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The first English account of inoculation against disease appears in the Philosophical Transactions. The fight against smallpox in the West begins, ending in global eradication by 1979.
The first Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, Philip Henry Zollman, is appointed, 59 years before the UK Government appoints its first Foreign Secretary.
Sir Hans Sloane becomes President of the Royal Society. On his death in 1754, Sloane's collections, including much Royal Society-related material, became the core of the British Museum.
The Royal Society Copley Medal is established from an endowment of £100 received from the estate of Sir Godfrey Copley in 1709. It is Britain's oldest scientific honour, a prestigious forerunner of the Nobel Prize. Winners of this award include Charles Darwin, for his work in geology, zoology and botanical physiology, and then later his son George, for his tidal research.
Benjamin Franklin demonstrates the electrical nature of lightning using a kite and key in a paper to the Royal Society. It is still the world's most famous scientific experiment.
The Royal Society backs an expedition to observe the transit of Venus from Tahiti. The vessel Endeavour, commanded by Lieutenant James Cook, reaches Australia and New Zealand.
The geologist Rudolf Eric Raspe is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. His most enduring work relates the fantastic and unreliable Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1785).
President of the Society Joseph Banks began 'conversaziones' as an opportunity for Fellows to demonstrate their cutting edge research to the rest of the Fellowship. Paid for entirely out of his own pocket, and held at his house, these have since developed into the annual public Summer Science Exhibition.
The Royal Society publishes letters on ornithology by curate Gilbert White. His systematic records will create the Natural History of Selborne (1784), the most popular nature book of all.
William Herschel discovers a new body in the solar system. Sensationally it is a planet, reported to the Royal Society as Georgium Sidus [George's Star] by 1783 and eventually renamed Uranus.
A new acquisition by the Royal Society.
Biographical information on past Fellows.
Highlights from our history1600s | 1700s | 1800s | 1900s | 2000s
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Learn about our mission to expand the frontiers of knowledge.
There are about 1,450 Fellows and Foreign Members.
The Council and Board manage the Society's activities.
We have had 350 years at the heart of scientific progress.
Annual publications about our finances and activities.
Information about jobs and internships at the Royal Society.