1579 in science
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- June 17 – Francis Drake, during his circumnavigation of the world, lands in what is now California, which he claims for Queen Elizabeth I of England as Nova Albion.
Physiology and medicine
- January 12 (bapt.) – Jan Baptist van Helmont, Flemish chemist (died 1644)
- July 13 – Arthur Dee, English physician and alchemist (died 1651)
- June 17 – Johannes Stadius, Flemish mathematician and astronomer (born c. 1527)
- approx. date – Hans Staden, German adventurer (born c. 1525)