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Construction is started on Connecticut Hall at Yale, now the oldest building in New Haven and a National Historic Landmark.
Carolus Linnaeus's Philosophia Botanica rejects any notion of evolution and continues his work in classifying plants.
The minuet becomes a fashionable dance in Europe.
Colonial South Carolina prohibits slaves from learning about or practicing medicine.
Linnaeus's Species Plantarum completes his development of the use of binary nomenclature in botany. The work still provides the foundation for the modern classification of species.
Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis's Système de la Nature provides a theoretical speculation on heredity and the origin of species by chance.
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac's Traité de sensations claims that knowledge reaches humans only through the senses.
Benjamin Franklin describes electricity as a single fluid and distinguishes between positive and negative electricity in Experiments and Observations on Electricity. He shows that electricity can magnetize and demagnetize iron needles.
The lightning conductor is invented by Benjamin Franklin, whose experiments with lightning include a flying a kite in a thunderstorm. The kite experiment shows that lightning is a form of electricity, similar to the discharge from a Leyden jar.
English painter and engraver William Hogarth publishes the aesthetic treatise, The Analysis of Beauty.
Thomas Chippendale begins making furniture in his workshop in London, England.
Russian scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann is killed performing a lightning experiment in St. Petersburg. Richmann is electrocuted in while trying to quantify the response of an insulated rod to a nearby storm. The incident, reported worldwide, underscored the dangers inherent in experimenting with insulated rods and in using protective rods with faulty ground connections.
The French and Indian War breaks out on the North American continent between the European powers Britain and France.
English critic and writer Samuel Johnson publishes A Dictionary of the English Language, a landmark of lexicography that he has compiled by himself over the course of eight years.
The Great Lisbon Earthquake occurs, killing more than 60,000 people. The huge earthquake (estimated at 9.0 on the modern Richter scale) strikes Lisbon, Portugal, at 9:40 am, on 1 November, during church services for All Saint's Day. Because the earthquake hits on an important church holiday and destroys almost every important church in the city, much anxiety and confusion is generated amongst the citizens of this staunch and devout Roman Catholic city and country, which had been a major patron of the Church. Theologians speculate on the religious cause and message, seeing the earthquake as a manifestation of the anger of God. Some philosophers struggle to reconcile the event with the concept that humanity lives in the best of all possible worlds — a world closely supervised by a benevolent deity.
English statesman and writer Edmund Burke publishes A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. This work of aesthetics, with its emphasis on the sublime, will have a powerful influence on romantic artists and writers.
William Cullen observes the cooling effect of evaporating liquids and publishes the results in An Essay on the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and Other Means of Producing Cold.
The first English manual on guitar playing is published.
Voltaire publishes his great satirical work Candide, inspired in part by the Great Lisbon Earthquake.
The British capture Québec from the French.
In Theoria Generationis (his MD dissertation), Caspar Friedrich Wolff claims the existence of a vis essentialis — an essential force — that is at the heart of all living matter. He also describes the differentiation of tissues in a developing embryo, refuting the preformation concept — the idea that development consists in the growth of a fully formed, but miniature individual. His views were not well received.
The Kew Botanical Gardens open in London.
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