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The origins of the Royal Society lie in a group of men who began meeting in the mid-1640s to discuss the new philosophy. Its official foundation date is 28 November 1660, when 12 of them met at Gresham College after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the Gresham Professor of Astronomy and decided to found ‘a College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning’. This group included Wren himself, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker. The Society was to meet weekly to witness experiments and discuss what we would now call scientific topics. The first Curator of Experiments was Robert Hooke. It was Moray who first told the King, Charles II, of this venture and secured his approval and encouragement. At first apparently nameless, the name The Royal Society first appears in print in1661 and in the second Royal Charter of 1663, the Society is referred to as ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’.

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The origins of the Royal Society lie in a group of men who began meeting in the mid-1640s to discuss the new philosophy. Its official foundation date is 28 November 1660, when 12 of them met at Gresham College after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the Gresham Professor of Astronomy and decided to found ‘a College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning’. This group included Wren himself, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker. The Society was to meet weekly to witness experiments and discuss what we would now call scientific topics. The first Curator of Experiments was Robert Hooke. It was Moray who first told the King, Charles II, of this venture and secured his approval and encouragement. At first apparently nameless, the name The Royal Society first appears in print in1661 and in the second Royal Charter of 1663, the Society is referred to as ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’. More

 
    John Wilkins, Co-founder Royal Society
  John Wilkins, Co-founder Royal Society
John Wilkins was an English clergyman, natural philosopher and author, as well as one of the founders of the Royal Society. He was Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his death. Wilkins is one of the few persons to have headed a college at both the...
 
    John Wallis, Symbol for Infinity
  John Wallis, Symbol for Infinity
John Wallis was an English mathematician who is given partial credit for the development of infinitesimal calculus. Between 1643 and 1689 he served as chief cryptographer for Parliament and, later, the royal court. He is also credited with introducin...
 
    Thomas Willis, Pioneer Neurology
  Thomas Willis, Pioneer Neurology
Thomas Willis was an English doctor who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. He was a founding member of the Royal Society. He was a pioneer in research into the anatomy of the brain, nervous system and muscle...
 
    Robert Boyle, Natural Philosopher
  Robert Boyle, Natural Philosopher
The Honourable Robert Boyle was an Irish natural philosopher, noted for his work in physics and chemistry. He was an alchemist; and believing the transmutation of metals to be a possibility, he carried out experiments in the hope of effecting it; an...
 
    Charles II of England
  Charles II of England
Charles II was the King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland from 1649 until his death. His father Charles I had been executed in 1649, following the English Civil War; the monarchy was then abolished and the Kingdom of England and the King...
 
    Antony van Leeuwenhoek, 1st Microbiologist
  Antony van Leeuwenhoek, 1st Microbiologist
Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch tradesman and scientist. He is commonly known as "the Father of Microbiology", and considered to be the first microbiologist. He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his c...
 
    Christopher Wren, Architect St. Paul's Cathedral
  Christopher Wren, Architect St. Paul's Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren was an English anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist, as well as one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. He was accorded responsibility for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of Lond...
 
    Robert Hooke, Natural Philosopher
  Robert Hooke, Natural Philosopher
Robert Hooke, natural philosopher, inventor, architect, chemist, mathematician, physicist, engineer. Robert Hooke is one of the most neglected natural philosophers of all time. The inventor of, amongst other things, the iris diaphragm in cameras, the...
 
    Thomas Tompion, English Clockmaker
  Thomas Tompion, English Clockmaker
Thomas Tompion was an English clock maker, watchmaker and mechanician who is still regarded to this day as the Father of English Clockmaking. Tompion's work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the world and can comm...
 
    Nicolaes Witsen, Mayor Amsterdam
  Nicolaes Witsen, Mayor Amsterdam
Nicolaas or Nicolaes Witsen was mayor of Amsterdam thirteen times, between 1682-1706. In 1693 he became administrator of the VOC. In 1689 he was extraordinary-ambassador to the English court, and became Fellow of the Royal Society. In his free time h...
 
    Isaac Newton, Theory of Gravitation
  Isaac Newton, Theory of Gravitation
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolutio...
 
    Denis Papin, French Steam Pioneer
  Denis Papin, French Steam Pioneer
Denis Papin was a French physicist, mathematician and inventor, best known for his pioneering invention of the steam digester, the forerunner of the steam engine, and of the pressure cooker. In 1673, while working with Christiaan Huygens and Gottf...
 
    Edmond Halley, Astronomer
  Edmond Halley, Astronomer
Edmond Halley, Astronomer, remembered because his name is attached to a comet. Leaving Queen's College, Oxford, without a degree in 1676, he went to St Helena to map the southern stars. After a famous meeting with Wren and Hooke, he visited Newton in...
 
    Fahrenheit, Inventor Thermometer
  Fahrenheit, Inventor Thermometer
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, German physicist and instrument maker. He spent most of his life in the Netherlands, where he devoted himself to the study of physics and the manufacture of precision meteorological instruments. He is best known for inventi...
 
    William Stukeley, Stonehenge Investigator
  William Stukeley, Stonehenge Investigator
William Stukeley was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of th...
 
    Willem 's Gravesande, Mathematician
  Willem 's Gravesande, Mathematician
Willem Jacob 's Gravesande was a Dutch philosopher and mathematician. His chief contribution to physics involved an experiment in which brass balls were dropped with varying velocity onto a soft clay surface. His results were that a ball with twice t...
 
    Colin Maclaurin, Scottish Mathematician
  Colin Maclaurin, Scottish Mathematician
Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician who made important contributions to geometry and algebra. The Maclaurin series, a special case of the Taylor series, is named after him. Maclaurin also made significant contributions to the gravitation...
 
    Thomas Bayes, Mathematician
  Thomas Bayes, Mathematician
Thomas Bayes was a British mathematician and Presbyterian minister, known for having formulated a special case of Bayes' theorem. Bayes was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1742. Bayes is known to have published two works in his lifetime: Di...
 
    Charles Bonnet, Naturalist
  Charles Bonnet, Naturalist
Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist and philosophical writer. In 1760 he described a condition now called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, in which vivid, complex visual hallucinations (fictive visual percepts) occur in psychologically normal people. (He docume...
 
    Robert Clive of India, Commander-in-Chief of British India
  Robert Clive of India, Commander-in-Chief of British India
Major-General Robert Clive, also known as Clive of India, Commander-in-Chief of British India, was a British officer and privateer who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. He is credited with securing...
 
    Captain James Cook, British Navigator, Explorer
  Captain James Cook, British Navigator, Explorer
Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the...
 
    Bougainville, French Admiral & Explorer
  Bougainville, French Admiral & Explorer
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain. He later gained fame for his expedition...
 
    William Herschel, Discovered Uranus - 1781
  William Herschel, Discovered Uranus - 1781
Sir Frederick William Herschel was a German-born British astronomer and composer who became famous for discovering Uranus. He also discovered infrared radiation and made many other discoveries in astronomy. He played the cello besides the oboe and...
 
    Edward Jenner, Smallpox Vaccine - 1796
  Edward Jenner, Smallpox Vaccine - 1796
Jenner was an English physician and pupil of John Hunter, a pioneer in comparative anatomy and morphology. Jenner's invaluable experiments, beginning in 1796 with the vaccination of eight-year-old James Phipps, proved that cowpox provided immunity ag...
 
    Georges Cuvier, French Naturalist
  Georges Cuvier, French Naturalist
Georges Cuvier was a renowned French naturalist and zoologist considered the founder of comparative anatomy and vertebrate paleontology. He originated a system of zoological classification that comprised four phyla based on differences in structure o...
 
    Humphry Davy, Chemist
  Humphry Davy, Chemist
Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet FRS MRIA was a British chemist and inventor. He is probably best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkali and alkaline earth metals, as well as contributions to the discoveries of the elemental nature of c...
 
    Charles Barry, Architect Houses of Parliament, London
  Charles Barry, Architect Houses of Parliament, London
Sir Charles Barry was an English architect, best known for his role in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament) in London during the mid-19th century, but also responsible for numerous other buildings and g...
 
    Robert FitzRoy, Captain of HMS Beagle
  Robert FitzRoy, Captain of HMS Beagle
Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy RN achieved lasting fame as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, and as a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate weather forecasting a reality. He was an able surveyor and hydrographer and s...
 
    Alexander Burnes, Scottish Explorer
  Alexander Burnes, Scottish Explorer
Captain Sir Alexander Burnes, was a Scottish traveller and explorer who took part in The Great Game. He was nicknamed Bokhara Burnes for his role in establishing contact with and exploring Bukhara, which made his name. At the age of sixteen, Alex...
 
    Charles Darwin, Evolution Theory - 1859
  Charles Darwin, Evolution Theory - 1859
Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs beca...
 
    William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong
  William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong
William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong CB, FRS was an effective Tyneside industrialist who founded the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing empire. Armstrong was responsible for developing the hydraulic accumulator. Where water pressure was no...
 
    George Boole, Foundations Information Age
  George Boole, Foundations Information Age
George Boole was an English mathematician, educator, philosopher and logician. He worked in the fields of differential equations and algebraic logic, and is best known as the author of The Laws of Thought (1854) which contains Boolean algebra. Boolea...
 
    James Joule, Conservation of Energy
  James Joule, Conservation of Energy
James Prescott Joule was an English physicist and brewer, born in Salford, Lancashire. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development o...
 
    Sir Richard Burton, Explorer, etc.
  Sir Richard Burton, Explorer, etc.
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS was a British geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia,...
 
    Sir Francis Galton, Pioneer in Eugenics
  Sir Francis Galton, Pioneer in Eugenics
Sir Francis Galton, half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. He was knighted in 1909....
 
    Rassam, Found Tablets of Gilgamesh
  Rassam, Found Tablets of Gilgamesh
Hormuzd Rassam was a native Assyrian Assyriologist, British diplomat and traveller who made a number of important discoveries, including the clay tablets that contained the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world's oldest literature. In addition, he found the C...
 
    John Speke, Source of the Nile -1856
  John Speke, Source of the Nile -1856
John Hanning Speke was an officer in the British Indian Army who made three exploratory expeditions to Africa and who is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile. In 1844 he was commissioned into the British army and posted to I...
 
    Srinivasa Ramanujan, Indian Mathematician
  Srinivasa Ramanujan, Indian Mathematician
Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician and autodidact. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. Ramanu...
 
    William Bragg, Physicist
  William Bragg, Physicist
Sir William Lawrence Bragg was an Australian born British physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 with his father Sir William Henry Bragg. He is, to date, the youngest Nobel laureate. He was the director of the Cavendish Laboratory, C...
 
    James Chadwick, Discovery Neutron
  James Chadwick, Discovery Neutron
Sir James Chadwick was an English Nobel laureate in physics awarded for his discovery of the neutron. In 1932, Chadwick discovered a previously unknown particle in the atomic nucleus. This particle became known as the neutron because of its lack...
 
    Satyendra Nath Bose, Indian Physicist
  Satyendra Nath Bose, Indian Physicist
Satyendra Nath Bose was an Indian physicist, specializing in mathematical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose-Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose-Einstein conden...
 
    David Attenborough, English Naturalist
  David Attenborough, English Naturalist
Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for 60 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine Life series, in conjunction with...
 
    Steven Weinberg, Physicist, Electroweak Interaction
  Steven Weinberg, Physicist, Electroweak Interaction
Steven Weinberg (is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. He ho...
 
       
 
         
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