“for the promoting of Experimentall Philosophy” – Redux

On Wednesday 28th November 1660 twelve men met at Gresham College in London following a lecture there, and constituted themselves into an association “for the promoting of Experimentall Philosophy”

Among them was “Mr Boyle”, likely Robert Boyle, son of the first Earl of Cork, born at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, on 25 January 1627, and employer, co-experimenter and friend of Robert Hooke.

The Royal Society was born – although the first Royal Charter for the Society was not granted until 1662, with a second, amended, Charter following a year later.

The Society’s 350th anniversary celebration ends with the launch of 12 essays on different scientific areas of interest – Science sees further.

The Daily Telegraph‘s Tom Chivers adds his thoughts here.  And The Guardian enlists out-going President of the Royal Society, and Astronomer Royal, [Lord] Martin Rees, and asks ten big questions for science to answer

Today we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society. It signalled the emergence of a new breed of people – described by Francis Bacon as “merchants of light”. They sought to understand the world by experiment and observation, rather than by reading ancient texts. They were motivated by curiosity, but also engaged with the practical problems of their time – improving navigation, cultivating forests, rebuilding London after the Great Fire, and so forth.

I’ve previously described utilising Slugger’s archive, to some extent, in terms of a Baconian history.  But that was before the re-vamp… [*ahem* – Ed]

Of course, not everyone is a fan of Francis Bacon…

  • joeCanuck

    What a huge leap forward that was by those relatively few people who dedicated themselves to understanding how everything around us actually worked (without dismissing the possible role of a Creator). Underappreciated by so many but an inspiration to so many others.

  • aquifer

    And economically very significant. Engineering and industry have enabled these islands and the world to support a much bigger population, and to a better living standard, than agriculture.

  • “”Mr Boyle”, likely Robert Boyle, son of the first Earl of Cork”

    Boyle wasn’t the only founding fellow with an Irish connection; William Petty gave us the Down Survey – and made a few bob in the process.