- A comet is observed, which later becomes known as Comet Halley, after Edmund Halley successfully predicts its return in 1758.
- Antony Van Leeuwenhoek discovers the banded pattern of muscle fibers.
- John Ray publishes his Methodus plantarum nova, which sets out his system to divide flowering plants into monocotyledons and dicotyledons.
- René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle canoes down the Mississippi River, naming the Mississippi basin Louisiana in honour of Louis XIV.
- English naval surgeon James Yonge (1646–1721) publishes Wounds of the Brain Proved Curable, probably the first monograph in English on surgery of the head.
- February 4 – Johann Friedrich Böttger, German alchemist and developer of porcelain manufacture (died 1719)
- February 25 – Giovanni Battista Morgagni, Italian anatomist (died 1771)
- March 24 – Mark Catesby, English naturalist (died 1749)
- April 16 – John Hadley, English mathematician (died 1744)
- July 10 – Roger Cotes, English mathematician (died 1716)