Historic Space-Related Science Research Papers

This page lists some of the most significant space-related scientific publications of human history. All files are free, in PDF format.

20th Century

Properties of Expanding Universes (Stephen Hawking, S. 1966)
Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis, the document that helped launch his career, submitted when he was 24 years old.

Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content? (Albert Einstein, 1905)
The paper that introduced what is probably the most famous scientific equation of all: E = mc2

On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (Albert Einstein, 1905)
In what is now known as Einstein's special theory of relativity, this paper reconciles Maxwell's equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics by introducing changes to mechanics at near-light speed.

On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light (Albert Einstein, 1905)
This article proposed the idea of energy quanta, or the hypothesis that light exists as individual particles rather than a continuous stream.

18th Century

Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light (Isaac Newton, 1704)
Newton's second major book on science, "Optiks" is a profoundly important historical science text. We also have an alternative version.

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Isaac Newton, 1687)
Often simply called Principia, this book reveals Newton's laws of motion and universal gravitation. At this stage we only have the original Latin version available—we're on the hunt for a free English translation ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy").

17th Century

Harmonies of the World (Johannes Kepler, 1619)
Kepler discusses geometrical forms and physical phenomena, and relates his discovery of the "third law of planetary motion".

16th Century

On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543)
The ground-breaking book that challenged the traditional geocentric (Earth-centered) model of the Universe, and outlined a new heliocentric model (with the Sun at the centre).