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1904 in science

The year 1904 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below


  • 1 Astronomy
  • 2 Cartography
  • 3 Mathematics
  • 4 Medicine
  • 5 Physics
  • 6 Technology
  • 7 Zoology
  • 8 Awards
  • 9 Births
  • 10 Deaths
  • 11 References


  • Johannes Franz Hartmann discovers the interstellar medium
  • Edward Walter Maunder plots the first sunspot "butterfly diagram"
  • Notable asteroid 522 Helga is discovered by Max Wolf in Heidelberg
  • December 3 – The sixth moon of Jupiter, later called Himalia, is discovered at Lick Observatory


  • Van der Grinten projection proposed


  • Henri Poincaré discovers the Poincaré homology sphere, leading him to formulate the Poincaré conjecture
  • Helge von Koch describes the "Koch snowflake", one of the earliest fractal curves described
  • Charles Spearman develops his rank correlation coefficient
  • Ernst Zermelo formulates the axiom of choice to formalize his proof of the well-ordering theorem


  • Epinephrine first artificially synthesized by Friedrich Stolz
  • Antoni Leśniowski presents to a meeting of the Warsaw Medical Society a surgical specimen of an inflammatory tumour of the terminal ileum with a fistula to the ascending colon, consistent with what will later become known as Crohn's disease


  • Vacuum tube invented by John Ambrose Fleming
  • James H Jeans's The Dynamical Theory of Gases is published in Cambridge
  • J J Thomson proposes the plum pudding model for the atom
  • Hantaro Nagaoka develops the Saturnian model for the atom


  • July 4 – Piero Ginori Conti demonstrates the use of geothermal power to generate electricity, at Larderello in Italy
  • July 23 – A continuous track tractor is patented by David Roberts of Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham in England
  • November 24 – A continuous track tractor is demonstrated by the Holt Manufacturing Company in the United States
  • The first diesel engined submarine, the Z, is built in France
  • The Heckelphone variety of oboe is invented by Wilhelm Heckel and his sons
  • The sleeve valve is invented by Charles Yale Knight
  • The turbine-powered Bliss-Leavitt torpedo, designed by Frank McDowell Leavitt and manufactured by the E W Bliss Company of Brooklyn, is put into service by the United States Navy
  • Lucien Bull produces the first successful chronophotography of insect flight, working in France
  • Rue Franklin Apartments, Paris, are completed by Auguste Perret and his brother Gustave, an early example of an exposed reinforced concrete frame building


  • First identification and last confirmed sighting of the Choiseul pigeon in the Solomon Islands


  • Nobel Prizes
    • Physics – John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh
    • Chemistry – Sir William Ramsay
    • Medicine – Ivan Pavlov


  • January 21 – Edris Rice-Wray Carson died 1990, American-born physician, pioneer in family planning
  • January 26 – Ancel Keys died 2004 American nutritionist
  • March 13 – René Dumont died 2001, French agronomist
  • March 20 – B F Skinner died 1990, American behavioral psychologist
  • April 11 – Arthur Mourant died 1994, Jersiais hematologist
  • April 22 – J Robert Oppenheimer died 1967, American physicist
  • June 3 – Charles R Drew died 1950, African American physician, pioneer in blood transfusion
  • July 5 – Ernst Mayr died 2005, German-born evolutionary biologist
  • August 5 – Kenneth V Thimann died 1997, English-American plant physiologist and microbiologist known for his studies of plant hormones
  • August 17 – Cornelis Simon Meijer died 1974, Dutch mathematician
  • August 28 – Secondo Campini died 1980, Italian jet pioneer
  • November 11 – J H C Whitehead died 1960, British mathematician


  • March 7 – Ferdinand André Fouqué born 1828, French geologist, petrologist and volcanologist
  • May 10 – Henry Morton Stanley born 1841, Welsh-born explorer and journalist
  • September 24 – Niels Ryberg Finsen born 1860, Icelandic/Faroese/Danish physician and scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • October 7 – Isabella Bird born 1831, British explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist
  • October 21 – Isabelle Eberhardt born 1877, Swiss-Algerian explorer


  1. ^ Asimov, Isaac Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology 2nd ed 
  2. ^ "Sur une courbe continue sans tangente, obtenue par une construction géométrique élémentaire"
  3. ^ Addison, Paul S 1997 Fractals and Chaos: An Illustrated Course Bristol: Institute of Physics p 19 ISBN 0-7503-0400-6 
  4. ^ Crilly, Tony 2007 50 Mathematical Ideas you really need to know London: Quercus p 145 ISBN 978-1-84724-008-8 
  5. ^ Zermelo, Ernst 1904 "Beweis, dass jede Menge wohlgeordnet werden kann" reprint Mathematische Annalen 59 4: 514–16 doi:101007/BF01445300 
  6. ^ Reported by him in Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Warszawskiego Bartnik, W December 2003 "Inflammatory bowel disease – Polish contribution" Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology Kraków: Polish Physiological Society 54 S3: 205–210 PMID 15075474 Retrieved 2008-03-28 
  7. ^ British Patent No 16,345 Robinson, Peter Lincoln's Excavators: The Ruston years 1875–1930 Nynehead: Roundoak ISBN 1-871565-42-1 
  8. ^ Newpower, Anthony 2006 Iron Men And Tin Fish: The Race to Build a Better Torpedo During World War II Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group p 18 ISBN 0-275-99032-X 
  9. ^ Reported by him in "Motional mechanism of the insect wing", Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences 138:590–592 29 February; "Application of the electric spark to the chrono-photography of rapid motions", Comptes rendus 138:155–157 21 March; "Chronophotography of rapid motions", Bulletin de la Société Philomathiclue Paris June 11; Synthesis in chronophotography, Bulletin de la Société Philomathiclue November 12
  10. ^ "Rue Franklin Apartments" GreatBuildings Retrieved 2012-05-29 
  11. ^ Rothschild, Walter 1904-05-20 "Microgoura, n gen" Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 14 CVII: 77–78 Retrieved 2015-09-29 

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