timeline of scientific events
1120 The use of latitude and longitude measurements, in degrees, minutes, and seconds, is introduced by an Anglo-saxon scientist known as Welcher of Malvern.
1137 The Abbey of St. Denis near paris, designed by Abbe Suger, becomes the first major building to make use of flying buttresses, a system of architectural support rhar permits the building of gigantic cathedrals. The new architecture is known as Gothic.
1142 Adelard of Bath translates Euclid’s Elements into latin.
1148 Soldiers returning from the Crusades in the middle east introduce sugar to Europe.
c. 1159 Between now and 1173, Benjamin of Tudela travels east through Islamic lands, keeping a written account of his journey. Though he is the first western European to do so, his status as a Jew prevents his account from being influential in the Christian world.
1175 Gerard of Cremona, Italy, translates ptolemy’s astronomical compendium The Almagest into larin, along with other Greek and Arab works.
1176 In England, rabbits are introduced as local livestock.
1180 English scholar Alexander Neckam is the first European to note that a magnetic needle always points north-south (see a/so China, 100s). Three centuries later, this discovery contributes to the navigation feats of the age of exploration.
1180 In England, glass windows are used in houses.
1184 The cathedral at Sens, France, becomes one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture and technology. It is designed by architect William of Sens. See also 1137, St. Denis.
1189 In France, the first paper mill in Christian Europe is opened. See also 1276 and 1494.
1193 Indigo is imported from India for use in dyeing fabrics.
c. 1194 Viking explorers reach Spirzberg, 450 kilometers north of the Arctic
Circle, This is the farthest north the Vikings go.
1200s Coal, known as a fuel in China since 1000 e.c., is mined in England by early in this century. See 1233, Newcastle.
c.1200 Medical instruction becomes more theoretical and scholarly, spreading to medical schools at Montpellier, Paris, Oxford, and Bologna.
1202 Italian mathematician leonardo Fibonacci publishes his Book of the Abacus, which introduces Arabic numerals and positional notation to Europe, though these are not fully adopted for three hundred years. See 820, al-Khwarizmi.
c. 1220 scottish naturalist Michael scot translates Aristotle’s classifications
of animals into latin.
c. 1220 Jordanus Nemorarius publishes Mechanica, describing a law of the
lever and the law of the composition of movements.
1225 Cotton is first manufactured in Spain.
1233 Coal is first mined in Newcastle, England. The mine is so successful
that it generates the phrase “carrying coals to Newcastle,” connoting an unnecessary activity.
1237 Chinese physician Chen Tzu-nin$ publishes his Fu Jen Liang Fang, the first Asian monograph on the diseases of women.
1240 European shipbuilders construct vessels with rudders, an innovation borrowed from the Arabs.
c. 1245 – 1247 Franciscan friar Giovanni da Pian del Carpini leads a conversion mission into Mongol lands. His account of these travels, Liber tartarorum, becomes the first opportunity for Westerners to read an accurate description of central Asia.
1249 English scholar Roger Bacon notes that lenses can be used for improving eyesight. Eyeglasses appear in China and Europe at about the same time; it is not clear where they were invented first.
1249 Gunpowder, developed in China, is mentioned for the first time in European writings by scientist Roger Bacon.
c. 1250 German scientist Albertus Magnus introduces Aristotle’s ideas on botany and biology to Europe. His De vegetabilibus classifies plants and vegetables and describes the function and structure of various plant parts.
c. 1250 Albertus Magnus discovers the element arsenic.
1250 Crusaders returning to Europe from Arab lands help spread acceptance of Arabic numbering and decimal systems.
1259 Construction begins on an observatory at Maragha, Iran.
c. 1260 An observatory is built at Beuing, China.
1264 Bakers’ marks, the forerunner to trademarks, are used for the first time in England. Through them bakers identify their wares with individualized icons slashed into the bread.
c.1265 During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), Japanese swordsmiths reach their technical apex. Their tachi (slashing swords) are sharp enough to behead an enemy with one stroke.
1267 The Council of Venice forbids Jews to practice medicine among Christians.
1269 William of Moerbeke translates the major scientific and mathematical treatises of Archimedes into Latin.
1269 French scholar Pelerin de Maricourt (Petrus Peregrinus) performs early experiments with magnets, describing magnetic poles and refining the use of a magnet as a compass.
1269 Tolls are charged on some roads in England.
c.1270 The Polish scientist known as Witelo writes a book on optics called Perspectiva, which became part of a work that was the most influential treatise on optics until the seventeenth century.
1270 British physician and chemist Roger Bacon researches optics and refraction, the bending of a light ray as it passes from one medium into another. See 1249, eyeglasses.
1272 The Alphonsine tables, planetary charts whose compilation was or-dered in l25O by Alphonso X of Castile, are completed. They will remain in use until the 1500s.
c. 1276 Italian scientist Giles of Rome writes a treatise, De formatione corporis humani in utero, on the development of the human fetus. It includes a discussion of the timing of the soul’s entry into the fetus and the biological importance of each of the two parents.
1276 Papermaking begins in ltaly, in the city of Montefano.
c. 1280 Arab physician Alquarashi is the first to identify the pulmonary transit of blood, from the right to the left ventricle via the lungs.
1288 The first known gun, a small cannon, is made in China.
1289 Block printing is used for the first time in Europe.
c. 1290 French surgeon Henri de Mondeville advises doctors to cleanse wounds and let them dry without salves or wine-soaked dressings. He also recommends applying pressure to stop bleeding and advocates the use of sutures.
1291 In Venice, glassmakers learn to produce clear glass (only colored glass has been available since glass ornaments first appeared in Egypt about 25OO B.C.). The colorless
gass will make modern mirrors and window panes possible.
c. 1292 A new type of vessel, the great galley, is developed in venice. These long, shallow boats are driven by multiple rows of oarsmen and can carry a great deal of cargo.
1295 French physician Lanfranchi becomes the first to describe a brain concussion and the symptoms of a skull fracture.
1298 Venetian merchant Marco Polo publishes Divisament dou monde, describing his travels (1275-1295) in China. The book will inspire future explorers.
1300s Mechanical clocks, driven by the force of gravity on weights, are invented in Europe.
1300 The False Geber, an anonymous alchemist writing under the name Geber, discovers sulfuric acid, the most powerful acid yet known.
WHEN GLASS LOST ITS COLOR
For thousands of years after sand was fired into glass objects in the Near East around 2500 B.C., this now commonly clear material was usually produced only in color. Impurities lent color to glass, and a workable decolorization process had yet to be invented.
By the end of the thirteenth century, the technique of adding clarifying substances to make glass clear was perfected in Venice, which had become, and to this day remains, a world center for exquisite glass production.
One way Venetian glass manufacturers retained their monopoly on certain glass making processes was to move in 1291 to an isolated island where materials were hoarded, techniques kept secret, and penalties assessed on trespassers and talkative employees.
1300 Spanish alchemist Arnau de Villanova distills alcohol for the first time, producing brandy from wine.
1303 Chinese mathematician Chu’Shi-ki€ (Chu Shih-chieh) writes the Precious Mirror of the Four Elements, which marks the apex of Chinese algebra. It contains simultaneous equations, equations of degrees up to fourteen, the Horner transformation method, and the arithmetic triangle later called the Pascal triangle.
1304 Theodoric of Freibourg, Germany, accurately explains several as-pects of the formation of rainbows.
1312 Europeans reach the Canary Islands off Morocco for the first time.
1316 Italian anatomist Mondino De’Luzzi writes the first book in history devoted entirely to anatomy.
1320 Paper, a Chinese invention (see 105), reaches Europe, largely replacing vellum, a parchment made from the skins of animals such as the calf or lamb.
1328 English philosopher and mathematician Thomas Bradwardine publishes his Tractatus de proportionibus, in which he broadens the theory of proportions and proposes an alternative to Aristotle’s (incor-rect) law of motion.
1333 In Venice the first bonnical garden since antiquity is established.
Aug 26, 1346 English king Edward III uses longbows and cannons loaded with gunpowder at the battle of Crecy, France. The longbows are more important to Edward’s victory, but gunpowder is the weapon of the future.
c. 1348 Bubonic plague, called the black death, begins to sweep Europe after devastating Asia and North Africa. A large part of the Old World’s population will die from the plague.