-1800 - Astronomer William Herschel discovers infrared radiation.
-1803 - John Dalton introduces the idea of atomic weight.
-1811 - Mary Anning finds the first known ichthyosaur skeleton on the Lyme Regis cliffs.
-1820 - Hans Christian Orsted discovers that a nearby compass needle vibrates when a current circuit is opened.
-1821 - Michael Faraday discovers the principle behind the electric motor.
-1837 - Louis Agassiz describes the ice age.
-1842 - Christian Doppler explains why binary stars are colored.
-1845 - German explorer Alexander von Humboldt presents his idea of ecology.
-1859 - Charles Darwin explains his theory of evolution in The Origin of Species.
-1859 - Louis Pasteur refutes the spontaneous generation of life.
-1865 - August Kekule explains the chemical structure of the benzene molecule.
-1866 - Gregor Mendel publishes his work on pea genetics.
-1869 - Dimitri Mendeleev prepares the periodic table of the elements.
-1873 - James Clerk Maxwell publishes the laws of electromagnetism.
-1895 - Wilhelm Röntgen discovers X-rays.
-1898 - Marie Curie insulates radioactive polonium.
The invention of the electric battery in 1799 opened up entirely new areas of scientific research. In Denmark, Hans Christian Orsted accidentally discovered a connection between electricity and magnetism. At the Royal Institution in London, Michael Faraday envisioned the shape of magnetic fields and invented the world's first electric motor. In Scotland, James Clerk Maxwell took Faraday's thoughts and unearthed the complex mathematics of electromagnetism.
Invisible forms of electromagnetic waves were discovered without knowing what they were or uncovering the laws governing their behavior. German astronomer William Herschel, working in Bath, Britain, used a prism to separate the various colors of daylight and probe their temperatures;
He noticed that his thermometer showed a higher temperature beyond the red end of the visible spectrum. Herschel had encountered infrared radiation, and ultraviolet radiation was discovered the following year. It has been proven that there is more than visible light in the spectrum. Likewise, later Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays in his laboratory in Germany. British physician Thomas Young devised a clever double-slit experiment to determine whether light is actually a wave or a particle.
The discovery of the wave interference seemed to settle the debate. In Prague, Austrian physicist Christian Andreas Doppler used the idea that light is a wave with a spectrum of various frequencies, explaining the color of binary stars, clarifying what is now known as the Doppler Effect. Meanwhile, in Paris, French physicists Hippolyte Fizeau and Leon Foucault measured the speed of light and showed that it travels more slowly in water than in air.
British meteorologist John Dalton hesitantly suggested that atomic weight might be an important concept to chemists, and he attempted to calculate the weight of a few atoms. Fifteen years later, Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius compiled a more complete list of atomic weights. His student, German chemist Friedrich Wöhler, converted an inorganic salt into an organic compound, refuting the notion that living chemistry worked according to separate rules.
In Paris, Louis Pasteur showed that life was not created by itself. The inspiration for the new ideas was diverse. The structure of the benzene molecule came to the mind of German chemist August Kekule when he was going to bed; Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev used a deck of playing cards to solve the periodic table of elements problem. Marie Curie was the first to isolate polonium and radium and win the Nobel prize in both chemistry and physics.
The century saw nothing but a revolution in the understanding of life. On England's south coast, Mary Anning has documented a series of fossils of extinct creatures she dug up from cliffs. Soon after, Richard Owen coined the word "dinosaur" to describe the "terrible lizards" that once roamed the planet. Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz further developed the idea that Earth has experienced very different conditions throughout its history, arguing that much of the Earth was once covered with ice.
Using interdisciplinary insights, Alexander von Humboldt uncovered the connections in nature and initiated ecology studies. In France, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck outlined a theory of evolution; He mistakenly believed that the transfer of acquired traits was the driving force of evolution. Then in the 1850s the British naturalists Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin thought of evolution by natural selection. Thomas Henry Huxley showed that birds may have evolved from dinosaurs, and the evidence supporting evolution has increased.
Meanwhile, a German-speaking Silesian priest named Gregor Mendel studied thousands of pea plants, revealing the basic laws of genetics. Mendel's work would be neglected for several decades, but his rediscovery would provide the genetic mechanism of natural selection.