September – Pantanal Matogrossense National Park designated in Brazil.
Publication of Stephen Jay Gould's critique of biological determinism, The Mismeasure of Man, in the United States.
March 5 – The ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, is launched by Sinclair Research, going on to sell over 1.5 million units worldwide.
April 3 – The Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco.
July 9 – Nintendo releases the arcade game Donkey Kong featuring the debut of Mario.
August 12 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
September 12 – The Chaos Computer Club, a European association of hackers, is established in Berlin by Wau Holland and others.
April 26 - Dr. Michael R. Harrison of the University of California, San Francisco, performs the world's first human open fetal surgery.
June 5 - AIDS pandemic begins when the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an unusual cluster of Pneumocystis pneumonia in five homosexual men in Los Angeles.
Dr. Bruce Reitz performs the first successful heart–lung transplant on Mary Gohlke at Stanford Hospital.
April 12 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle: Columbia launches on the STS-1 mission.
July 7 – Electric aircraft Solar Challenger, designed by an American team led by Paul MacCready and piloted by Stephen Ptacek, makes a 163-mile (262 km) crossing of the English Channel using only solar power from wing-mounted photovoltaic cells.
July 17 – Hyatt Regency walkway collapse: Structural failure due to a late design change causes two internal suspended walkways at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri to collapse, killing 114.
Physics – Nicolaas Bloembergen, Arthur Leonard Schawlow, Kai M. Siegbahn
Chemistry – Kenichi Fukui, Roald Hoffmann
Medicine – Roger W. Sperry, David H. Hubel, Torsten N. Wiesel
Turing Award – Edgar F. Codd
Frederick Osborn (b. 1889), American philanthropist and eugenicist.
Harold Urey (b. 1893), American winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
March 9 – Max Delbrück (b. 1906), German biologist.
April 3 – Leo Kanner (b. 1894), Austrian American clinical child psychiatrist.
July 4 - Niels Erik Nørlund (b. 1885), Danish mathematician.
July 27 – Elizabeth Rona (b. 1890), Hungarian American nuclear chemist.
July 31 – Ernest Melville DuPorte (b. 1891), Black Canadian insect morphologist.
November 17 – Sibyl M. Rock (b. 1909), American mathematician.
November 22 – Hans Krebs (b. 1900), German medical doctor and biochemist; discoverer of the citric acid cycle.
December 6 – Harry Harlow (b. 1905), American psychologist.
1981 in science Wikipedia
The year 1981 in science and technology involved many significant events, listed below.