STEM185- The History and Context of STEM Timeline

  • Period: 4000 BCE to 300 BCE

    Ancient Science

  • 3500 BCE

    The Mesopotamians (Cuneiform Tablet)

    The Mesopotamians (Cuneiform Tablet)
    Mesopotamians initiated their research by recording their observations of the world through numerical data. The people of Sumer, now known as Iraq, created a cuneiform tablet. This tablet has a record of 322 Pythagorean triplets dating approximately to 1800 BC. While on their journey, Mesopotamian scientists evolved during the astronomical period. This information helped predict the changes in the Moon and planets, as well as the eclipses of the Sun and Moon (McIntosh, M. A., 2020).
  • 1550 BCE

    Ancient Egypt (Edwin Smith's Papyrus)

    Ancient Egypt (Edwin Smith's Papyrus)
    The discovery of medical documents circles back to the Egyptian Civilization. Edwin Smith's papyrus is known to be the first documentation of medical files. In this papyrus, there is said to be a description and analysis of the brain leading to the development of modern neuroscience. Although found ineffective, ancient Egypt’s strategies for pharmacology were used for many things, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases (Van Middendorp, 2010).
  • 495 BCE

    Theano of Crotone (Writing Treatises)

    Theano of Crotone (Writing Treatises)
    The Greek mathematician and philosopher, and wife of Pythagoras, Theano of Crotone, is known to be the first woman mathematician. After her husband's death, Theano took over the Pythagorean school in southern Italy. Theano was acknowledged for writing treatises about medicine, mathematics, physics, and children's psychology. Most importantly, Theano wrote the principle of the Golden Mean (Wichmann, A., 2022).
  • 384 BCE

    Aristotle (Scientific Theory)

    Aristotle (Scientific Theory)
    Aristotle's work encompassed logic, physics, cosmology, psychology, and much more. He has dominated scientific traditions in late medieval Islam, antiquity, and early modern Europe. His worldview defined scientific methodology and the research agenda up to a few years ago. Aristotle took Plato’s analogy and composed even more fundamental qualities: hot, cold, wet, and dry (McClellan, J. E., III, 2006)..
  • 300 BCE

    The Mayans (Writing System)

    The Mayans (Writing System)
    The Mayans are known for many creations; however, their writing systems were one of the most elite creations thereof. The Mayan writing system was developed during the second half of the Middle Preclassical period. The Mayan script was a combination of syllabograms and logograms. Although provided with nearly 1000 different symbols in the Maya script, some scribes only used between 300 and 500 signs (Cartwright, M., 2023).
  • 300 BCE


    Cartwright, M. (2023, January 05). Maya writing. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from McClellan, J. E., III, & Dorn, H. (2006). Science and Technology in World History (2nd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from
  • 300 BCE


    McIntosh, M. A. (2020, October 20). A history of science in ancient cultures. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from Wichmann, A. (2022, July 15). Theano philosopher and wife of pythagoras. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from
  • 300 BCE


    Van Middendorp, J., Sanchez, G., & Burridge, A. (2010, November). The edwin smith papyrus: A clinical reappraisal of the oldest known document on spinal injuries. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from
  • Period: 1543 to

    Scientific Revolution

  • Thomas Bartholin (Lymphatic System Discovery)

    Thomas Bartholin (Lymphatic System Discovery)
    Thomas Bartholin, a Danish physician, theologian, and mathematician, was the first person to describe the lymphatic system in a human being. As a part of his study, Bartholin performed sections on a human corpse. He discovered lymphatic collection strains in humans, earlier discovered in animals such as dogs. With Bartholin’s intensive research, he was allowed to produce an improved version anatomy book founded by his father (Tietz, T., 2016).
  • Christiaan Huyghens (Pendulum)

    Christiaan Huyghens (Pendulum)
    Christiaan Huyghens revealed information that was vital to the improvement of the construction of telescopes. Huyghens was able to identify the proper shapes of the rings around Saturn. With this information, he improved his telescope and discovered the pendulum. The pendulum is described as the regulator of clocks (Herivel, J., n.d.).
  • Maria Sibylla Merian (Book of Specimen)

    Maria Sibylla Merian (Book of Specimen)
    Maria Sibylla Merian was a German botanist and zoologist. She illustrated the book of specimens. This book focused on European butterflies, moths, and other insects. Merian traveled to many countries, including Suriname. During her travel, Merian collected specimens, which led her to publish a Dissertation on Insect Generation and Metamorphosis in Suriname (Maloy, R. W., 2021).
  • Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek (Microscopes)

    Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek (Microscopes)
    Dutch Microbiologist Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek made a break in history after discovering microorganisms. Leeuwenhoek is also known for finding bacteria, microscopic nematodes, sperm cells, and much more. Approximately ten or fewer of the 500 microscopes Leeuwenhoek created are still standing today. His invention of these simple yet powerful microscopes could detect any organism placed under its lens (Alexander, A., n.d).
  • Ole Christensen Roemer (Speed of Light)

    Ole Christensen Roemer (Speed of Light)
    Ole Christensen Roemer, a Danish astronomer, was the first to measure the speed of light. Upon his discovery, Roemer could predict the eclipse's length on November 9, 1676. Due to his overestimation of the Earth's orbit and other factors, Roemer's prediction needed to be revised. Notably, seventeen minutes would have been a more accurate estimation (Gregersen, E., 2017).
  • References

    Alexander, A., & Huff, W. G. (n.d.). Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723). Retrieved January 22, 2023, from Gregersen, E. (2017, November 22). Ole Rømer. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from Herivel, J. (n.d.). Christiaan Huygens. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
  • References

    Maloy, R. W. (2021). Women of the scientific revolution. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from Tietz, T. (2016, December 04). Thomas Bartholin and the lymphatic system. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

  • Abraham Darby (Coke Blast Furnace)

    Abraham Darby (Coke Blast Furnace)
    Abraham Darby, a well-known Quaker ironmaster, succeeded in using coke (charred coal) in the blast furnace. Darby left no records of his experiments, so people are only left with guesses on how he achieved his success. With the size of the blast furnace traditionally utilized for smelting iron ore and its strength, high temperatures may have proved capable of burning the impurities in the coal. Which eventually ruined the iron in previous attempts (McClellan, J. E., III, 2006).
  • Thomas Newcomen (Steam Engine)

    Thomas Newcomen (Steam Engine)
    Thomas Newcomen invented the first practical steam engine. The invention of the steam engine was a turning point for industrial development. Newcomen’s invention of the steam engine proved sufficient and was now widely adopted by others. Due to its primary operation use of cheaper coal mines, the steam engine was a success (McClellan, J. E., III, 2006).
  • Eleanor Coade (Coade Stone)

    Eleanor Coade (Coade Stone)
    Eleanor Coade developed coade stone, also known as Lithodipyra. This type of stone is classified as an artificial stone, versatile and able to withstand any elements. By 1780 she was working with some of the well-known architects of her time. Sculptures such as the Southbank Lion were made from coade stone (Davidson, L., 2022).
  • British and American Inventors (Eletric Telegraph)

    British and American Inventors (Eletric Telegraph)
    British and American inventors developed the first electric telegraph system simultaneously. William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone were British inventors. They specialized in specific letters and numbers passed through needles on the mounting plate at the receiver point to the attached wires. Samuel F.B. Morse, the American inventor, created his electric telegraph with a universal code known as the Morse Code (H., 2022).
  • References

    H. (2022, August 12). Morse Code & Telegraph: Invention & Samuel Morse - History. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from Davidson, L. (2022, August 24). Five pioneering female inventors of the Industrial Revolution. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
  • References

    McClellan, J. E., III, & Dorn, H. (2006). Science and Technology in World History (2nd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from Ray, M. (n.d.). 7 deadliest weapons in history. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
  • Hiram Maxim (Maxim Gun)

    Hiram Maxim (Maxim Gun)
    Hiram Maxim single-handedly invented one of the most innovative weapons thereof. A versatile machine gun that was recoil-operated, water-cooled, belt-fed, and fired approximately more than 500 rounds per minute at a range of 1830 meters. The Maxim Gun incorporated smokeless powder, percussion cap, and cartridge ammunition. With the ongoing promotion of his newfound weapon, armies worldwide adopted a similar version (Ray, M., n.d.).
  • Period: to

    Second Scientific Revolution

  • Guglielmo Marconi (Wireless Telegraph)

    Guglielmo Marconi (Wireless Telegraph)
    Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, and engineer, successfully developed the long-distance wireless telegraph. Following his invention, in 1901, he broadcasted his first transatlantic radio. Two decades after fine-tuning his invention, Marconi tested the transmission on his 700-ton yacht. Once improved, Marconi's transatlantic radio at full power sent sparks as far as a foot long ( Editors., 2009).
  • Jesse Wilford Reno (Escalator)

    Jesse Wilford Reno (Escalator)
    Jesse Wilford Reno is also known as one of America's greatest inventors. Inventor Reno was the first to build a working escalator. Five years later, he introduced the escalator as a ride at the amusement park. New York's Coney Island was the first amusement park to receive Reno's escalator. After two weeks at the Old Iron Pier, over 75,000 passengers rode on the escalator (Fenzel, J., 2022).
  • Alexander Fleming (Penicillin)

    Alexander Fleming (Penicillin)
    A Scottish physician-scientist by the name of Alexander Fleming discovered mold spores that contaminated his petri dish. After careful observation, Fleming could identify the mold colonies as a member of the Penicillium genus. Fleming recognized that this "mold" was effective against Gram-positive pathogens. These pathogens are responsible for diseases such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, and scarlet fever. Further investigation led him to create penicillin, also known as "mold juice" (Tan, S., 2015).
  • Chien-Shiung Wu (Atomic Bombs)

    Chien-Shiung Wu (Atomic Bombs)
    Chien-Shiung Wu, a Chinese-American physicist, started working with Columbia University in New Jersey. Chien-Shiung Wu then joined the Manhattan Project team as a researcher. Her contribution to the Manhattan Project helped the creation of atomic bombs. Wu's research also included the improvement of Geiger counters to detect radiation and uranium in large quantities (Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu., 2022).
  • Tommy Flowers (Computer)

    Tommy Flowers (Computer)
    Computing was a turning point for the British. Britain led the world in computing, although recently heavily bombed by German forces. Tommy Flowers, a well-known British man, used his money and knowledge to design and build a computer. With Flower’s design, the Women Royal Naval Servicewomen accomplished the tedious task of assembling, troubleshooting, programming, and operating the computers (Hicks, M., 2018).
  • References

    Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, the First lady of physics (U.S. National Park Service). (2022, December 20). Retrieved January 22, 2023, from Fenzel, J. (2022). The first escalator, and its little-known inventor who was ahead of his time. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
  • References

    Hicks, M. (2018, October). CSDL:IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from Editors. (2009, December 02). Guglielmo Marconi. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
    Tan, S., & Tatsumura, Y. (2015, July). Alexander Fleming (1881-1955): Discoverer of Penicillin. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from
  • Period: to

    The Information and Space Ages

  • Jonas Edward Salk (Polio Vaccine)

    Jonas Edward Salk (Polio Vaccine)
    Jonas Edward Salk, an American virologist and medical researcher, successfully developed the first vaccine for polio. Salk experimented on volunteers, his wife, his children, and himself. All volunteers developed anti-polio antibodies with no adverse reactions. Following his experiment, Salk administered his polio vaccine to 1 million children, ages 6 to 9, nationwide. A turning point in history, Salk's vaccine was announced as safe and effective (Institute, S., 2023).
  • Sergei Korolev (Sputnik 1)

    Sergei Korolev (Sputnik 1)
    Soviet engineer Sergei Korolev was the founder of the space program in the Soviet Union. Korolev was well-known for leading the Soviet Union to space with his design of the R-7 ICBM. Aboard the R-7 ICBM was Sputnik 1, which was the first human-made satellite to enter Earth's orbit. Korolev also assisted the Soviet Union in surveilling the moon with Lunas 1, 2, and 3 (Howell, E., 2016).
  • Katherine Johnson (Orbital Calculations)

    Katherine Johnson (Orbital Calculations)
    Katherine Johnson, also known as Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, was an African American mathematician. Johnson assisted NASA in completing their first U.S. human-crewed spaceflight. With her talent, Johnson calculated orbital equations inserted into the computer on the spacecraft. Her calculations successfully led to a significant turning point in the competition between the Soviet Union and the United States (Loff, S., 2016).
  • Douglas Engelbart (Computer Mouse)

    Douglas Engelbart (Computer Mouse)
    American inventor Douglas Engelbart was an internet and computer pioneer responsible for the turning point in the United States' computer history. Engelbart demonstrated a new way to simplify the use of computers. He introduced what we know now as a computer mouse, a GUI, aka computer monitor, video conferencing, and hypertext. Engelbart's inventions made computers more manageable, and his techniques inspired others to refine his process, which is still utilized today (R., 2022).
  • Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web)

    Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web)
    Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist, is well-known for his invention of the World Wide Web. Berner-Lee started with a simple hypertext (Enrique) program created for himself. In this program, he was able to store information that was connected via links or otherwise known as hypertext. After further observation, he recognized a way that allowed computers to communicate with one another. Berners-Lee created a global hypertext that served the internet well (Dennis, M. A. 2022).
  • References

    Dennis, M. A. (2022, December 02). Tim Berners-Lee. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from Howell, E. (2016, October 15). Sergei Korolev: Architect of soviet space program. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from Institute, S. (2023, January 25). About Jonas Salk. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from
  • References

    Loff, S. (2016, November 22). Katherine Johnson Biography. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from R. (2022, November 30). Douglas Engelbart - complete biography, history and inventions. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from