- The Leyden jar, a device for storing electric charge, is invented by Pieter van Musschenbroek. It Is the first capacitor.
- Andrew Gordon describes the "whirl", the first electrostatic reaction motor, and "electric chimes", the first instance of the application of what comes to be called electric convection, in his Versuch einer Erklarung der Electricitat.
- Ruđer Bošković publishes De Viribus Vivis in which he tries to find a middle way between Newton's gravitational theory and Leibniz's monadology, developing a concept of "impenetrability" as a property of hard bodies which explains their behavior in terms of force rather than matter.
- January 6 – Jacques Étienne Montgolfier, French inventor (died 1799)
- January 7 – Johan Christian Fabricius, Danish entomologist (died 1808)
- January 23 – William Jessop, English civil engineer (died 1814)
- February 18 – Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist and chemist (died 1827)
- April 20 – Philippe Pinel, French psychiatrist (died 1826)
- April 26 – Johann Anton Güldenstädt, German naturalist and explorer (died 1781)
- November 30 – Jean-Louis Baudelocque, French obstetrician (died 1810)
- December 15 – Johann Gottfried Koehler, German astronomer (died 1801)
- December 28 – Juan de Ayala, Spanish explorer (died 1797)
- William Cruikshank, Scottish-born anatomist and chemist (died 1800)