- October 13 – French astronomer Charles Messier discovers the Whirlpool Galaxy (pictured), an interacting, grand design spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici.
- Lagrange presents his work on the secular equation of the Moon to the Académie française, introducing the idea of the potential of a body. He also publishes on the attraction of ellipsoids.
- January 17 – English Captain James Cook becomes the first European explorer to cross the Antarctic Circle.
- Spring – English Captain Tobias Furneaux explores the coast of Van Diemen's Land.
- June 4–September 30 – British Royal Navy Phipps expedition towards the North Pole, which produces the first scientific description of the polar bear and the ivory gull.
- October 12 – North America's first insane asylum opens for 'Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds' in Williamsburg, Virginia.
- Medical Society of London founded by John Coakley Lettsom.
- Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau proposes the use of "muriatic acid gas" (hydrogen chloride) for fumigation of buildings.
- Istanbul Technical University is established (under the original name of Royal School of Naval Engineering) as the world's first comprehensive institution of higher learning dedicated to engineering education.
- January 29 – Friedrich Mohs, German mineralogist (died 1839)
- February 24 - Jean Boniface Textoris, French military surgeon (died 1828)
- April 9 – Marie Boivin, French midwife, inventor and obstetrics writer (died 1841)
- May 19 – Arthur Aikin, English chemist and mineralogist (died 1854)
- June 13 – Thomas Young, English physicist (died 1829)
- June 29 (bapt.) – John Bostock, English physician and geologist (died 1846)
- July 23 – Thomas Brisbane, Scottish astronomer and Governor of New South Wales (died 1860)
- August 23 – Abraham Colles, Anglo-Irish surgeon (died 1843)
- October 28 – Simon Goodrich, English mechanical engineer (died 1847)
- December 21 – Robert Brown, Scottish botanist (died 1858)
- December 27 – George Cayley, English pioneer of heavier-than-air flight (died 1857)
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- Savours, Ann (1984). ""A Very Interesting Point in Geography": The 1773 Phipps Expedition towards the North Pole". Arctic. 37 (4): 402–428. doi:10.14430/arctic2224. ISSN 0004-0843. JSTOR 40510304.
- "Copley Medal | British scientific award". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1750-1800". Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
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