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- January 31 – Ham, a 37-pound male chimpanzee, is rocketed into space in a test of the Project Mercury capsule designed to carry U.S. astronauts into space.
- April 12 – Yuri Gagarin is the first human in space, making a single Low Earth orbit in Vostok 1 before parachuting to the ground.
- April 15 – R. N. Schwartz and Charles Hard Townes publish "Interstellar and Interplanetary Communication by Optical Masers" in Nature, providing a basis for Optical SETI.
- May 19 – Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first manmade object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (however the probe had lost contact with earth a month earlier and does not send back any data).
- May 25 – Apollo program: President Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the moon" before the end of the decade.
- The Drake equation is written by Frank Drake.
- March 9 – The United Kingdom Minister of Health, Enoch Powell, in his "water towers" speech to a Conservative Party conference, proposes closing down of large, traditional psychiatric hospitals in favour of more community-based care.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is first discovered, in the United Kingdom.
- New Zealand cardiologist J. C. P. Williams identifies Williams syndrome.
- February 14 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at Berkeley, California.
- October 30 – The largest nuclear weapon by yield, Tsar Bomba, is detonated in Russia, having a 50-megaton yield.
- Bark scale by German acoustics scientist Eberhard Zwicker.
- Spain joins CERN; Yugoslavia leaves.
- July – First Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures.
- June – RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher introduced in the Soviet Union.
- James L. Buie patents transistor-coupled transistor logic, later known as transistor-to-transistor logic circuitry (TTL), used in integrated circuits.
- Philips publicly introduce the compact audio cassette tape system, developed by a team led by Lou Ottens.
- Butler matrix for beamforming first proposed.
- January 4
- April 17 – Elda Emma Anderson (born 1899), American nuclear and health physicist, of leukemia.
- May 29 – Arnold Gesell (born 1880), American developmental psychologist.
- June 4 – William Astbury (born 1898), English physicist and molecular biologist.
- June 6 – Carl Jung (born 1875), Swiss psychiatrist.
- July 17 – Abner Doble (born 1890), American steam engineer.
- September 4 – Emil von Dungern (born 1867), German serologist.
- November 15 – Johanna Westerdijk (born 1883), Dutch plant pathologist.
- Sven Sømme (born 1904), Norwegian ichthyologist and resistance worker.
- Abraham, E. P.; Newton, G. G. F. (May 1961). "Structure of cephalosporin C". Biochemical Journal. 79 (2): 377–393. doi:10.1042/bj0790377. PMC 1205850. PMID 13681080.
- Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg (2001). Experimentalsysteme – Eine Geschichte der Proteinsynthese im Reagenzglas. Wallstein. ISBN 978-3-89244-454-1.
- Hayflick, L.; Moorhead, P. S. (1961). "The serial cultivation of human diploid cell strains". Experimental Cell Research. 25 (3): 585–621. doi:10.1016/0014-4827(61)90192-6. PMID 13905658.
- "Disc Electrophoresis". Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Ornstein, Leonard (1964). "Disc Electrophoresis". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 121 (2): 321–349. Bibcode:1964NYASA.121..321O. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.140.7598. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1964.tb14207.x. PMID 14240533.
- Landauer, R. (1961). "Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process" (PDF). IBM Journal of Research and Development. 5 (3): 183–191. doi:10.1147/rd.53.0183. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- Birch, Francis (1961). "The velocity of compressional waves in rocks to 10 kilobars. Part 2" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research. 66 (7): 2199–2224. Bibcode:1961JGR....66.2199B. doi:10.1029/JZ066i007p02199.
- Birch, Francis (1961). "Composition of the Earth's mantle". Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. 4: 295–311. Bibcode:1961GeoJ....4..295B. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.1961.tb06821.x.
- Crilly, Tony (2007). 50 Mathematical Ideas you really need to know. London: Quercus. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84724-008-8.
- "1960s". NHS Timeline. Nuffield Trust. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- Lenhoff, Howard M.; Teele, Rita L.; Clarkson, Patricia M.; Berdon, Walter E. (2010). "John C. P. Williams of Williams-Beuren syndrome". Pediatric Radiology. 41 (2): 267–269. doi:10.1007/s00247-010-1909-y. ISSN 0301-0449. PMID 21107555.
- Adams, S. S. (1992). "The propionic acids: A personal perspective". The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 32 (4): 317–323. doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1992.tb03842.x. PMID 1569234.
- "The story of Ibuprofen". Nottingham: BBC. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Lee, J. A. N. (2013). "Computer Pioneers". James L. Buie. IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
While working for TRW, Inc., Los Angeles, in the early 1960s, Buie developed and patented TTL circuitry, which became the dominant IC technology in the 1970s and early 1980s.
- Duk, Wierd (2013-08-24). "Hoe Lou Ottens de wereld veranderde" (PDF). The Twentsche Courant Tubantia (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-03-10.
- Butler, J.; Lowe, R. (1961). "Beam forming matrix simplifiers design of electrically scanned antennas". Electronic Design.
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