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A Royal Charter, on 15 July 1662, created "The Royal Society of London".
The motto of the Royal Society is Nullius in Verba (Latin: = Nothing in words). This shows the Society's commitment to establishing scientific truth through experiment rather than by quoting authority.
Although this seems obvious today, the philosophical basis of the Royal Society differed from previous philosophies such as scholasticism, which established scientific truth based on deductive logic, concordance with divine providence and the citation of such ancient authorities as Aristotle.
The members of the society are called Fellows of the Royal Society, and put the letters FRS after their names. They are elected by existing Fellows. All other posts, such as the Secretary and President, are also by election.
A selected list of Presidents
- Sir Christopher Wren (1680–1682)
- Samuel Pepys (1684–1686)
- Charles Montagu (1695–1698)
- The Lord Somers (1698–1703)
- Sir Isaac Newton (1703–1727)
- Joseph Banks (1778–1820)
- Sir Humphry Davy (1820–1827)
- Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex (1830–1838)
- William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (1848–1854)
- Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1873–1878)
- Thomas Henry Huxley (1883–1885)
- George Gabriel Stokes (1885–1890)
- William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1890–1895)
- Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister (1895–1900)
- Sir William Huggins (1900–1905)
- John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (1905–1908)
- Sir Joseph John Thomson (1915–1920)
- Sir Ernest Rutherford (1925–1930)
- Sir William Henry Bragg (1935–1940)
- Sir Henry Hallett Dale (1940–1945)
- Howard Florey, Baron Florey (1960)
- Sir Andrew Huxley (1980–1985)
- Sir Aaron Klug (1995–2000)
- Robert May, Baron May of Oxford (2000–2005)
- Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow (2005–2010)
- Sir Paul Nurse (2010–2015)
The Society's 15 Sections are administered by the permanent staff, led by the Executive Secretary, Stephen Cox CVO. The Executive Secretary is supported by the Senior Managers of the Society, including:
- Mr Ian Cooper, Director of Finance and Operations
- Dr Peter Collins, Director of Science Policy
- Dr Peter Cotgreave, Director of Communications
The Society bestows ten medals, seven awards (prizes) and nine prize lectureships variously annually, biennially or triennially, according to the terms of reference for each award. The Society also runs The Aventis Prizes for Science Books.
- Armourers & Brasiers’ Prize
- Kohn Award
- Michael Faraday Prize
- Mullard Award
- Royal Society Pfizer Award
- Rosalind Franklin Award
- Microsoft European Science Award (started in 2006)
- Buchanan Medal (for achievements in medicine)
- Copley Medal (for work in any field of science)
- Darwin Medal (for work in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked)
- Davy Medal (for work in any branch of chemistry)
- Gabor Medal (for work in biology, especially in genetic engineering and molecular biology)
- Hughes Medal (for work in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism)
- Leverhulme Medal (for work in pure or applied chemistry or engineering)
- Royal Medal (for the two most important contributions to the advancement of Natural Knowledge)
- Rumford Medal (for work in the fields of heat or light)
- Sylvester Medal (for the encouragement of mathematical research)
- Bakerian lecture
- Francis Crick Lecture
- Croonian Lecture
- Ferrier Lecture
- Leeuwenhoek Lecture
- Clifford Paterson lecture
- Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar lecture
- Details of Royal Society prize lectures
- 1640s — informal meetings
- 28 November 1660 — Royal Society founded at Gresham College
- 1661 — name first appears in print, and library presented with its first book
- 1662 — first Royal Charter gives permission to publish
- 1663 — second Royal Charter
- 1665 — first issue of Philosophical Transactions
- 1666 — Fire of London causes move to Arundel House until 1673, then returns to Gresham College
- 1669 — third Royal Charter; original proposal would have made Chelsea College the permanent home of the Society, but the site became Chelsea Hospital instead
- 1710 — gets its own home in Crane Court
- 1780 — moves to premises at Somerset House provided by the Crown
- 1847 — changed election criteria so that Fellows would be elected solely on the merit of their scientific work
- 1850 — Parliamentary Grant-in-aid commences, of £1,000, to assist scientists in their research and to buy equipment.
- 1857 — moved to Burlington House in Piccadilly
- 1967 — moved to present location on Carlton House Terrace
- Purver, Margery; Bowen, E. J. (1960). The Beginning of the Royal Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Gleick, James (2004). Isaac Newton. New York: Vintage Books.
- Sir Harold Hartley (ed.) (1960). The Royal Society: Its Origins and Founders. London: Royal Society.
- Rousseau, George (1981). The Letters and Private Papers of Sir John Hill, 17141775. New York: AMS Press.
- Sprat, Thomas; Abraham Cowley (2003) . The history of the RoyalSociety of London for the improving of natural knowledge. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.
- Lomas, Robert (2002). Freemasonry and the Birth of Modern Science. Gloucester, Mass.: Fair Winds Press.
- "Homes of the Royal Society". The Royal Society. http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=1059. Retrieved 20051215.
- Full title: The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.
- "Prince of Wales opens Royal Society’s refurbished building". The Royal Society. 2004-07-07. http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?year=&id=1576. Retrieved 2008-07-10. "Her Majesty The Queen is the current patron, and the reigning monarch has always been the patron of the Royal Society since its foundation."
- The full quote from Horace -- Nullius addictus judicare in verba magistri -- expands into the gold standard of objectivity: "Not compelled to swear to any master's words".
- "’Nullius in verba’". The Royal Society. http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?id=6186. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "The world's problem". Times Online. 2007-04-04. http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25350-2633036,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Homes of the Society - Gresham College and Arundel House (1660-1710)". The Royal Society. http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?id=1060&tip=1. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Brief history of the Society". The Royal Society. http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?id=2176. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- The Royal Society website — RS list of Fellows — Citations arranged by year of election
- The Royal Society Publishing website
- The Royal Society of London (a brief history)
- Scholarly Societies Project: Royal Society of London
- Three lectures presented at the Royal Society by Harry Kroto (Faraday Lecture), Paul Hoffman (Paul Erdos), Paul Davies (Blackholes, Worm Holes and Time Travel). Freeview video from the Vega Science Trust
- A visualisation of the Royal Society's publications from 1665 to 2005
- "NULLIUS IN VERBA" Lord Rees Replies