10 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History

Thursday - 20 December, 2017
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Over the course of ages, we have made countless discoveries that have improved the quality of our life and helped us to understand the world around us. It is very difficult (if not impossible) to rank the importance of the discoveries we have made, but one thing is for sure – some of them have literally changed our life. From penicillin and the screw pump to X-rays and electricity, here are 10 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in History.

10 Periodic Table

In 1869, Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev noticed that, when arranged by atomic weight, the chemical elements lined up to form groups with similar properties. With this knowledge, he was able to create the first periodic table, one of the most important discoveries in chemistry.

9 Infrared

Infrared radiation was discovered by British astronomer William Herschel in 1800 when he was studying the heating effect of different colors of light by using a prism to produce a spectrum of colors and thermometers to measure their heating effect. These days, infrared is used in many areas including tracking, heating, meteorology, astronomy etc.

8 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Now used as a very accurate and efficient diagnostic tool in medicine, nuclear magnetic resonance was first described and measured in molecular beams by American physicist Isidor Rabi in 1938. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery in 1944.

7 Moldboard Plow

Invented in the 18th century, the moldboard plow was the first plow that not only dug soil up but turned it over, allowing for the cultivation of harder ground. Without it, agriculture as we know it would not exist in northern Europe or the American Midwest.

6 Camera Obscura

The forerunner of the modern camera, Camera Obscura (meaning dark room), was an optical device used by artists to make quick sketches in the field. The principle of use of a pinhole in a window blind to form an inverted image of an outside scene on an opposite wall of a dark room has been known for centuries, but in 1568, Venetian Daniel Barbaro replaced the pinhole with converging lens.

5 Paper

Although contemporary precursors such as papyrus and amate existed in the Mediterranean world and pre-Columbian Americas, respectively, these materials are not defined as true paper. The first papermaking process was documented in China during the Eastern Han period (25-220 AD), traditionally attributed to the court official Cai Lun.

4 Teflon

The material that most nonstick cookware is now made of was actually discovered by accident as American chemist Roy Plunkett was looking for a replacement for then refrigerants to make refrigerators more home friendly. During one of his experiments, he discovered a strange, slippery resin that later became known as Teflon.

3 Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

Inspired by the observation he made on the second survey voyage of the Beagle (1831 – 1836), Charles Darwin begin to develop what later became known as the theory of evolution by natural selection – the key mechanism of evolution.

2 Liquid Crystals

If Austrian botanical physiologist Friedrich Reinitzer had not discovered liquid crystals while examining the physico-chemical properties of various derivatives of cholesterol back in 1888, there would be no LCD TVs these days.

1 Polio Vaccine

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Jonas Salk announced that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952, an epidemic year for polio, there were 58,000 new cases reported in the US and more than 3,000 deaths caused by the disease.

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