The year 1781 in science and technology involved some significant events.


March 13 - William Herschel observes Uranus (although initially recording it as a comet).[1]
March 20 - Pierre Méchain discovers dwarf galaxy NGC 5195.
Charles Messier's final catalogue of Messier objects is published.
Christian Mayer's catalogue of binary stars is published.[2]


Felix Fontana uses a microscope to describe the axon of a brain cell.
John Latham begins publication of A General Synopsis of Birds.


Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald is granted a British patent for the manufacture of coal tar.[3][4]
Carl Wilhelm Scheele ascertains that a new acid can be made from tungstenite, leading to the discovery of tungsten in 1783.[5]
Autumn - Peter Jacob Hjelm isolates molybdenum.[5][6]


Copley Medal: William Herschel


January 30 - Adelbert von Chamisso, poet and botanist (d. 1838)
February 17 - Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec, French physician, inventor of the stethoscope (d. 1826)
May 29 - John Walker, English chemist (d. 1859)
June 9 - George Stephenson, English locomotive engineer (d. 1848)
June 21 - Simeon Poisson, mathematician (d. 1840)
July 6 - Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of the Zoological Society of London (d. 1826)
September 14 - James Walker, Scottish civil engineer (d. 1862)
October 5 - Bernhard Bolzano, mathematician (d. 1848)
December 11 - David Brewster, Scottish physicist (d. 1868)


May 27 - Giovanni Battista Beccaria, Italian physicist (b. 1716)


^ "Account of a Comet, By Mr. Herschel, F.R.S.; Communicated by Dr. Watson, Jun. of Bath, F.R.S". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (London) 71: 492–501. 1781. Bibcode 1781RSPT...71..492H. doi:10.1098/rstl.1781.0056. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
^ "Verzeichniss aller bisher entdeckten Doppeltsterne" In Johann Elert Bode's Astronomisches Jahrbuch for 1784, pp. 183-6.
^ Burke, James (1978). Connections. London: Macmillan. p. 196. ISBN 0-333-24827-9.
^ "Coal Tar Before the Invention of Town's Gas". Retrieved 2011-12-31.
^ a b Emsley, John (2001). Nature's Building Blocks: an A–Z guide to the elements. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-50340-7.
^ Hjelm, P. J. (1788). "Versuche mit Molybdäna, und Reduction der selben Erde". Der Königl. Schwedischen Akademie der Wissenschaften neue Abhandlungen aus der Naturlehre, Haushaltungskunst und Mechanik (Leipzig) 49: 268.

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1780 - 1781 - 1782

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