1842 in science
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- February 21 - John J. Greenough patents the sewing machine
- Crawford Long performs the first surgical operation using anesthesia
- February 2 - Yulian Vasilievich Sokhotski (d. 1927), mathematician.
- May 8 - Emil Christian Hansen (d. 1909), fermentation physiologist.
- August 23 - Osborne Reynolds (d. 1912), physicist.
- September 9 - Elliott Coues (d. 1899), ornithologist.
- September 20 - James Dewar (d. 1923), chemist.
- November 12 - John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (d. 1919), Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
- December 17 - Sophus Lie (d. 1899), mathematician.
- February 15 - Archibald Menzies (b. 1754), botanist.
- May 8 - Jules Dumont d'Urville (b. 1790), explorer.
- August 18 - Louis de Freycinet, (b. 1779) explored coastal regions of Western Australia