This timeline highlights the dates of many important scientific breakthroughs, as well as many of the key points in GRC's history.

1970 - 1989
Legend: Scientific Breakthrough GRC Event
The liquid crystal display (LCD) is patented.
Congress adopts the Clean Air Act, and President Richard M. Nixon establishes the Environmental Protection Agency.
Conferences are held in Wisconsin.
Intel develops the first general-purpose, programmable microprocessor, the 4004.
Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen introduce recombinant DNA technology.
The first catalytic converters are installed in automobiles in response to motor-vehicle emissions regulations issued by Congress.
Raymond Damadian introduces magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for medical diagnoses.
Genentech produces somatostatin, the first human protein to be manufactured in bacteria.
Alan Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid, and Hideki Shirakama discover that doping organic polymers with atoms and small molecules facilitates their conductivity. A huge array of applications of the resulting conducting polymers, such as rechargeable batteries, corrosion inhibition, antistatic dispersion, and flexible transistors, are still being explored today.
Apple Computer releases the Apple II personal computer.
Genentech and the City of Hope National Medical Center announce the successful laboratory production of human insulin using recombinant-DNA technology.
In Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that genetically engineered bacteria are patentable.
GRC celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with the production of Gordon Research Conferences, Frontiers of Science; 50th Anniversary. A special council meeting is held on 31 March at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel.
The scanning tunneling microscope is invented by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer.
Compact disc players are commercially available for the first time.
Kary Mullis and others at Cetus Corporation invent the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which makes possible the replication of DNA sequences without the use of microorganisms in amounts large enough for analysis.
The Antarctic ozone hole is confirmed (first identified by British Antarctic Survey in the 1970s).
Buckminsterfullerene (carbon-60), the only pure form of carbon aside from diamond and graphite, is discovered by Robert F. Curl, Jr., Harry W. Kroto, and Richard E. Smalley and named after the American architect Buckminster Fuller. Buckyballs are hollow round clusters of sixty carbon atoms.
Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, is established as a summer site.
Sir James Black receives the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the development of propranolol, a beta-blocker that revolutionized the treatment of angina pectoris.