List of experiments
The following is a list of historically important scientific experiments. A historic scientific experiment is one which demonstrates something of great scientific interest, typically in an elegant or clever manner.


Eratosthenes measures the earth's circumference (240 BC)

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī conducts the first elaborate experiments related to astronomical phenomena (c. 1020)

Galileo Galilei uses a telescope to observe that the moons of Jupiter appear to circle Jupiter. This evidence supports the heliocentric model, and weakens the geocentric model of the cosmos (1609)

Ole RÝmer makes the first quantitative estimate of the speed of light in 1676 by timing the motions of Jupiter's satellite Io with a telescope

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson detect the cosmic microwave background radiation, giving support to the theory of the Big Bang (1964)

Kerim Kerimov launches the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188 as experiments on automatic docking eventually leading to the development of space stations (1967)

The Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search Team discover, by observing Type Ia supernovae, that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating (1998)


Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes) introduces controlled experiment into the field of medicine and carried out the first medical experiment in order to find the most hygienic place to build a hospital (10th century)

Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi proves both Galen's theory of humorism and Aristotle's theory of classical elements false using experiments described in his Doubts about Galen (10th century)

Avicenna (Ibn Sina) introduces experimentation and quantification into the study of medicine and physiology, including the introduction of experimental medicine and clinical trials, in The Canon of Medicine (c. 1020)

Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) was the first physician known to have made human postmortem dissections and autopsies. He proved that the skin disease scabies was caused by a parasite, a discovery which upset the Hippocratic and Galenic theory of humorism (12th century)

Abd-el-latif observed and examined a large number of skeletons, and he discovered that Galen was incorrect regarding the formation of the bones of the lower jaw and sacrum (1200)

Ibn al-Nafis carried out autopsies which led him to the discovery of pulmonary circulation and the circulatory system (1242)

Robert Hooke, using a microscope, observes cells (1665)

Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers microorganisms (1674-1676)

James Lind, publishes 'A Treatise of the Scurvy' which describes a controlled ship board experiment using two identical populations but with only one variable, the consumption of citrus fruit. (1753)

Edward Jenner tests his hypothesis for the protective action of mild cowpox infection for smallpox, the first vaccine (1796)