The Royal Society
King Charles II grants a charter to the Royal Society (UK) in 1662, establishing one of the world's oldest scientific societies. The society officially started in 1660 when a group of 12, including Robert Boyle, met at Gresham College and decided to meet weekly to witness experiments and discuss scientific topics.
The origins of the Royal Society lie in an ‘invisible college’ of natural philosophers who began meeting in the mid-1640s to discuss the new philosophy of promoting knowledge of the natural world through observation and experiment, which we now call science. Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most well-known members of this fellowship.
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 in 1661, and in the second Royal Charter of 1663 the Society is referred to as ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’.
The Society found accommodation at Gresham College and rapidly began to acquire a library (the first book was presented in 1661) and a repository or museum of specimens of scientific interest. After the Fire of 1666 it moved for some years to Arundel House, London home of the Dukes of Norfolk. It was not until 1710, under the Presidency of Isaac Newton, that the Society acquired its own home, two houses in Crane Court, off the Strand.
In 1847 the Society decided that in future Fellows would be elected solely on the merit of their scientific work.
Visit the Royal Society to read more about its origins.
Excerpted with permission, royalsociety.org