Difference Between Discovery and Invention

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 01, 2023


Difference Between Discovery and Invention

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Experts have either found or invented everything around us that we use daily. Due to a common misunderstanding about the terms "discovery" and "invention," most people assume that these two concepts are interchangeable.

Discovery vs Invention

Discovering something previously unknown to anyone else—finding something unexpected—is the definition of discovery. On the other hand, invention refers to the process of using one's ideas and experiments to produce something fresh and beneficial.

Difference Between Discovery and Invention (In Tabular Form)

MeaningFinding or studying something that already existed but was previously undetected is referred to as discovery.Invention is the construction or design of a thing or a method that has never been done before using one's concepts and innovations.
What is it?discovering anything that has not yet been recognized.creating a novel, cutting-edge concept.
RepresentsNature's phenomenaInvented or manufactured by humans or scientists.
Subjecteither on intent or by accident.intentionally conceived.
PatentIt is not patentable.is patentable.

What is Discovery?

The act of finding something for the first time despite it already existing in the world but going unnoticed until that point is what is meant by the phrase "discovery." It involves examining recent occurrences, behaviors, phenomena, or logic. The finding is based on theories, teamwork, or even earlier discoveries.

Curiosity and questioning play a crucial part in discovery since they reveal previously unknown things, leading to the creation of new procedures, goods, and techniques. Science and technology have advanced significantly as a result of several important discoveries.

History of Discovery

In the course of human history, there have been a great number of scientific, geographical, and cultural advances that fall under the broad and complicated umbrella of the history of discovery. It entails the investigation and disclosure of novel information, concepts, locales, and phenomena. While it is impossible to discuss every facet of discovery in one response, I can give a quick rundown of some significant turning points and themes.

Ancient Findings

  • Ancient cultures including the Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese achieved important advancements in a variety of domains. They created writing, algebra, astronomy, and medical systems.
  • Greek philosophers like Pythagoras and Aristotle established the foundation for scientific inquiry and thought.
  • The seafaring Phoenicians and Polynesians explored unexplored territory, increasing their understanding of geography and navigation.

Scientific Findings

  • Our view of the natural world has changed as a result of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. People like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton questioned accepted wisdom and developed novel astronomical, physics, and mathematical theories.
  • Biology made enormous strides in the 19th century because of the work of scientists like Charles Darwin, who put forth the hypothesis of evolution by natural selection.
  • Our knowledge of matter and energy has changed as a result of advances in physics and chemistry, including Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and Dmitri Mendeleev's periodic table.

Geographical Findings

  • European explorers like Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan undertook expeditions that opened up new maritime routes and increased geographic knowledge during the Age of Exploration (15th to 17th century).
  • James Cook, Alexander von Humboldt, and Lewis and Clark were just a few of the explorers who discovered uncharted territory, described novel species, and expanded scientific understanding.
  • These findings were greatly aided by technological developments like mapping and navigational tools.

Scientific and Medical Breakthroughs

  • Significant medical advances were made in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the invention of antibiotics by Alexander Fleming, the development of vaccinations by Edward Jenner, and the understanding of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick.
  • Advances in astrophysics, satellite technology, and comprehension of the universe were made possible by the space era and the exploration of the cosmos.

Digital and Technological Advancements

  • James Watt's development of the steam engine and the ensuing industrial revolution changed society, transportation, and manufacturing techniques.
  • Communication, information access, and worldwide connectedness have all been changed by the development of computers and the internet.

These are but a few notable events in the lengthy history of discovery. The world we live in today has been shaped by countless scientists, explorers, inventors, and intellectuals from all cultures and eras who have added to our body of knowledge.

Types of Discoveries

Depending on what is being discovered and the circumstances in which it occurs, many types of discoveries can be made. Here are a few typical discoveries:

  • Scientific discoveries: These entail improvements in our understanding of science. They might be anything from fundamental ideas and rules to particular discoveries or experiments. Examples include Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity or James Watson and Francis Crick's finding of the structure of DNA.
  • Geographical discoveries include the investigation and mapping of brand-new areas, environments, and geographical characteristics. By mapping out new routes and uncharted territories, explorers like Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Captain James Cook produced important geographic discoveries.
  • Medical breakthroughs are those that affect the fields of medicine and healthcare. They may involve the identification of successful therapies, the development of vaccinations, the discovery of novel diseases, or the creation of medical technologies. For instance, Alexander Fleming's discovery of antibiotics altered the way infectious diseases were treated.
  • Technological discoveries are inventions or technological advances that significantly alter a variety of fields. Examples consist of the development of the steam engine, the telephone, the internet, and the discovery of electricity.
  • Archaeological discoveries: These entail the discovery and investigation of ancient civilizations and historical relics. To learn more about earlier cultures, societies, and civilizations, archaeologists find and examine artifacts, buildings, and human remains.
  • Mathematical improvements include the creation of new mathematical ideas, theorems, and formulas. These are known as mathematical discoveries. Numerous scientific and technical sectors continue to be influenced by the significant mathematical discoveries made by mathematicians like Euclid, Pythagoras, and Archimedes.
  • Cultural and anthropological discoveries entail the investigation and comprehension of various social systems, customs, and cultures. Sociologists and anthropologists research human communities and learn about social norms, cultural customs, and human behavior.
  • Discoveries in astronomy: These are observations and information about the universe, space, and celestial bodies. New planets, stars, galaxies, or events like supernovae and black holes are all discovered by astronomers.

Facts about Discovery

  • The Latin term "discooperire," which means "to uncover" or "to reveal," is the source of the English word "discovery."
  • In 1928, Alexander Fleming made one of science's most well-known discoveries: penicillin. Introducing the first antibiotic, transformed medicine.
  • James Watson and Francis Crick built on the work of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins to discover the double helix, the DNA structure, in 1953.
  • New trade routes were made possible and the course of human history was significantly altered by Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas in 1492.
  • In,  2012, the Large Hadron Collider verified the discovery of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle that has improved our understanding of the origin of mass.
  • In 1974, the fossil "Lucy" was found in Ethiopia, and this finding shed light on the early progenitors of modern humans.
  • The concept of buoyancy and the computation of pi were two of many discoveries made by the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes.
  • Dmitri Mendeleev's discovery of the periodic table of elements, which arranged elements according to their properties, revolutionized chemistry in 1869.
  • Organic chemistry was developed as a result of Friedrich August Kekulé's discovery of the benzene molecule's structure in 1865.
  • Wireless communication technologies were made possible by James Clerk Maxwell's discovery of radio waves in the nineteenth century.
  • By making treatments bearable, William Morton's 1846 discovery of anesthetic transformed surgery.
  • The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in the 1980s sparked global attempts to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.
  • In 1964, scientists made the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation finding, which supported the Big Bang theory and our understanding of the universe's creation.
  • The deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs and the vastly increased understanding of ancient Egyptian society were made possible by the 1799 discovery of the Rosetta Stone.
  • Antibiotic resistance and the necessity for prudent antibiotic usage were both brought up by the discovery of penicillin-resistant bacteria in the middle of the 20th century.
  • The discovery of the ancient city of Pompeii's ruins, which were buried by Mount Vesuvius' explosion in 79 AD
  • provided an amazing snapshot of Roman culture and life.
  • Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb led to the discovery of numerous Egyptian artifacts.
  • Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson's discovery of the ozone layer in the Earth's stratosphere in 1913 shed light on the chemistry of the atmosphere and its protective function.
  • A new avenue for the search for habitable planets was opened in 1995 with the discovery of the first exoplanet, a planet outside of our solar system, circling a star similar to the Sun.
  • Our knowledge of the world and astrophysics has been completely transformed by the discovery of black holes, areas of spacetime with incredibly intense gravitational forces.

What is Invention?

An innovative and non-obvious method, gadget, process, improvement, or approach might be considered an invention. An invention is an idea that is developed into reality to produce something novel or technologically advanced to facilitate and accelerate human labor. A simple definition of an invention is something new that is acknowledged as the result of original thought.

Sometimes a single person works alone on a concept for its realization, while other times a team of scientists collaborate to create something helpful. It can also be created by one person and then expanded upon or improved by others. It is essential to change how people carry out their work.

History of Invention

An extensive spectrum of human accomplishments is covered within the sizable and complex concern of invention records, which spans centuries. Our global has changed as a result of inventions, as have the methods we stay, paintings, and talk.

Some Key Inventions

  • Prehistoric innovations: The oldest units used by people consist of fire and hand axes manufactured from stone. These creations, which date to the Paleolithic duration, gave early human beings the capacity to hunt, prepare food, and guard themselves.
  • The wheel turned into created around 3500 BCE, and it's far regularly mentioned as one of humanity's maximum significant inventions. Its records may be traced lower back to historical Mesopotamia, where pottery-making changed into its original software. The invention of the wheel modified transportation and sped up the advent of machines.
  • The paper changed into created in historic China at some stage in the Han Dynasty in the 2d century BCE. It took the area of in advance writing contraptions like papyrus and clay capsules, and it turned into important for the dissemination of facts and the increase of literature.
  • The printing press (fifteenth century): Around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press, which completely changed how understanding was shared. The mass production of books made possible using the printing press contributed to a substantial upward thrust in literacy rates and the dissemination of expertise across Europe.
  • Steam Engine (18th century): James Watt's steam engine, created in the 1760s, was a key invention that sparked the Industrial Revolution. It advanced transportation, production, and the improvement of industries by utilizing the electricity of steam to create mechanical energy.
  • Electricity (19th century): The modern international becomes completely transformed by the discovery and use of energy. Thomas Edison's electric lightbulb is a number of the most considerable innovations in this industry, Michael Faraday invented the electric motor, and Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla created alternating current (AC) and direct modern-day (DC) electric systems.
  • Telephone (19th century): Alexander Graham Bell's introduction of the telephone in 1876 revolutionized lengthy-distance verbal exchange. It paved the way for the development of modern telecommunications by way of enabling verbal exchange across super distances.
  • Automobile (overdue nineteenth century): Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler have been the inventors of the first vehicles, which transformed transportation. It made it viable for humans to journey farther and quicker, which modified how humans interacted with each other and went approximately their everyday lives.
  • Internet (20th century): Tim Berners-Lee changed into one of many people who contributed to the development of the Internet, which has had a full-size effect on the globe. The internet converted international connectivity in ways by no means before viable, transforming communique, commercial enterprise, and statistics get entry to.

These are only sometimes of the innumerable innovations which have contributed to the improvement of human civilization. Technology and engineering tendencies, scientific improvements, clinical discoveries, and other varieties of innovations all hold to advance society and have an impact on destiny.

Facts about Invention

  • It is thought that a process for creating stained glass, which was patented in 1449 by a Venetian engineer named Jacopo Strada, was the first thing ever to receive a patent. The formalized patent system officially got started after this.
  • Inventions could be submitted for temporary monopolies in ancient Greece, where the idea of intellectual property protection through patents first emerged.
  • One of history's most prolific inventors, Thomas Edison, owned more than 1,000 patents. The phonograph, the electric light bulb, and the motion picture camera are just a few of his most renowned creations.
  • Today's typical household device, the microwave oven, was unintentionally created in 1945 by Percy Spencer, a radar engineer.
  • He was working close to a magnetron when he discovered that a chocolate bar he had in his pocket had melted.
  • A unsuccessful experiment led to the creation of the Post-it Note, those popular sticky notes. A weak adhesive was created by 3M chemist Spencer Silver, but it wasn't put to use until Art Fry, a colleague, came up with the idea to use it to secure his bookmarks.
  • Burrs served as the inspiration for the development of Velcro, a hook-and-loop attaching mechanism. During a hiking trip, Swiss engineer George de Mestral observed how burrs adhered to his clothing and his dog's fur. The invention of Velcro was sparked by this insight.
  • Tim Berners-Lee is credited with creating the World Wide Web, which completely changed how we communicate and access information. While employed by CERN in the late 1980s, he created the fundamental ideas and technology that underpin the web.
  • The Statute of Monopolies, which was adopted in England in 1624, is the earliest known patent law. It gave innovators a monopoly for a set amount of time to promote inventions.
  • Many of the most important discoveries were unintentional findings. For instance, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic that was widely used, in 1928 after realizing that a mold had gotten into his bacterial culture plates and killed the germs.

Main Difference Between Discovery and Invention (In Points)

Regarding the distinction between discovery and invention, the following points are crucial:

  • Discovery is the process of looking for and examining something that already existed but was never acknowledged. On the other hand, innovation is the making or designing of a thing or a method that has never existed before using one's thoughts and developments.
  • What is meant by discovery is Coming upon something that is not yet recognized. Contrarily, invention entails creating something novel and innovative.
  • The result of natural occurrences is discovery. In contrast, scientific or human-made artifacts, devices, or procedures are considered inventions.
  • While exploration is a part of discovery, experimentation is a part of invention.
  • When a subject is discovered, it either happens on purpose or by accident; however, when a subject is invented, it is done so on purpose.
  • Discovery refers to things that have been around for a while. Innovation, on the other hand, relates to things that have never existed.
  • Only innovations are covered by the patent; discoveries are not.



  • Columbus' discovery of America.
  • Isaac Newton made the gravity discovery.
  • Robert Hooke made the plant cell discovery.


  • Graham Bell invented the telephone,
  • Thomas Alva Edison invented the lamp, and
  • Charles Babbage is credited with inventing the computer.


In the end, discoveries and inventions are the primary drivers of global change because they alter how people live, work, eat, connect, and so forth. These are closely related; hence, an innovation may result from the integration of previously discovered items. In a similar vein, inventions may aid in the discovery of the unknown.


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"Difference Between Discovery and Invention." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 17 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-discovery-and-invention>.

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