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This timeline lists significant discoveries in physics and the laws of nature, including experimental discoveries, theoretical proposals that were confirmed experimentally, and theories that have significantly influenced current thinking in modern physics. Such discoveries are often a multi-step, multi-person process. Multiple discovery sometimes occurs when multiple research groups discover the same phenomenon at about the same time, and scientific priority is often disputed. The listings below include some of the most significant people and ideas by date of publication or experiment.

Pre-scientific

250 BCE - Archimedes: Archimedes' principle
500 CE - John Philoponus: Theory of impetus

16th century

1514 - Nicholas Copernicus: Heliocentrism
1589 - Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment: Galileo Galilei

17th century

1609, 1619 - Kepler's laws of planetary motion
1613 - Inertia: Galileo Galilei
1621 - Snell's law: Willebrord Snellius
1632 - The Galilean principle (the laws of motion are the same in all inertial frames)
1660 - Pascal's Principle: Blaise Pascal
1660 - Hooke's law: Robert Hooke
1662 - Boyle's law: Robert Boyle
1676 - Rømer's determination of the speed of light traveling from the moons of Jupiter.
1678 - Christiaan Huygens mathematical wave theory of light, published in his Treatise on light
1687 - Isaac Newton: Newton's laws of motion, and Newton's law of universal gravitation[1]

18th century

1782 - Antoine Lavoisier: Conservation of matter
1785 - Charles-Augustin de Coulomb: Coulomb's inverse-square law for electric charges confirmed[2]

19th century

1801 - Thomas Young: Wave theory of light
1803 - John Dalton: Atomic theory of matter
1806 - Thomas Young: Kinetic energy
1814 - Augustin-Jean Fresnel: Wave theory of light, optical interference
1820 - André-Marie Ampère, Jean-Baptiste Biot, and Félix Savart: Evidence for electromagnetic interactions (Biot–Savart law)
1824 - Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot: Ideal gas cycle analysis (Carnot cycle), internal combustion engine
1826 - Ampère's circuital law
1827 - Georg Ohm: Electrical resistance
1831 - Michael Faraday: Faraday's law of induction
1838 - Michael Faraday: Lines of force
1838 - Wilhelm Eduard Weber and Carl Friedrich Gauss: Earth's magnetic field
1842-43 - William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin and Julius von Mayer: Conservation of energy
1842 - Christian Doppler: Doppler effect
1845 - Michael Faraday: Faraday rotation (interaction of light and magnetic field)
1847 - Hermann von Helmholtz & James Prescott Joule: Conservation of Energy 2
1850-51 - William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin & Rudolf Clausius: Second law of thermodynamics
1857-59 - Rudolf Clausius & James Clerk Maxwell: Kinetic theory of gases
1861 - Gustav Kirchhoff: Black body
1861-62 - Maxwell's equations
1863 - Rudolf Clausius: Entropy
1864 - James Clerk Maxwell: A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field (Electromagnetic radiation)
1867 - James Clerk Maxwell: On the Dynamical Theory of Gases (kinetic theory of gases)
1871-89 - Ludwig Boltzmann & Josiah Willard Gibbs: Statistical mechanics (Boltzmann equation, 1872)
1873 - Maxwell: A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
1884 - Boltzmann derives Stefan radiation law
1887 - Michelson–Morley experiment
1887 - Heinrich Rudolf Hertz: Electromagnetic waves
1889, 1892 - Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction
1893 - Wilhelm Wien: Wien's displacement law for black-body radiation
1895 - Wilhelm Röntgen: X-rays
1896 - Henri Becquerel: Radioactivity
1897 - J. J. Thomson: Electron discovered

20th century

1900 - Max Planck: Formula for black-body radiation - the quanta solution to radiation ultraviolet catastrophe
1904 - J. J. Thomson's plum pudding model of the atom 1904
1905 - Albert Einstein: Special relativity, proposes the photon to explain the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, Mass–energy equivalence
1911 - Ernest Rutherford: Discovery of the atomic nucleus (Rutherford model)

1911 - Kamerlingh Onnes: Superconductivity
1913 - Niels Bohr: Bohr model of the atom
1915 - Albert Einstein: General relativity
1916 - Schwarzschild metric modeling gravity outside a large sphere
1919 - Arthur Eddington:Light bending confirmed - evidence for general relativity
1919-1926 - Kaluza–Klein theory proposing unification of gravity and electromagnetism
1922 - Alexander Friedmann proposes expanding universe
1922-37 - Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric cosmological model
1923 - Stern–Gerlach experiment
1923 - Louis de Broglie: Matter waves
1923 - Edwin Hubble: Galaxies discovered
1923 - Arthur Compton: Particle nature of photons confirmed by observation of photon momentum
1924 - Bose–Einstein statistics
1924 - De Broglie wave
1925 - Werner Heisenberg: Matrix mechanics
1925-27 - Quantum mechanics
1925 - Stellar structure understood
1926 - Fermi-Dirac Statistics
1926 - Erwin Schrödinger: Schrödinger Equation
1927 - Werner Heisenberg: Uncertainty principle
1927 - Georges Lemaître: Big Bang
1927 - Dirac equation
1927 - Max Born interpretation of the Schrödinger equation
1928 - Paul Dirac proposes the antiparticle
1929 - Edwin Hubble: Expansion of the universe confirmed
1932 - Carl David Anderson: Antimatter discovered
1932 - James Chadwick: Neutron discovered
1933 - Invention of the electron microscope by Ernst Ruska
1935 - Chandrasekhar limit for black hole collapse
1937 - Muon discovered by Carl David Anderson and Seth Neddermeyer
1938 - Pyotr Kapitsa: Superfluidity discovered
1938 - Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann Nuclear fission discovered
1938-39 - Stellar fusion explains energy production in stars
1939 - Uranium fission discovered
1941 - Feynman path integral
1944 - Theory of magnetism in 2D: Ising model
1947 - C.F. Powell, Giuseppe Occhialini, César Lattes: Pion discovered
1948 - Richard Feynman, Shinichiro Tomonaga, Julian Schwinger, Freeman Dyson: Quantum electrodynamics
1948 - Invention of the maser and laser by Charles Townes
1948 - Feynman diagrams
1956 - Electron neutrino discovered
1956-57 - Parity violation found
1957 - BCS theory explaining superconductivity
1959-60 - Role of topology in quantum physics predicted and confirmed
1962 - SU(3) theory of strong interactions
1962 - Muon neutrino discovered
1963 - Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig: Quarks predicted
1964 - Bell's Theorem initiates quantitative study of quantum entanglement
1967 - Unification of weak interaction and electromagnetism (electroweak theory)
1967 - Solar neutrino problem found
1967 - Pulsars (rotating neutron stars) discovered
1968 - Experimental evidence for quarks found
1968 - Vera Rubin: Dark matter theories
1970-73 - Standard Model of elementary particles invented
1971 - Helium 3 superfluidity
1971-75 - Michael Fisher, Kenneth G. Wilson, and Leo Kadanoff: Renormalization group
1972 - Black Hole Entropy
1974 - Black hole radiation (Hawking radiation) predicted
1974 - Charmed quark discovered
1975 - Tau lepton found
1977 - Bottom quark found
1980 - Strangeness as a signature of quark-gluon plasma predicted[3]
1980 - Richard Feynman proposes quantum computing
1980 - Quantum Hall effect
1981 - Alan Guth Theory of cosmic inflation proposed
1981 - Fractional quantum Hall effect discovered
1984 - W and Z bosons directly observed
1984 - First laboratory implementation of quantum cryptography
1993 - Quantum teleportation of unknown states proposed
1994 - Shor's algorithm discovered, initiating the serious study of quantum computation
1994-97 - Matrix models/M-theory
1995 - Wolfgang Ketterle: Bose–Einstein condensate observed
1995 - Top quark discovered
1998 - Accelerating expansion of the universe discovered by the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team
1998 - Atmospheric neutrino oscillation established
1999 - Lene Vestergaard Hau: Slow light experimentally demonstrated

21st century

2000 - Quark-gluon plasma found[4]
2000 - Tau neutrino found
2003 - WMAP observations of cosmic microwave background
2012 - Higgs boson found by the Compact Muon Solenoid[5] and ATLAS[6] experiments at the Large Hadron Collider
2015 - Gravitational waves are observed
2019 - First image of a Black hole

See also

Physics
List of timelines

References

American Heritage Dictionary (January 2005). The American Heritage Science Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 428. ISBN 978-0-618-45504-1.
John L. Heilbron (14 February 2003). The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science. Oxford University Press. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-19-974376-6.
Rafelski, Johann (2020). "Discovery of Quark-Gluon Plasma: Strangeness Diaries". The European Physical Journal Special Topics. 229 (1): 1–140. doi:10.1140/epjst/e2019-900263-x. ISSN 1951-6355.
"New State of Matter created at CERN". CERN. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
CMS collaboration (2012). "Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC". Physics Letters B. 716 (1): 30–61.arXiv:1207.7235. Bibcode:2012PhLB..716...30C. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021.

ATLAS collaboration (2012). "Observation of a New Particle in the Search for the Standard Model Higgs Boson with the ATLAS Detector at the LHC". Physics Letters B. 716 (1): 1–29.arXiv:1207.7214. Bibcode:2012PhLB..716....1A. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.020.

vte

Branches of physics
Divisions

Theoretical Computational Experimental Applied

Classical

Classical mechanics Acoustics Classical electromagnetism Optics Thermodynamics Statistical mechanics

Modern

Quantum mechanics Special relativity General relativity Particle physics Nuclear physics Quantum chromodynamics Atomic, molecular, and optical physics Condensed matter physics Cosmology Astrophysics

Interdisciplinary

Atmospheric physics Biophysics Chemical physics Engineering physics Geophysics Materials science Mathematical physics

See also

History of physics Nobel Prize in Physics Timeline of physics discoveries Theory of everything

Physics Encyclopedia

World

Index

Hellenica World - Scientific Library

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