Astronomy and space sciences
- August 10 – A 5.1 kg chondrite-type meteorite breaks into fragments and strikes earth near the town of Archie, Missouri.
- Estonian astronomer Ernst Öpik postulates that long-period comets originate in an orbiting cloud (the Öpik–Oort cloud) at the outermost edge of the Solar System.
- English geneticist C. D. Darlington publishes Recent Advances in Cytology, describing the mechanics of chromosomal crossover and its role in evolutionary science.
- English geneticist J. B. S. Haldane publishes The Causes of Evolution, unifying the findings of Mendelian genetics with those of evolutionary science.
- American physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon publishes The Wisdom of the Body, developing and popularising the concept of homeostasis.
- A flock of Soay sheep is translocated from Soay to Hirta (also in the depopulated archipelago of St Kilda, Scotland) by conservationist John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute.
- The heath hen becomes extinct in North America.
- Menger-Nöbeling theorem.
- John von Neumann makes foundational contributions to ergodic theory in a series of papers.
- Rózsa Péter presents the results of her paper on recursive function theory, "Rekursive Funktionen," to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich, Switzerland.
- December – Marian Rejewski of the Polish Biuro Szyfrów applies pure mathematics – permutation group theory – to breaking the German armed forces' Enigma machine ciphers.
- January 5 – The pathology of Cushing's syndrome is first described by Harvey Cushing.
- American gastroenterologist Burrill Bernard Crohn and colleagues describe a series of patients with "regional ileitis", inflammation of the terminal ileum, the area most commonly affected by the condition which will become known as Crohn's disease.
- Grace Medes discovers tyrosinosis, the metabolic disorder later known as Type I tyrosinemia.
- Rudolph Schindler introduces the first semi-flexible gastroscope, in Germany.
- Commencement of the 40-year Tuskegee syphilis experiment by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor African-American sharecroppers in Alabama without their informed consent.
- First published use of the term Medical genetics, in an article by Madge Thurlow Macklin.
- Gerhard Domagk develops a chemotherapeutic cure for streptococcus
- Albert Szent-Györgyi and Charles Glen King identify ascorbic acid as an anti-scorbutic.
- December 25 – IG Farben file a patent application in Germany for the medical application of the first sulfonamide drug, Sulfonamidochrysoidine (KI-730; which will be marketed as Prontosil), following Gerhard Domagk's laboratory demonstration of its properties as an antibiotic at the conglomerate's Bayer laboratories.
- April 14 – John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton focus a proton beam on lithium and split its nucleus.
- May 10 – James Chadwick discovers the neutron. Werner Heisenberg explains its symmetries by introducing the concept of isospin.
- August 2 – The positron is observed by Carl Anderson.
- The Kennedy–Thorndike experiment shows that measured time as well as length are affected by motion, in accordance with the theory of special relativity.
- John von Neumann rigorously establishes a mathematical framework for quantum mechanics in Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik.
- Zero-length springs are invented, revolutionizing seismometers and gravimeters.
- Nobel Prizes
- January 16 – Dian Fossey (murdered 1985), American primatologist.
- February 10 – Robert Taylor (died 2017), American computer scientist.
- March 10 – Udupi Ramachandra Rao (died 2017), Indian space scientist.
- March 14 – Joseph Bryan Nelson (died 2015), British ornithologist.
- March 15 – Alan Bean (died 2018), American astronaut.
- April 26 – Michael Smith (died 2000), English-born biochemist, recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- May 22 – Robert Spitzer (died 2015), American psychiatrist.
- August 4 – Frances E. Allen, American computer scientist, Turing Award winner
- August 15 – Robert L. Forward (died 2002), American science fiction author and physicist.
- August 18 – Luc Montagnier, French virologist and joint recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- September 18 – Nikolai Rukavishnikov (died 2002), Russian cosmonaut.
- September 29 – Rainer Weiss, German-born American physicist, joint recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for detection of gravitational waves.
- October 1 – Biswa Ranjan Nag (died 2004), Indian physicist.
- October 3 – Terence English, South African-born cardiac surgeon.
- October 13 – John G. Thompson, American mathematician.
- November 6 – François Englert, Belgian theoretical physicist, joint recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovery of the Higgs mechanism.
- February 29 – George Claridge Druce (born 1850), English botanist.
- March 14 – George Eastman (born 1854), American photography pioneer (suicide).
- April 3 – Wilhelm Ostwald (born 1853), Baltic German chemist.
- April 20 – Giuseppe Peano (born 1858), Italian mathematician.
- May 29 – Cuthbert Christy (born 1863), English medical investigator, zoologist and explorer.
- June 21 – Major Taylor (born 1878), African American racing cyclist.
- July 9 – King Camp Gillette (born 1855), American inventor.
- July 14 – Fran Jesenko (born 1875), Slovene botanist and plant geneticist.
- July 22 – Reginald Fessenden (born 1866), Canadian American radio broadcasting pioneer.
- August 9 – John Charles Fields (born 1863), Canadian mathematician.
- September 16 – Sir Ronald Ross (born 1857), British physiologist.
- November 12 – Sir Dugald Clerk (born 1854), Scottish-born mechanical engineer.
- Öpik, E. (October 1932). "Note on Stellar Perturbations of Nearly Parabolic Orbits". Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 67 (6): 169–183. doi:10.2307/20022899. JSTOR 20022899.
- Benirschke, K. (2004). "The Man Who Invented the Chromosome: A Life of Cyril Darlington". Journal of Heredity. 95 (6): 541–542. doi:10.1093/jhered/esh080.
- "Braggite". Mindat.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "Braggite" (PDF). Handbook of Mineralogy. Mineral Data Publishing. 2001–2005. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- von Neumann, John (1932). "Proof of the Quasi-ergodic Hypothesis". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 18 (1): 70–82. Bibcode:1932PNAS...18...70N. doi:10.1073/pnas.18.1.70. PMC 1076162. PMID 16577432.
- von Neumann, John (1932). "Physical Applications of the Ergodic Hypothesis". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 18 (3): 263–266. Bibcode:1932PNAS...18..263N. doi:10.1073/pnas.18.3.263. JSTOR 86260. PMC 1076204. PMID 16587674.
- Halmos, Paul R. (1958). "Von Neumann on Measure and Ergodic Theory". Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 64 (3): 86–94. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1958-10203-7.
if von Neumann had never done anything else, they would have been sufficient to guarantee him mathematical immortality.
- Kahn, David (1996). The Codebreakers (2nd ed.). p. 974.
- Kozaczuk, Władysław (1984). Enigma: How the German Machine Cipher was Broken, and how it was Read by the Allies in World War Two. Frederick, Md: University Publications of America. pp. 234–236. ISBN 978-0-89093-547-7.
- Cushing, Harvey (1932). "The basophil adenomas of the pituitary body and their clinical manifestations (pituitary basophilism)". Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. 50: 137–95. Reprinted in Cushing, Harvey (April 1969). "The basophil adenomas of the pituitary body". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 44 (4): 180–1. PMC 2387613. PMID 19310569.
- "Dr. Cushing Dead; Brain Surgeon, 70. A Pioneer Who Won Fame as Founder of New School of Neuro-Surgery. Discovered Malady Affecting Pituitary Gland. Was Noted Teacher and Author". The New York Times. 8 October 1939. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Crohn, B. B.; Ginzburg, L.; Oppenheimer, G. D. (2000). "Regional ileitis: a pathologic and clinical entity, 1932". Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine. 67 (3): 263–8. PMID 10828911.
- Schäfer, P. K.; Sauerbruch, T. (2004). "Rudolf Schindler (1888–1968) – 'Vater' der Gastroskopie". Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie. 42 (6): 550–6. doi:10.1055/s-2004-813178. PMID 15190453.[permanent dead link]
- "The Tuskegee Timeline". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- Harper, Peter S. (2008). A Short History of Medical Genetics. Oxford University Press. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-19-518750-2.
- Lesch, J. E. (2007). "Prontosil". The First Miracle Drugs: How the Sulfa Drugs Transformed Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 51–61. ISBN 978-0-19-518775-5.
- Chadwick, J. (September 1932). "Possible Existence of a Neutron". Nature. 129 (3252): 312. Bibcode:1932Natur.129Q.312C. doi:10.1038/129312a0.
- Chadwick, J. (1932). "The Existence of the Neutron". Proceedings of the Royal Society. A136 (830): 692–708. doi:10.1098/rspa.1932.0112.
- Heisenberg, W. (1932). "Über den Bau der Atomkerne". Zeitschrift für Physik. 77 (1–2): 1–11. Bibcode:1932ZPhy...77....1H. doi:10.1007/BF01342433.
- Anderson, Carl D. (1932). "The Apparent Existence of Easily Deflectable Positives". Science. 76 (1967): 238–9. Bibcode:1932Sci....76..238A. doi:10.1126/science.76.1967.238. JSTOR 1658257. PMID 17731542.
- Kennedy, Roy J.; Thorndike, Edward M. (1932). "Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time". Physical Review. 42 (3): 400–418. Bibcode:1932PhRv...42..400K. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.42.400.