1731 in science
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Agriculture and horticulture
- Philip Miller publishes The Gardeners Dictionary, containing the Methods of Cultivating and Improving the Kitchen Fruit and Flower Garden in London.
- Jethro Tull publishes The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry; or, an essay on the principles of tillage and vegetation in London.
- John Bevis observes the Crab Nebula for the first time in the modern era.
- The octant is developed by John Hadley (it will eventually be replaced as an essential tool of navigation by the sextant).
- The orrery (or planetarium model) is developed as an apparatus showing the relative positions of heavenly bodies in the solar system by using balls moved by wheelwork.
- Laura Bassi becomes the first official female university teacher on being appointed professor of anatomy at the University of Bologna at the age of 21.
- The Society for the Improvement of Medical Knowledge in Edinburgh begins publication of the peer reviewed Medical Essays and Observations.
- The harpoon gun is developed and used for the purpose of throwing the harpoon into the body of whales.
- Publication begins in Augsburg and Ulm of Johann Jakob Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra which attempts to provide a scientific explanation of Biblical history.
- October 10 – Henry Cavendish, English scientist (died 1810)
- November 9 – Benjamin Banneker, African-American astronomer and surveyor (died 1806)
- December 12 – Erasmus Darwin, English physician and botanist (died 1802)
- January 6 – Étienne François Geoffroy, French chemist (born 1672)
- December 29 – Brook Taylor, English mathematician (born 1685)
- Heaney, J. B.; Holdgate, M. W. (1957). "The Gough Island Scientific Survey". The Geographical Journal. 123: 20–31. doi:10.2307/1790719. JSTOR 1790718.
- "The 18th Century Women Scientists of Bologna". ScienceWeek. 2004. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- Benos, Dale J.; et al. (2007). "The ups and downs of per review". Advances in Physiology Education. 31 (2): 145–152. doi:10.1152/advan.00104.2006. PMID 17562902. Retrieved 2011-08-30.