LRSEF looks back at the 90s

Let’s put the 1990s into context. Here are some science & engineering breakthroughs and worldwide historical events that were happening in this decade. Talk to your parents, teachers, grandparents and see what else they can tell you about this time period.


  • The space shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Telescope into orbit
  • The Human Genome Project begins in October
  • Lech Walesa Becomes First President of Poland
  • “Sue” – best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found discovered in S. Dakota
  • Nelson Mandela freed from prison


  • Copper Age Man found frozen in glacier
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union
  • Video game Sonic the Hedgehog released propelling Sega Genesis into mass popularity
  • Operation Desert Storm
  • South Africa repeals apartheid laws


  • The IBM Simon, a touchscreen mobile phone & personal digital assistant considered the first smartphone introduced
  • Riots in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict
  • Official end of The Cold War


  • The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips
  • 14-year-old fossil hunter Wes Linster finds the first Bambiraptor skeleton in Montana
  • Use of the Internet grows exponentially
  • World Trade Center bombed


  • Tunnel under the English Channel between Britain & France – The Chunnel opens
  • Nature reports discovery of Australopithecus afarensis first complete human skull in Ethiopia
  • Nelson Mandela elected President of South Africa
  • The Western Hemisphere declared free of polio


  • Data from Galileo shows Jupiter’s moon Europa has liquid ocean under thick crust of ice
  • Sarin gas attack in Tokyo subway
  • Oklahoma City bombing


  • Successful demonstration of magnetic refrigeration
  • Lone climber G. Kropp reaches Mt. Everest summit using no extra oxygen after biking from Sweden
  • Mad cow disease hits Britain
  • December 20 – Astronomer Carl Sagan dies (b. 1934)


  • Tallest building in the world constructed in Kuala Lumpur
  • Hale-Bopp Comet visible on Earth
  • Scientists successfully clone the first mammal, a sheep called Dolly
  • Princess Diana dies in car crash
  • Pathfinder sends back images of Mars


  • Zarya- the first module of the International Space Station is launched
  • Dr. F.W. Mohr performs first robotically assisted coronary artery bypass surgery in Germany using the da Vinci Surgical System while Dr. R. Damiano performs on 17 patients in Pennsylvania
  • U.S. President William J. Clinton impeached
  • India and Pakistan test nuclear weapons


  • The Human Genome Project completed
  • People develop worldwide panic due to projected Y2K “computer bug”
  • The “Euro” becomes the new European currency
  • A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes Turkey, killing more than 17,000 & injuring 44,000
  • JFK Jr. dies in plane accident off eastern coast of USA
  • Killing spree at Columbine High School in Colorado