than 500 species of plants. Mendel will study this book in detail when he attends the University of Vienna in the early 1850s, and will cite the book in the opening of his paper of 1865.

image In Über die bewegende Kraft der Wärme, mathematical physicist Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius articulates what comes to be known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The law states that heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a colder body. In 1865, he'll restate the Law, saying that in the closed system entropy always increases.

1850

(no entry for this year)

image Léon Foucault demonstrates that the Earth rotates using a pendulum, suspended from the ceiling of a church.

image Physicist William Thomson proposes a concept of "absolute zero", at which the energy of molecules is zero. He draws on Charles' Law to show that such a condition would hold at -273 degrees Celsius.

1851

(no entry for this year)

image image James Prescott Joule and William Thompson, later Lord Kelvin, establish that an expanding gas becomes cooler. This is now known as the Joule-Thompson effect.

1852

(no entry for this year)

image Léon Foucault demonstrates that the velocity of light is lesson water than in air, tending to confirm the wave theory of light.

image William John Macquorn Rankine introduces the concept of potential energy, or energy of position.

1853

(no entry for this year)

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1854

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1855

image Alfred Russel Wallace publishes "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species," anticipating Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

image Rudolf Virchow states the principle that new cells come into being only by division of previously existing cells: Omnis cellula e cellula.

(no entry for this year)

1856

image The remains of the first known example of what come to be known as the "Neanderthals" is found in a cave near Düsseldorf, in the Neander Valley. The discovery was made by limestone quarry miners and consists of a skullcap, two femora, the three right arm bones, two of the left arm bones, ilium, and fragments of a scapula and ribs. The fossils were given to Johann Carl Fuhlrott, a local teacher and amateur naturalist. The first description of the remains was made by anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen and the find was announced jointly in 1857.In 1997, the specimen was the first to yield Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA fragments. The description of this discovery represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline.

Louis Agassiz publishes Essay on Classification advocating a theory of multiple creations and contradicting both evolution and Noah's ark.

image Gregor Mendel, a monk at the Augustinian monastery of St. Thomas in Brünn, Austria (now Brno, Czechoslovakia), begins breeding experiments with the garden pea, Pisum sativum.

image Über die Art der Bewegung, welche wir Wäe nennen (On the type of motion turned heat) by Rudolf Clausius is establishes his kinetic theory of heat of the mathematical basis. It also explains how evaporation occurs.

1857

(no entry for this year)

image Julius Plücker shows that cathode rays bend under the influence of a magnet, suggesting they are connected in some way with charge. This is an early step along the path that will lead in 1897 to the discovery that cathode rays are composed of electrons.

1858

Rudolf Virchow finalizes the cell theory originally announced by Schleiden and Schwann 11 years earlier by declaring that cells are the basic units of all living things, and all cells are formed by the division of existing cells.

image Alfred Russel Wallace sends to Darwin a manuscript — "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type" — that shows clearly that Wallace has independently formulated a model of evolution by natural selection.

image image Darwin's and Wallace's ideas are jointly presented to the Linnaean Society of London.

image Gustav Kirchoff recognizes that sodium is found on the sun and discovers his black-body radiation law.

image image Physicist Gustav Robert Kirchhoff and chemist R. W. Bunsen explain that when light passes through a gas, or heated material, only certain wavelengths of the light are absorbed. Therefore, an analysis of the spectrum of the light can reveal the chemical makeup of the gas or material.

1859

image Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.

(no entry for this year)

1860

image Louis Agassiz attacks Darwin's the origin of species, rejecting the idea of evolution of the species and arguing that each species was created separately.

image Thomas Henry Huxley (sometimes known as Darwin's bulldog) clashes with Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce about evolution at the annual meeting of The British Association for the Advancement of Science, in what has come to be known as the Huxley-Wilberforce debate.

Bishop Wilberforce is supposed to have asked Huxley sarcastically whether "it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey." Huxley responded, "If then the question is put to me whether I would rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet employs these faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion, I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." Or words to that effect.

(no entry for this year)

1861

image image Between 1861 and 1862, Max Johann Sigismund Schultze (Germany) and Heinrich Anton de Bary (Germany) establish the essential unity of protoplasm in all living cells.

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1862

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1863

Alfred Russel Wallace describes the "Wallace line," the dividing line between Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan fauna, in Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London.

image image Dominique Alexandre Godron and Charles Victor Naudin (France) independently report experiments in plant hybridization. Naudin confirmed Sageret's work, in general discussed work of the early hybridizers, and reported dominance and segregation in Datura (jimsonweed) hybrids. He did not deal with single characters and reported no statistical observations on the second generation. His theoretical explanation of his facts was a forerunner of Mendel's ideas, but inferred rather than deduced.

image James Clerk Maxwell's A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field is the first of his publications to use Michael Faraday's concept of a field as the basis of the mathematical treatment of electricity and magnetism. It introduces Maxwell's equations to describe electromagnetism.

1864

(no entry for this year)

image Rudolf Clausius invents the term ENTROPY to describe the degradation of energy in the closed system.

1865

Franz Schweigger-Seidel and A. von la Valette St. George (Germany) independently prove that a spermatozoon is a single cell and contains nucleus and cytoplasm

image Gregor Mendel presents his work on inheritance in peas to the Brünn Natural History Society. The results are published the following year.

(no entry for this year)

1866

German zoologist Ernst Haeckel publishes General Morphology of Organisms, the first detailed genealogical tree relating all known organisms, incorporating the principles of Darwinian evolution.

image Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (Häckel) hypothesizes that the nucleus of a cell transmits its hereditary information.

image Mendel publishes his work on heredity, Versuche über Pflanzen Hybriden.

(no entry for this year)

1867

H. S. Bidwell (United States) reports controlled pollination in maize.

(no entry for this year)

1868

image Charles Darwin publishes The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, in which he offers his own theory of heredity, which he called the "Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis."

Ernst Haeckel publishes Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, subdividing humanity into 12 separate species. He also asserts that evolution consists of 22 phases, the 21st being the "missing link" between apes and humans.

Thomas Henry Huxley publishes "On the Animals which are Most Nearly Intermediate between Birds and Reptiles," arguing that birds are descendants of dinosaurs. This suggestion will not be taken very seriously for another century.

(no entry for this year)

1869

image Francis Galton publishes Hereditary Genius. In it he describes a scientific study of human pedigrees from which he concludes that intelligence has a genetic basis.

(no entry for this year)

1870

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image George Johnstone Stoney notes that the wavelengths of three lines in the hydrogen spectrum are found to have simple ratios, and anticipation of Balmer's formula, an important step towards understanding the structure of the atom.

image James Clerk Maxwell explains how his statistical theory of heat works by inventing MAXWELL'S DEMON, a mythical creature that can see and handle individual molecules. By opening a gate between two vessels containing a gas only one of fast molecules passing into one, the demon would make heat flow from cold to hot.

1871

image Publication of Charles Darwin's Descent of Man, in which the role of sexual selection in evolution is described for the first time.

Lord Kelvin suggests that "the germs of life might have been brought to the Earth by some meteorite," an idea that will enjoy support a century later.

image Johann Friedrich Miescher isolates a substance which he calls NUCLEIN from the nuclei of white blood cells. The substance was soluble in alkalis but not in acids and came to be known as nucleic acid.

image Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet showed the importance of statistical analysis for biologists and laid the foundation of biometry.

(no entry for this year)

1872

image Ferdinand Julius Cohn coined the term BACTERIUM and founded the study of bacteriology.

image James Clerk Maxwell's Electricity and Magnetism contains the basic laws of electromagnetism and predicts, in great detail, such phenomena as radio waves and pressure caused by light rays.

1873

image Anton Schneider observed and described the behavior of nuclear filaments (chromosomes) during cell division in his study of the platyhelminth Mesostoma. His account was the first accurate description of the process of mitosis in animal cells.

image Irish physicist George J. Stoney estimates the charge of the then unknown electron to be about 10-20 coulomb, close to the modern value of 1.6021892 x 10-19. He also introduces the term ELECTRON.

image The Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge is completed. Although widely believed to have been named after the 18th-century physicist Henry Cavendish, it is, in fact, named after the entire Cavendish family, because the 19th century steel-making descendent of Henry, William Cavendish, financed the laboratory. The structure of DNA was worked out at the Cavendish many years later by Watson and Crick.

1874

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1875

image Eduard Strasburger accurately described the processes of mitotic cell division in plants.

image Francis Galton demonstrates the usefulness of twin studies for elucidating the relative influence of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) upon behavioral traits.

image Oscar Hertwig concludes from a study on sea urchins that fertilization in both animals and plants consists of the physical union of the two nuclei contributed by the male and female parents.

image Eugen Goldstein shows that the radiation in a vacuum tube produced when an electric current is forced through the tube starts at the cathode. Goldstein introduces the term CATHODE RAY to describe the light emitted.

1876

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1877

image Hermann Fol reports watching the spermatozoan of a starfish penetrate the egg. He was able to see the transfer of the intact nucleus of the sperm into the egg, where it became the male pronucleus.

(no entry for this year)

1878

image Wilhelm Friedrich Kühne proposed the term ENZYME (meaning "in yeast") and distinguished enzymes from the micro-organisms that produce them.

(no entry for this year)

1879

image From 1879 through 1882, Walther Flemming describes and names CHROMATIN, MITOSIS, and the SPIREME. He makes the first accurate counts of chromosome numbers and accurately drew the "longitudinal splitting" of chromosomes.

image Pierre Curie discovers the piezoelectric effect: certain substances produce an electric current when they are physically distorted, and conversely they are physically distorted when an electric current is applied to them. This effect has many applications, including, in the 21st century, the construction of high-end tweeters in stereo systems.

1880

image image image Throughout the decade of 1880-1890, Walther Flemming, Eduard Strasburger, Edouard van Beneden, and others elucidate the essential facts of cell division and stressed the importance of the qualitative and quantitative equality of chromosome distribution to daughter cells.

image Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz shows that the electrical charges in atoms are divided into definite integral portions, suggesting the idea that there is a smallest unit of electricity.

1881

(no entry for this year)

image John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh, discovers that the ratio of the atomic mass of oxygen to that of hydrogen is not 16 exactly, as had been assumed, but 15.882.

1882

Walther Flemming publishes accurate depictions of cell division (mitosis) in Zellsubstanz, Kern und Zelltheilung.

image Eduard Strasburger coins the terms CYTOPLASM and NUCLEOPLASM.

image W. Flemming discovers lampbrush chromosomes and coins the term MITOSIS.

(no entry for this year)

1883

image August Weismann points out the distinction in animals between the somatic cell line and the germ cells, stressing that only changes in germ cells are transmitted to further generations.

image Edouard van Beneden announced the principles of genetic continuity of chromosomes and reported the occurrence of chromosome reduction at germ cell formation. The sperm and egg are haploid and fertilization restores the diploid chromosome number.

image Wilhelm Roux offers a possible explanation for the function of mitosis.

image William Keith Brooks, a professor at The Johns Hopkins University, publishes The Law of Heredity: A Study of the Cause of Variation and the Origin of Living Organisms. Although this speculative work did not significantly advance the understanding of heredity, brooks' thinking is important because during his career he provided instruction to and supervised the early research of Thomas H. Morgan, Edmund Beecher Wilson, and William Bateson — ultimately some of the most important contributors to the new science of genetics.

(no entry for this year)

1884

image image image image During 1884-88, identification of the cell nucleus as the basis for inheritance was independently reported by Oscar Hertwig, Eduard Strasburger, Albrecht von Kölliker, and August Weismann.

image Gregor Mendel dies on January 6th, without ever knowing that his work on peas would lead to the transformation of biological research.

image image image Walther Flemming, Eduard Strasburger and Edouard van Beneden demonstrate that chromosome doubling occurs by a process of longitudinal splitting. Strasburger describes and names the PROPHASE, METAPHASE, and ANAPHASEstages of chromosomal division.

Johann Jakob Balmer discovers the formula for the hydrogen spectrum that will later inspire Niels Bohr to develop his model of the atom.

1885

image August Weismann formulates the germ-plasm theory which held that the germ plasm was separate from the somatoplasm and was continuous from generation to generation.

image Carl Rabl theorized the individuality of chromosomes in all stages of the cell cycle.

image Walther Flemming observed sister chromatids passing to opposite poles of the cell during mitosis.

image William Crookes proposes that atomic weights measured by chemists are averages of the weights of different kinds of atoms of the same element (although it will not be until 1910 that Frederick Soddy identifies these different kinds of atoms as isotopes).

1886

image Francis Galton devised a new useful statistical tool, the correlation table.

image Hugo de Vries (Holland) discovers aberrant evening primrose plants at Hilversum, Holland. Experiments with these extending over 15 years formed the basis for his mutation theory of evolution.

image image Albert Michelson and Edward Morley measure the velocity of light in two directions, attempting to detect the proper motion of Earth through the ether (a hypothesized fluid that was assumed to fill all space, providing a medium for the transport of electromagnetic waves). The Michelson Morley experiment reveals no evidence of motion.

image Ernst Mach notes that airflow becomes disturbed at the speed of sound.

1887

image August Weismann elaborated an all-encompassing theory of chromosome behavior during cell division and fertilization and predicted the occurrence of a reduction division (meiosis) in all sexual organisms.

image Edouard van Beneden demonstrated chromosome reduction in gamete maturation, thereby confirming August Weismann's predictions.

image Wilhelm Roux put forth the suggestion that the linearly arranged qualities of the chromosomes were equally transmitted to both daughter cells at meiosis.

image Heinrich Rudolf Hertz produces and detects radio waves for the first time. Radio waves will be called Hertzian waves until renamed by Marconi, who calls them radiotelegraphy waves.

1888

German anatomist W. von Waldeyer names chromosomes.

image Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer names the CHROMOSOME.

image Theodor Boveri verifies August Weismann's predictions of chromosome reduction by direct observation in Ascaris.

image George Francis Fitzgerald formulates the principle that objects shrink slightly in the direction they are traveling, now known as the Fitzgerald-Lorenz contraction, since Hendrik Antoon Lorentz reaches the same conclusion a few years later.

1889

image Francis Galton publishes Natural Inheritance. In it he describes the quantitative measurement of metric traits in populations. He thus founds biometry and the statistical study of variation. Ultimately, he formulates the Law of Ancestral Inheritance, a statistical description of the relative contributions to heredity made by one's ancestors.

(no entry for this year)

1890

image The numerical equality of paternal and maternal chromosomes at fertilization was established by Theodor Boveri and Jean-Louis-Léon Guignard.

(no entry for this year)

1891

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1892

image Publication of August Weismann's book Das Keimplasma (The Germ Plasm) emphasized meiosis as an exact mechanism of chromosome distribution.

image Wilhelm Wien discovers that the maximum wavelength emitted by hot body varies inversely with its absolute temperature. Wien's law becomes useful in establishing the temperature of stars. The problems he has with deriving an equation to describe black-body radiation lead to Max Planck's introduction of the quantum in 1900.

1893

(no entry for this year)

image Joseph John (J.J.) Thomson announces that he has found that the velocity of cathode rays is much lower than that of light.

1894

image Hans Driesch expounded the view that all nuclei of an organism were equipotential but varied in their activity in accordance with the differentiation of tissues.

image Karl Pearson published the first in a long series of contributions to the mathematical theory of evolution. Methods for analyzing statistical frequency distributions were developed in detail.

image William Bateson's Materials for the Study of Variation emphasized the importance of discontinuous variations, foreshadowing the rediscovery of Mendel's work.

image Charles Thomson Rees Wilson develops the CLOUD CHAMBER, a box containing a gas that is saturated. When a charged particle passes through the gas, small droplets are formed that make the track of the particle visible. The cloud chamber becomes a powerful tool in particle physics.

image Pierre Curie shows that as the temperature of the magnet is increased, there is a level at which the magnetism is disrupted and ceases to exist. This temperature is still called the Curie point.

image Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (Roentgen) discovers X-rays, which will soon be applied in the visualization of bodily structures and in the induction of genetic mutations (both intentionally and accidentally).

1895

(no entry for this year)

image Antoine-Henri Becquerel discovers rays produced by uranium — the first observation of natural radioactivity.

1896

image E. B. Wilson publishes The Cell in Development and Heredity. This influential treatise (ultimately reprinted in several editions) distills the information compiled concerning cytology in the half-century since Schleiden and Schwann put forth the cell theory.

image Joseph John Thomson discovers the electron, the first known particle that is smaller than an atom, in part because he has better vacuum pumps that were previously available. He, and independently, Emil Wiechert, determine the ratio of mass to charge of the particles by deflecting them by electric and magnetic fields.

Marie Curie begins research of "uranium rays" that will lead to the discovery of radioactivity.

1897

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image image Marie and Pierre Curie discovered that thorium, gives off "uranium rays", which Marie renames RADIOACTIVITY.

1898

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image British physicist Ernest Rutherford discovers the radioactivity from uranium has at least two different forms, which he calls alpha and beta rays.

image image image Fritz Geisel, Antoine-Henri Becquerel, and Marie Curie proved the beta rays consist of high-speed electrons.

1899

image image L. Cuénot (France) working with animals, and Strasburger (Germany) working with plants, advance theory that sex is controlled within the germ cell, not by environment.

Richard Altmann renames "nuclein" as NUCLEIC ACID.

The First International Congress of Genetics held in London.

image William Bateson writes a paper on hybridisation and cross-breeding as a method of scientific investigation that anticipates Mendel's rediscovery.

image Paul Karl Ludwig Drude shows that moving electrons conduct electricity in metals.

image Paul Ulrich Villard is the first to observe a radiation that is more penetrating than X-rays, now called gamma rays.

image On December 14, Max Planck announces the first step toward quantum theory. He states that substances can emit light only at certain energies, which implies that some physical processes are not continuous, but occur only in specified amounts called quanta.

1900

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1901

image H. de Vries adopts the term MUTATION to describe sudden, spontaneous, drastic alterations in the hereditary material of Oenothera.

T. H. Montgomery studies spermatogenesis in various species of Hemiptera. He concludes that maternal chromosomes only pair with paternal chromosomes during meiosis.

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1902

image Archibald Garrod, a British physician, reports that alkaptonuria (a human disease) seems to be inherited as a Mendelian recessive.

image C. E. McClung argues that particular chromosomes determine the sex of the individual carrying them, not just in insects, but perhaps in other species (including man).

image Walter Sutton concludes that (a) chromosomes have individuality, (b) that they occur in pairs, with one member of each pair contributed by each parent, and (c) that the paired chromosomes separate from each other during meiosis.

image T. Boveri studies sea urchin embryos and finds that in order to develop normally, the organism must have a full set of chromosomes, and from this he concludes that the individual chromosomes must carry different essential hereditary determinants.

image William Bateson coins terms that will become essential to describing findings in the new science of heredity: GENETICS, F1, F2, ALLELOMORPH (later shortened to ALLELE), HOMOZYGOTE, HETEROZYGOTE, and EPISTASIS.

Physicist Ernest Rutherford lectures the British Association that radioactivity could power the sun and maintain its heat, meaning the sun and Earth could be much older than Lord Kelvin's estimate.

1903

image The concepts of PHENOTYPE, GENOTYPE, and SELECTION were introduced and clearly defined by Wilhelm Ludwig Johannsen.

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1904

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Albert Einstein proposes the special theory of relativity (E=mc2).

1905

K. S. Merezhkovsky suggests that chloroplasts originated as a cyanobacterium swallowed by a protozoan, i.e., algal and plant cells result from two independent organisms that became symbionts. The idea will be largely forgotten until it is suggested again in the 1960s.

image Lucien Claude Cuénot performs crosses between mice carrying a gene that gives them yellow fur. Since they always produce yellow furred and agouti offspring in a 2:1 ratio, he concludes they are heterozygous. (In 1910, W. E. Castle and C. C. Little will show that yellow homozygotes die in utero. This dominant allele is thus the first gene shown to behave as a homozygous lethal.)

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1906

image image William Bateson and Reginald Crundall Punnett report the discovery of two new genetic principles: LINKAGE and GENE INTERACTION.

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1907

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1908

image Godfrey Harold Hardy, a Cambridge mathematician, writes a letter to the editor of Science, suggesting that Mendelian mechanisms acting alone have no effect on allele frequencies. The letter begins, I am reluctant to intrude in a discussion concerning matters of which I have no expert knowledge, and I should have expected the very simple point which I wish to make to have been familiar to biologists. However,... This short (less than one page) letter constitutes Hardy's entire lifetime contribution to the field of biology, yet still forms the mathematical basis for population genetics.

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1909

image T. H. Morgan, later to become the first recipient of the Nobel Prize for work in genetics, writes a paper expressing doubts about the profusion of Mendelian explanations for inherited properties.

image A. E. Garrod publishes Inborn Errors of Metabolism, the earliest discussion of the biochemical genetics of man (or any other species).

image George H. Shull advocates the use of self-fertilized lines in production of commercial seed corn. The hybrid corn program that resulted, created an abundance of foodstuffs worth billions of dollars.

H. Nilsson Ehle puts forward the multiple-factor hypothesis to explain the quantitative inheritance of seed-coat color in wheat.

image W. Johannsen's studies of the inheritance of seed size in self-fertilized lines of beans leads him to realize the necessity of distinguishing between the appearance of an organism and its genetic constitution. He invents the terms PHENOTYOPE and GENOTYPE to serve this purpose, and he also coins the word GENE.

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1912

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1913

image A. H. Sturtevant, an undergraduate working with Morgan at Columbia, provides the experimental basis for the linkage concept in Drosophila and produces the first GENETIC MAP.

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1915

image Calvin Bridges identifies strains of mutant fruit flies with extra pairs of wings. Decades later, these strains will help biologists understand Hox genes that control the head-to-toe anatomy of widely varying animals.

image Frederick Twort discovers a virus capable of infecting and destroying bacteria.

image image image image Thomas Hunt Morgan, Alfred Henry Sturtevant, Calvin Blackman Bridges, and Hermann Joseph Muller publish The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity. This monograph provides the first systematic description of the actual mechanisms that control inheritance as evidenced in the Mendelian model. Here, for the first time, the gene is made real.

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1916

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1917

image British polymath D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson publishes On Growth and Form arguing that the forms Darwinian natural selection can produce through evolution are constrained by physical and mathematical laws, and that organic structures often emulate inorganic natural structures. His analysis led the way for the scientific explanation of morphogenesis, the process by which patterns and body structures are formed in plants and animals. Thompson's description of the mathematical beauty of nature and the mathematical basis of the forms of animals stimulated thinkers as diverse as Julian Huxley, Conrad Hal Waddington, Alan Turing, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Eduardo Paolozzi, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe.

image C. B. Bridges discovers the first chromosome deficiency in Drosophila.

image Felix Hubert D'Herelle, independently of Frederick Twort, discovers a virus capable of infecting and destroying bacteria, which he calls a BACTERIOPHAGE.

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1918

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1919

image Thomas Hunt Morgan and coworkers publish The Physical Basis of Heredity, a book-length summary of the rapidly growing findings in genetics.

image C. B. Bridges discovers chromosomal duplications in Drosophila.

image T. H. Morgan calls attention to the equality in Drosophila melanogaster between the number of linkage groups and the haploid number of chromosomes.

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1920

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1921

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1922

Lillian V. Morgan discovers attached-X chromosomes in Drosophila.

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1923

A. E. Boycott and C. Diver describe "delayed" Mendelian inheritance controlling the direction of the coiling of the shell in the snail Limnea peregra. A. H. Sturtevant suggests that the direction of coiling of the Limnea shell is determined by the character of the ooplasm, which is in turn controlled by the mother's genotype.

image C. B. Bridges discovers chromosomal translocations in Drosophila.

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1924

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1925

Tennessee schoolteacher John Thomas Scopes is tried for teaching evolution in the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial." Two-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan leads the prosecution. Labor lawyer Clarence Darrow leads the defense and goads Bryan into declaring that humans are not mammals. The conviction will be overturned on a technicality, and the anti-evolution law will remain on the books for decades.

image A. H. Sturtevant analyzes the Bar-eye phenomenon in Drosophila and discovers position effect.

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1926

A. H. Sturtevant finds the first inversion in Drosophila.

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1927

image Bernard O. Dodge initiates genetic studies on Neurospora.

image H. J. Muller reports the artificial induction of mutations in Drosophila by x-rays.

image J. B. S. Haldane suggests that the genes known to control certain coat colors in various rodents and carnivores may be evolutionarily homologous.

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1928

image Frederick Griffith discovers type-transformation of pneumococci. This lays the foundation for the work of Avery, MacLeod, and McCarthy (1944).

image L. J. Stadler reports the artificial induction of mutations in maize, and demonstrates that the dose-frequency curve is linear.

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1929

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1930

image R. A. Fisher publishes Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, a formal analysis of the mathematics of selection.

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1931

C. Stern, and independently H. B. Creighton and B. McClintock, provide the cytological proof of crossing over.

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1932

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1933

Robert Broom publishes The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design? arguing that evolution is really driven by spiritual agencies, some with conflicting priorities, and that mankind is the ultimate aim of all evolution.

image T. H. Morgan receives a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his development of the theory of the gene. He is the first geneticist to receive this award.

image Barbara McClintock demonstrates in maize that a single exchange within the inversion loop of a paracentric inversion heterozygote generates an acentric and a dicentric chromatid.

T. S. Painter initiates cytogenetic studies on the salivary gland chromosomes of Drosophila.

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1934

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1935

image C. B. Bridges publishes the salivary gland chromosome maps for Drosophila melanogaster.

G. W. Beadle and B. Ephrussi and A. Kuhn and A. Butenandt work out the biochemical genetics of eye-pigment synthesis in Drosophila and Ephestia, respectively.

image J. B. S. Haldane is the first to calculate the spontaneous mutation frequency of a human gene.

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1936

A. H. Sturtevant and T. Dobzhansky publish the first account of the use of inversions in constructing a chromosomal phylogenetic tree.

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1937

T. Dobzhansky publishes Genetics and the Origin of Species — a milestone in evolutionary genetics.

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1938

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1939

E. L. Ellis and M. Delbrück perform studies on coliphage growth that mark the beginning of modem phage work. They devise the "one-step growth" experiment, which demonstrates that after the phage adsorbs onto the bacterium, it replicates within the bacterium during the "latent period," and finally the progeny are released in a "burst."

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1940

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1941

G. W. Beadle and E. L. Tatum publish their classic study on the biochemical genetics of Neurospora and promulgate the ONE-GENE, ONE-ENZYME theory.

K. Mather coins the term polygenes and describes polygenic traits in various organisms.

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1942

Ernst Mayr publishes Systematics and the Origin of Species, and Julian Huxley publishes Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. Both books are significant contributions to the neo darwinian synthesis combining elements of natural selection, genetics, mutation, population biology and paleontology.

S. E. Luria and T. F. Anderson publish the first electron micrographs of bacterial viruses. T2 has a polyhedral body and a tail.

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1944

Theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishes What is Life? arguing that living organisms store and pass along information, perhaps using something like Morse code. This book will inspire James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who will share the Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

O. T. Avery, C. M. MacLeod, and M. McCarty describe the pneumococcus transforming principle. The fact that it is rich in DNA suggests that DNA and not protein is the hereditary chemical.

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1945

image S. E. Luria demonstrates that mutations occur in bacterial viruses.

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1946

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1947

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1948

image H. J. Muller coins the term dosage compensation.

J. Lederberg and N. Zinder, and, independently, B. D. Davis develop the penicillin selection technique for isolating biochemically deficient bacterial mutants.

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1949

A. D. Hershey and R. Rotman demonstrate that genetic recombination occurs in bacteriophage.

J. V. Neel provides genetic evidence that the sickle-cell disease is inherited as a simple Mendelian autosomal recessive.

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1950

At a Cold Spring Harbor Symposium, Ernst Mayr argues that all hominid specimens so far found should be categorized in the genus Homo: H. transvaalensis, H. erectus, and H. sapiens.

E. Chargaff lays the foundations for nucleic acid structural studies by his analytical work. He demonstrates for DNA that the numbers of adenine and thymine groups are always equal and so are the numbers of guanine and cytosine groups. These findings later suggest to Watson and Crick that DNA consists of two polynucleotide strands joined by hydrogen bonding between A and T and between G and C.

E. M. Lederberg discovers lambda, the first viral episome of E. coli.

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1951

Barbara McClintock publishes a paper describing "jumping" genes that can move around within an organism's genome.

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1952

A. D. Hershey and M. Chase demonstrate that the DNA of phage enters the host, whereas most of the protein remains behind.

F. Sanger and his colleagues work out the complete amino acid sequence for the protein hormone insulin, and show that it contains two polypeptide chains held together by disulfide bridges.

J. Lederberg and E. M. Lederberg invent the replica plating technique.

N. D. Zinder and J. Lederberg describe transduction in Salmonella.

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1953

image image J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick propose a model for DNA comprised of two helically intertwined chains tied together by hydrogen bonds between the purines and pyrimidines.

W. Hayes discovers polarized behavior in bacterial recombinations. He isolates the Hfr H strain of E. coli and shows that certain genes are readily transferred from Hfr to F- bacteria, whereas others are not.

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1954

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1955

image S. Benzer works out the fine structure of the rII region of phage T4 of E. coli, and coins the terms CISTRON,RECON, and MUTON.

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1956

F. Jacob and E. L. Wollman are able experimentally to interrupt the mating process in E. coli and show that a piece of DNA is inserted from the donor bacterium into the recipient.

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1957

Francis Crick proposes the "central dogma" of genetic information transfer: DNA specifies RNA and RNA specifies cell proteins.

V. M. Ingram reports that normal and sickle-cell hemoglobin differ by a single amino acid substitution.

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1958

Frederick Sanger receives a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin.

George W. Beadle, Edward L. Tatum, and Joshua Lederberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for Beadle and Tatum's discovery that genes act by regulating definite chemical events, and for Lederberg's discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria.

image F. H. C. Crick suggests that during protein formation the amino acid is carried to the template by an adaptor molecule containing nucleotides and that the adaptor is the part that actually fits on the RNA template. Crick thus predicts the discovery of transfer RNA.

F. Jacob and E. L. Wollman demonstrate that the single linkage group of E. coli is circular and suggest that the different linkage groups found in different Hfr strains result from the insertion at different points of a factor in the circular linkage group that determines the rupture of the circle.

M. Meselson and F. W. Stahl use the density gradient equilibrium centrifugation technique to demonstrate the semiconservative distribution of density label during DNA replication in E. coli.

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1959

Severo Ochoa and Arthur Kornberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxiribonucleic acid.

J. Lejeune, M. Gautier, and R. Turpin show that Down syndrome is a chromosomal aberration involving trisomy of a small telocentric chromosome.

R. L. Sinsheimer demonstrates that bacteriophage phiX174 of E. coli contains a single-stranded DNA molecule.

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1960

Alister Hardy promotes his Homo aquaticus or "aquatic ape" hypothesis to the British Sub Aqua Club. He will follow up this announcement with several magazine articles.

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1961

image image F. Jacob and J. Monod publish "Genetic regulatory mechanisms in the synthesis of proteins," a paper in which the theory of the OPERON is developed.

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1962

Human geneticist James Neel develops the "thrifty genotype" hypothesis that human ancestors endured feast-famine cycles that made the human body very effective in storing fat for lean times.

image image image James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in elucidating the structure of DNA.

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1963

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1964

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1966

Willi Hennig works on a new approach to assessing evolutionary relationships, known as cladistics. Although it will be hotly debated, this technique will eventually become standard practice in paleontology, botany and zoology.

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1967

Lynn Sagan (later Lynn Margulis) hypothesizes that chloroplasts originated as cyanobacteria, and that mitochondria originated as bacteria. She suggests that both were engulfed by other cells and began functioning as symbionts.

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1968

A.G. Cairns-Smith publishes a paper suggesting that the first life on Earth might have been fine-grained clay crystals. He will publish on this topic several more times before his death, but the experimental evidence will remain scant, perhaps in part because sufficient technology doesn't yet exist to test the hypothesis.

Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khorana, and Marshall W. Nirenberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.

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1969

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1970

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1971

Five pairs of adult wall lizards are moved between two islands in Croatia. Over the next few decades, the lizards on the new island will evolve larger heads, stronger bites, and a greater tolerance for an herbivorous diet than the original lizard population.

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1973

Half in jest, Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggest that ancient aliens may have seeded the early Earth with DNA, and all life on this planet arose from that.

Peter and Rosemary Grant begin a long-term study of finches on the Galápagos Islands. In succeeding years, as they watch finches adapt to alternating wet and dry conditions, the Grants will uncover evidence that evolution proceeds more rapidly than what Darwin estimated.

Taking a line from Through the Looking Glass, Leigh Van Valen establishes the "Red Queen" hypothesis of coevolution between predator and prey: "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

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1974

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1975

Mary-Claire King and Allan Wilson publish their finding that human and chimpanzee DNA sequences differ by roughly 1 percent, meaning humans have more in common with chimps than chimps do with gorillas. King and Wilson suggest that humans and chimps differ largely in the DNA that switches on and off genes.

David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco, and Howard Temin share Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.

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1976

Overturning the classifications introduced by R. H. Whittaker seven years earlier, Carl Woese proposes to divide all living things into three categories: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya.

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1977

Submersible vehicle Alvin reveals deep sea vents on the ocean floor that give rise to an ecosystem owing nothing to photosynthesis. This finding prompts speculation that life on Earth first arose in deep-sea, not shallow-water, ecosystems.

Fred Sanger and collaborators publish the first complete DNA sequence of an organism, a bacteriophage, or virus infecting bacteria.

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1979

image Fresh out of law school and short on cash, Robert Heggestad buys an antique cabinet on an installment plan from a Virginia antique shop. The cabinet turns out to contain some 1,700 plant and invertebrate specimens from the personal collection of Alfred Russel Wallace.

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1980

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus describe genetic mutations affecting the body plan of the fruit fly Drosophila, and identify genes controlling the basic body plans of all animals. These genes will eventually be known as Hox genes.

Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Berg cited for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA, and Gilbert and Sanger cited for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids. This is Sanger's second Nobel, the first having come in 1958 for his work on the structure of insulin.

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1981

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1982

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1984

David Raup and Jack Sepkoski publish the controversial claim that mass extinctions are regularly spaced at 26 million years.

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1985

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1986

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1987

Allan Wilson and Rebecca Cann announce that all humans share a common ancestor who lived in Africa as recently as 150,000 years ago. Because the discovery is based on examination of mitochondrial DNA, the ancestral entity will be given the popular (and somewhat misleading) name of "Mitochondrial Eve." The controversial finding will be supported by another discovery in 2000.

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1988

Molecular biologist John Cairns describes experiments suggesting that bacteria facing environmental stress can "direct" their mutations to produce favorable adaptations. Directed mutation will remain a controversial idea, but the possibility that organisms mutate at a greater rate (hypermutation) under environmental stress will gain more acceptance.

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1990

The Human Genome Project is launched with the goal of sequencing all 3 billion base pairs of human DNA by 2005.

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1991

Chicxulub crater is discovered in the Yucatán Peninsula, supporting the asteroid impact theory first suggested in 1980.

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1992

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1994

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1996

Using "molecular clock" estimates of mutation rates, Greg Wray and collaborators hypothesize that metazoan phyla diverged from each other 1 billion years ago, or even earlier. In other words, they argue that metazoans existed hundreds of millions of years before the earliest metazoan fossils (about 600 million years old) yet found.

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1997

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1998

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1999

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2000

Based on studies of Y chromosomes, Peter Underhill publishes his finding that all modern humans share a common ancestor, bolstering the 1987 announcement from Cann and Wilson. This suggests a "bottleneck" event (population crash) among human ancestors living in Africa roughly 150,000 years ago.

Sally McBearty and Alison Brooks publish "The Revolution that Wasn't" challenging the long-held notion of a "big bang" in human intellectual evolution approximately 40,000 years ago. Instead, they cite evidence for earlier appearances of modern behavior.

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2001

image Alfred Sturtevant's A History of Genetics is republished jointly by the Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Sturtevant provides an insider's perspective (he created the FIRST GENETIC MAP ) to this first-rate summary of the foundations of classical genetics.

CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOOK

The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium (Human Genome Project) publishes the initial sequence and analysis of the human genome in Nature Magazine. Celera Genomics simultaneously publishes a draft human genome sequence in Science Magazine.

Leland H. Hartwell, R. Timothy Hunt, and Sir Paul M. Nurse share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle.

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2003

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2004

Peter Brown, Mike Morwood and collaborators announce the find of a 1-meter-tall hominid skeleton on the Indonesian island of Flores. Found near the remains of giant lizards and pygmy elephants, the new species is formally named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the "hobbit." Though some suspect it's a kind of malformed, small-brained midget, this interpretation will be answered by braincase scans, wrist bones too primitive to be Homo sapiens, and the announcement of several more individuals of the same species. Later studies will suggest direct ancestry from Homo erectus, although another study will argue the remains really indicate Down syndrome. The species is initially given an estimated age as young as 11,000 years, but later research will indicate an age of at least 50,000 years.

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2005

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2006

Jean Moliner, Gerhard Ries, Cyril Zipfel and Barbara Hohn publish their findings on stressed plants that not only mutate at a greater rate, but also pass an increased mutation tendency to their offspring.

Andrew Z. Fine and Craig C. Mello share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of RNA interference — gene silencing by double-stranded RNA.

Roger D. Kornberg was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.

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2008

After studying grunting fish, Andrew Bass and colleagues report that the part of the brain controlling volcalization is extremely primitive, and propose that vertebrates evolved the ability to communicate through sound some 400 million years ago.

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2009

Gabriele Gentile and colleagues describe a previously overlooked pink iguana, referred to as "rosada," on the Galápagos Islands. The pink lizard species may represent the earliest divergence of land animals on the island chain that Charles Darwin made famous.

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz, and Ada E. Yonath share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

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2010

Ryan Kerney announces the discovery of algae (Oophila amblystomatis) living inside spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) embryo cells — the first discovery of a photosynthetic symbiont living inside vertebrate cells.

Candy makers Hershey and Mars finance competing genomic sequences for cacao (the primary ingredient of chocolate).

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2011

Two studies released in the same week indicate that modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians descended from an earlier migration out of Africa than did other populations. Further, the studies suggest that participants in the earlier migration interbred with Denisovans.

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2012

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2013

Based on new genetic research, David Reich, Svante Pääbo and collaborators announce at a Royal Society of London meeting that Denisovans bred with Neanderthals, ancestors of people now living in East Asia and Oceania, and another group of extinct archaic humans who were genetically dissimilar to both Neanderthals and modern humans. A few weeks later, Matthias Meyer, Svante Pääbo and coauthors describe the oldest hominin DNA sequence to date, from a 400,000-year-old femur from Spain's Sima de los Huesos. The mitochondrial DNA indicate an unexpected link to Denisovans.

Using genetic material from more than 300 individuals, including aboriginal Australians from the Northern Territory, a team of geneticists argues that Australians — long believed isolated from other populations for some 45,000 years — received substantial gene flow from India about 4,230 years ago.

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2014

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2015

Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Arhat Abzhanov and colleagues announce that they have reverse engineered dinosaur snouts in chicken embryos by altering beak-building gene expressions.

Stephen Hackley publishes a review article arguing that human brains retain vestigial neural circuitry, the same circuitry that currently allows other mammals (and once allowed our ancient ancestors) to orient their ears toward novel stimuli.

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2016

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2017

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2018

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2019

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ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

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Timeline

The new, dynamic Timeline from the Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project gives users more control over the timeline display.

We seek your suggestions for timeline content, both for individual events and for entire subjects.

To submit a correction or a recommendation or to propose new Timeline content (or to volunteer as a Timeline Editor), click HERE.

The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project needs help: with acquiring content, with writing, with editing, with graphic production, and with financial support.

CLICK HERE to see what ESP needs most.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 06 MAR 2017 )