Editorial Feature

The History of Science and Engineering in Manchester

Science and Engineering in Manchester - Infographic

Embed this infographic

Science and Engineering in Manchester - A Proud History

The Observant Astronomer

1630 – The transit of Venus across the sun is observed and verified by William Crabtree1

The Industrial Revolution

1761 – England’s first ever canal, The Bridgewater, is built to help feed the industrial revolution with coal2

Atomic Theory

1808 – John Dalton introduces the world to Dalton Atomic Theory and his New System of Chemical Philosophy – a predecessor of modern chemistry3

Inter-City Travel

1830 – The Liverpool and Manchester railway, the first ever railway between two cities, is opened - connecting Liverpool Docks to Industrial Manchester4

1840 – One of the first nasty environmental effects of the Industrial Revolution is identified – Acid Rain5

Understanding Energy Transfer

1843 – The Laws of Thermodynamics become gospel when Joule presents his theory on the transfer of heat, allowing Mancunions to develop even more powerful machines6

1890 – Work on the 90-mile-long Thirlmere Aqueduct begins, which will deliver fresh water from the Lake District to a polluted Manchester7

The Nuclear Family

1897 –J. J. Thompson discovers the electron and proposes that atoms can be broken down into smaller units – an idea his student, Rutherford, finds extremely interesting…8

The Automotive Age Arrives

1904 – A chance meeting between Charles Rolls, a local car dealership owner, and Henry Royce, a successful engineer, leads to the creation of Rolls Royce and “the modern car”9

1909 – Hans Geiger invents the Geiger Tube, which allows nuclear radiation to be detected and measured10

1917 - Rutherford ‘splits the atom’ at the University of Manchester’s Physics Laboratory, allowing Bohr to establish nuclear atomic theory11

1932 - James Chadwick Discovers the Neutron, completing the original atomic family12

The Dawn of the Digital Age

1951 – Alan Turing, having played an instrumental part in breaking German ENIGMA codes during WW2, creates the Turing Test as a method of assessing Artificial Intelligence13

1945 – Work on the Jodrell Bank Radio-Telescope begins which is, at the time, the largest telescope on the planet14

1978 – The first ever test tube baby, conceived via IVF treatment, is born at Oldham Hospital15

2004 – The two-dimensional wonder material Graphene is isolated, bringing a whole new dimension to nanoscience16 

2010 – Manchester-Based Brian Cox wins the Kelvin Medal for his outstanding work communicating the excitement of physics to the public17

2017 - Researchers at the University of Manchester’s Computer Science Department continue Turing’s legacy by demonstrating that supercomputers can be constructed using DNA18

What Next?

AZoNetwork connects over 75 Million scientists, researchers and engineers with companies, products and applications. This infographic marks the opening of the new company offices in Manchester city centre. Go to AZoNetwork to find out more.


1 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-18333373

2 - http://www.bridgewatercanal.co.uk/history/

3 - https://www.chemheritage.org/historical-profile/john-dalton

4 - https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/100741

5 - http://www.rsc.org/diversity/175-faces/all-faces/robert-angus-smith

6 - https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200912/physicshistory.cfm

7 - http://hidden-manchester.org.uk/waterways/thirlmere-aqueduct.html

8 - https://www.chemheritage.org/historical-profile/joseph-john-j-j-thomson

9 - https://www.rolls-royce.com/about/our-story/rolls-royce-history-timeline.aspx

10 - https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201206/physicshistory.cfm

11 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/manchester/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8282000/8282223.stm

12 - https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200705/physicshistory.cfm

13 - http://thebubblechamber.org/2014/06/can-machines-think-yet-a-brief-history-of-the-turing-test/

14 - https://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/feb/02/lovell-telescope-jodrell-bank-astronomy

15 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33599353

16 - http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/discover/latest-findings/

17 - http://www.iop.org/about/awards/education/kelvin/medallists/page_43988.html

18 - http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/scientists-reveal-new-super-fast-form-of-computer-that-grows-as-it-computes

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback