1688 in science
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- Simon de la Loubère introduces the Siamese method for constructing any size of n-odd magic square to Western Europe.
- Earliest known mention of the balalaika.
- January 29 – Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish scientist and theologian (died 1772)
- April 4 – Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, French astronomer (died 1768)
- August 14 – Johann Leonhard Rost, German astronomer (died 1727)
- September 26 – Willem 's Gravesande, Dutch polymath (died 1742)
- November 15 – Louis Bertrand Castel, French Jesuit mathematician and physicist (died 1757)
- January 28 – Ferdinand Verbiest, Flemish Jesuit astronomer in China (born 1623)
- October 9 – Claude Perrault, French architect and physicist (born 1613)
- November 11 – Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, French horticulturalist (born 1626)