1842 in science
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- Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward publishes On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases in London, promoting his concept of the Wardian case.
- Antarctic explorer James Clark Ross charts the eastern side of James Ross Island and on January 23 reaches a Farthest South of 78°09'30"S.
- January – American medical student William E. Clarke of Berkshire Medical College becomes the first person to administer an inhaled anesthetic to facilitate a surgical procedure (dental extraction).
- March 30 – American physician and pharmacist Crawford Long administers an inhaled anesthetic (diethyl ether) to facilitate a surgical procedure (removal of a neck tumor).
- English surgeon William Bowman publishes On the Structure and Use of the Malpighian Bodies of the Kidney, identifying Bowman's capsule, a key component of the nephron.
- Edwin Chadwick's critical Report on an inquiry into the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain is published by the Poor Law Commission.
- Christian Doppler proposes the Doppler effect.
- Julius Robert von Mayer proposes that work and heat are equivalent. This is independently discovered in 1843 by James Prescott Joule, who names it "mechanical equivalent of heat".
- January 8 – Delft University of Technology established by William II of the Netherlands as a 'Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers'.
- February 21 – John Greenough is granted the first U.S. patent for the sewing machine.
- June – James Nasmyth patents his design of steam hammer in England and introduces an improved planing machine.
- February 2 – Julian Sochocki (died 1927), mathematician.
- February 22 – Camille Flammarion (died 1925), astronomer.
- March 17 – Rosina Heikel (died 1929), physician.
- April 4 – Édouard Lucas (died 1891, French mathematician.
- May 7 – Isala Van Diest (died 1916), Belgian physician.
- May 8 – Emil Christian Hansen (died 1909), fermentation physiologist.
- June 11 – Carl von Linde (died 1934), refrigeration engineer.
- August 23 – Osborne Reynolds (died 1912), physicist.
- September 9 – Elliott Coues (died 1899), ornithologist.
- September 20
- October 17 – Gustaf Retzius (died 1919), anatomist.
- October 24 (O.S. October 12) – Nikolai Menshutkin (died 1907), chemist.
- November 12 – John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (died 1919), Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
- December 3 – Ellen Swallow Richards (d. 1911), American chemist.
- December 17 – Sophus Lie (died 1899), mathematician.
- February 15 – Archibald Menzies (born 1754), botanist.
- April 28 – Charles Bell (born 1774), anatomist.
- May 8 – Jules Dumont d'Urville (born 1790), explorer.
- June 9 - Maria Dalle Donne (born 1778), Bolognese physician
- June 30 – Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester (born 1754), agriculturalist and geneticist.
- July 19 – Pierre Joseph Pelletier (born 1788), chemist.
- July 25 – Dominique Jean Larrey (born 1766), surgeon, pioneer of battlefield medicine.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1842 in science.|
- Hershey, David (1996). "Doctor Ward's Accidental Terrarium". The American Biology Teacher. 58: 276–281. doi:10.2307/4450151.
- Coleman, E. C. (2006). The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration, from Frobisher to Ross. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. p. 335. ISBN 0-7524-3660-0.
- Lyman, H. M. (1881). "History of anaesthesia". Artificial anaesthesia and anaesthetics. New York: William Wood and Company. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- Long, C. W. (1849). "An account of the first use of Sulphuric Ether by Inhalation as an Anæsthetic in Surgical Operations". Southern Medical and Surgical Journal. 5: 705–13. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- Long, Tony (2007-03-30). "March 30, 1842: It's Lights Out, Thanks to Ether". Wired. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- Presented to the Royal Society of London.
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1840–1860". Archived from the original on 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- Owen, R. (1842). "Report on British Fossil Reptiles." Part II. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Plymouth, England.
- "Über das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels – Versuch einer das Bradley'sche Theorem als integrirenden Theil in sich schliessenden allgemeineren Theorie" ("On the coloured light of the binary refracted stars and other celestial bodies – Attempt of a more general theory including Bradley's theorem as an integral part"). Abhandlungen der kaiserlichen bõhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Prag (Prague) V Folge 2. 25 May 1842.
- von Mayer, J. R. (1842). "Bemerkungen über die Kräfte der unbelebten Nature ("Remarks on the forces of inorganic nature")". Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie. 43: 233–40. doi:10.1002/jlac.18420420212. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
- "History of the university". TU Delft. Archived from the original on 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- "Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-29. See section: "Contributors to the invention of the sewing machine".
- Smiles, Samuel (1912). James Nasmyth Engineer: an Autobiography. John Murray. Retrieved 2009-11-14.