The "Invisible College"
It was called an “invisible college”, a colloquium of geniuses that included Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Christopher Wren. Ruthlessly dedicated to scientific knowledge based on experiment and mathematical proofs, critical and supportive of each other, they met weekly.
On this day in 1660, after a talk on astronomy from Wren, they founded the Royal Society, the oldest continuously operating scientific organisation in the world. The first curator of experiments was Robert Hooke. Fellows were elected according to somewhat vague, but efficient, criteria. One of the first Fellows was Isaac Newton.
Since then the Royal Society has mounted the first oceanography voyages to explore all the world’s oceans, provided the proof for Einstein’s general theory of relativity (with the Royal Astronomical Society), and continues to support scientists with research grants and fellowships in a network of scientific exchange that spans the globe. See the Ingenious Timeline for details about the Royal Society’s brilliant and eccentric founders.
Thanks to Beautiful Britain On This Day for the date.