All around us every day, new scientific discoveries are happening all of the time.
Many of these scientific discoveries are so intertwined with our life that we tend to forget the importance and origin of them. But, what are the biggest scientific discoveries?
7 Great Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World
Check out this guide to learn about the top scientific discoveries that changed the world.
We’ve all heard the story of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, an apple falling onto his head, and him having the epiphany that gravity exists.
While we don’t know if this is exactly how it happened, it is true that Isaac Newton discovered the universal law of gravitation. Newton was an English physicist and mathematician who was revered in his own lifetime and helped shaped the same rational scientific views that we hold today.
Whether the apple story is true or not, we do know that Isaac Newton came up with the idea that the force of gravity draws objects toward one another.
Just like Isaac Newton and gravity, there’s a famous story surrounding Benjamin Franklin and his discovery of electricity.
Before Benjamin Franklin, scientists had primarily known about and experimented with static electricity. Franklin took things a step further by theorizing that electricity had positive and negative elements and that electricity could flow between these two elements.
He also believed that lightning was a form of electricity, hence where his famous kite experiment of 1752 comes into play. In order to prove that lightning was electricity, Franklin flew a kite during a storm. He then tied a metal key to the kite to conduct electricity.
Just as he suspected, the storm clouds transferred electricity from the kite and gave him a shock. Many other scientists built upon Franklin’s work to get a better understanding of how electricity works and how we can make use of it.
For example, in 1879, Thomas Edison patented the electric lightbulb. Additionally, in 1821, a man by the name of Michael Faraday discovered that when you place a wire carrying an electric current next to a single magnetic pole, the wire will rotate.
This then led to the invention of the electric motor. Faraday’s experiments also led to the creation of the first generator, which became the forerunner for the huge generators we use today.
- The Copernicum System
The Copernican System is another one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time. On his deathbed in 1543, Nicholas Copernicus published the theory that the sun is a motionless body at the center of the solar system.
Copernicus, a Polish astronomer, theorized that the Earth and the other planets orbited around the sun, while other scientists of the time theorized that the sun and other planets orbited around the Earth. And, other scientists believed that not only was the Earth the center of the solar system, but it was also the center of the whole universe.
While it’s a widely accepted fact today that the sun is the center of the solar system, at the time, suggesting this caused quite the stir. In fact, Copernicus was deemed a heretic by the Church.
Luckily, Galileo Galilei came along shortly after to further study Copernicus’s theories. He built a telescope and published a book on his theories. Like Copernicus, Galileo was condemned for his “heretical” beliefs. He was even imprisoned and put under house arrest for them.
Thankfully, the ideas of Copernicus and Galileo survived and other scientists continued to expound upon them. If it weren’t for them, we may still be thinking that the Earth is the center of the universe.
Discovered by Charles Darwin, evolution is the theory that organisms evolve and change slowly over time. He referred to these changes as adaptations, and he theorized that these adaptations are what allow some species to survive and others to become extinct.
He referred to this process as natural selection. However, it’s commonly known as survival of the fittest.
If you’ve ever taken antibiotics to cure an illness, you can thank Alexander Fleming. In 1928, Fleming discovered penicillin, the very first antibiotic.
He actually grew the antibiotic in a lab using fungi and mold. If it weren’t for antibiotics, simple infections like strep throat could still be deadly.
After Fleming’s breakthrough discovery, a group of other scientists developed a method for manufacturing penicillin as a drug so it could be available to the masses.
When we thinking of DNA, we usually think of criminal court cases that used DNA to solve a murder. Nowadays, many of us also use our DNA to track down our long lost relatives and discover our ancestral and genetic history.
While people didn’t start introducing DNA in the courtrooms until the 90s, DNA was actually discovered in 1953 by scientists James Watson and Francis Crick. The scientists discovered that the double-helix structure of DNA is composed of a nearly endless variety of chemical compounds that create instructions for our bodies to follow.
Our genes are composed of DNA and determine things like our eye color and hair color. DNA may also help forward discoveries in molecular biology led by Kenneth Chien.
- The Theory of Relativity
Last but not least, we have the theory of relativity, discovered by Albert Einstein.
Einstein expounded upon Newton’s laws to explain how objects behave when moving at a constant speed relative to one another. Under this theory, time and space are two aspects of the same phenomena. This means that reality has four dimensions instead of three.
A key aspect of the theory of relativity is that time slows down as acceleration increases.
Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World: Time to Discover More
As you can see, there are many scientific discoveries that changed the world. However, this list is just a starting point for the many scientific discoveries that have changed our lives. We encourage you to do some deeper exploration into each of these discoveries so you can understand them more fully.
And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more posts like this.