Timeline of Enlightenment Scientific Discoveries

  • 200


    Greek Physician who wrote about human anatomy. However, he was largely incorrect because he dissected pigs, not humans (it was illegal to do so). His information was proven wrong by Vesalius in 1543.
  • Jan 1, 1543

    Andreas Vesalius

    Andreas Vesalius
    Flemish physician who proved the ideas of Galen wrong. He was a "grave robber" in order to dissect humans for study and is considered the pioneer of human dissection. Published "On the Structure of the Human Body". His writings challenged the church. He proved how complex the human body was and helped lead the way to further anatomic discovery.
  • Zacharias Janssen

    Zacharias Janssen
    Dutch eyeglass maker who invented the microscope. Helped make precise observations using the scientific method. Microscopes are still used today.
  • Francis Bacon

    Francis Bacon
    An English statesman and writer who developed the experimental method. He published the book "Novum Organum" or, "new instrument" He urged scientists to experiment and then draw conclusions instead of reasoning from abstract thoughts. This method is vital to scientific research today.
  • William Harvey

    William Harvey
    William Harvey was an English physician who revealed how the human heart functions. This helped pave the way for more major medical breakthroughs that are the basis of our medicinal system today.
  • Rene' Descartes

    Rene' Descartes
    Develped analytical geometry, which linked algebra and geometry and provided a new tool for scientific research. Believed everything should be doubted until proven by reason. He published "Discourse on Method". Modern scientific methods are largely based on the ideas of Descartes (As well as Bacon).
  • Evangelista Torricelli

    Evangelista Torricelli
    A student of Galileo who developed the first mercury barometer. It measured atmospheric pressure and predicted weather. It is still used today and helps warn when storms may be coming because it can detect high or low pressure fronts.
  • Robert Boyle

    Robert Boyle
    Considered the founder of modern chemistry. Challenged Aristotle's idea that the world consisted of four elements in his book "The Sceptical Chymist". Boyle's Law - explains how the volume, pressure, and temperature of gas affect each other. This is a MAJOR part of chemistry today.
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

    Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
    Dutch drapery merchant and amateur scientist who used a microscope to observe bacteria from tooth scrapings. Also examined red blood cells for the first time. This led the way for others to research microscopic organisms, which we still do today.
  • Issac Newton

    Issac Newton
    English scientist who proposed that the same force ruled the motion of the planets and all matter on earth and in space. This was called the law of universal gravitation. He published the book "The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy". Described universe like a giant clock- everything could be expressed mathematically. This is the basis of all physics today.
  • Edward Jenner

    Edward Jenner
    Info about Jenner/smallpox vaccine A British physician who introduced the first vaccine, which was against smallpox. Discovered that innoculation with "cowpox" was less dangerous than smallpox germs themselves. This vaccine as well as many others are used on a daily basis around the world to prevent dangerous diseases. See link above for more information.
  • Gabriel Fahrenheit

    Gabriel Fahrenheit
    German physicist who made the first thermometer out of mercury and glass. His scale showed freezing at 32 degrees. This is the scale used in America today.
  • Anders Celsius

    Anders Celsius
    Sweedish astronomer who created a different scale for the mercury thermometer. His scale showed freezing at 0 degrees. This is used in almost every part of the world today.
  • Period: to 217