Wondrous, wondrous things

Spotted on the big G’s Newsblog. I’m very very excited. I’ve mentioned once or twice the Royal Society and its role in shaping modern science, in particular in reference to Robert Hooke and the recent discovery of his notes and minutes of the early Society’s meetings. Well, they’ve only gone and blown the bloody doors off their extensive online archives [until December – Ed].. all the way back to the first volume of Philosophical Transactions from 1665.. and it’s full of wondrous things.. A flavour of the contents from the Royal Society itself..

Spanning nearly 350 years of continuous publishing, the archive of nearly 60,000 articles includes ground-breaking research and discovery from many renowned scientists including: Bohr, Boyle, Bragg, Cajal, Cavendish, Chandrasekhar, Crick, Dalton, Darwin, Davy, Dirac, Faraday, Fermi, Fleming, Florey, Fox Talbot, Franklin (pictured), Halley, Hawking, Heisenberg, Herschel, Hodgkin, Hooke, Huxley, Joule, Kelvin, Krebs, Liebnitz, Linnaeus, Lister, Mantell, Marconi, Maxwell, Newton, Pauling, Pavlov, Pepys, Priestley, Raman, Rutherford, Schrodinger, Turing, van Leeuwenhoek, Volta, Watt, Wren, and many, many more influential science thinkers up to the present day.

And it’s all there.. in searchable databases.. and downloadable pdf files.. wow

Some highlights of my own brief foraging.. “An Account of Mr. Benjamin Franklin’s Treatise, Lately Published, Intituled, Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America” from Volume 47 – 1751 / 1752.

Edmund Halley’s account of the total solar eclipse over London in 1715, which he had published a map of in advance showing where the shadow of the moon would fall over England, utilising Newton’s Principia Mathematica first published, by the Royal Society, in 1687.

And another Edmund Halley, Isaac Newton collaboration from Volume 19 covering 1695/6 – “The True Theory of the Tides, Extracted from That Admired Treatise of Mr. Isaac Newton; Intituled, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”

The recently rediscovered 16-folio manuscript of Isaac Newton’s alchemical notes.. downloadable in pdf format[scroll down]…. did I say WOW!

And Isaac Newton’s first public appearance as a Natural Philosopher, his “New Theory about Light and Colors: Sent by the Author to the Publisher from Cambridge, Febr. 6. 1671/72”

And from the very first volume of Philosophical Transactions, page 3, The Ingenious Mr Hooke reports observing a spot on the biggest of the 3 obscurer belts of Jupiter.

As well as “An Account of Micrographia” also by Robert Hooke, his best known work, and also printed by the Royal Society.

More links of more recent note at the Guardian’s post on this.. Wondrous.

Adds Should have mentioned this earlier, but one of those eminent scientific thinkers listed above, Robert Boyle, was, of course, born at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, on 25 January 1627, son of the first Earl of Cork, and was one of the founding members of the Royal Society and employer, co-experimenter and friend of Robert Hooke. As mentioned in another previous post


  • Greenflag

    One word

    WOW đŸ™‚

    Thanks for the link : ) Bill Bryson should be notified in case he wants to make amendments to his ‘Short History of Nearly Everything’

  • Slugger,

    Never realised you were a closet scientist! Welcome to the club! Its a fantastic website and I’ve been saying WOW all day! Thats for the info and keep the site going, us expats need this kind of thing.

  • Liam Gordon

    Remarkable stuff.
    In a similar vein:
    “The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World” by Jenny Uglow,
    Faber & Faber (2002) ISBN 374194408


  • Liam Gordon

    Just occurred to me that this would be of interest (no edit function?):
    The Royal Society – the first club for experimental science

    The entire “On Our Time” archives are fantastic- iPoddable.

  • Pete Baker

    Cheers guys.

    Barry, I can’t speak for the rest of the Slugger team, but I’ve been on a history of science kick for a while now.. those early guys in particular ;o)

    Thanks for those links, Liam.. I’ll have to set aside some time to listen to the programme.. If I can tear myself away from the archive..

    Btw.. it will close it’s doors again in December.

  • Alan

    Has someone told Nicholas Whyte?

    “Btw.. it will close it’s doors again in December. ”

    We need a few sturdy apprentices . . .

  • hercules

    Excellent find,

    Btw.. it will close it’s doors again in December.

    What does that mean?

    Copy and paste and save everything as fast as you can.

  • hercules

    As I can’t edit.

    The database is free for the next 2 months, after that I presume you pay.

  • Pete Baker


    Indeed, but it’s an expensive fee.

  • Pete Baker

    For full archive access in particular

    ..although individual volumes will also be available.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Excellent stuff Pete. If you can lay your hands on Mr. Ratzinger’s personal e:mail address, I’m sure he would be fascinated.

  • Lorenzo

    This should keep Neal Stephenson busy on sequels to the ‘Baroque Cycle’ for decades to come. Yippee!