Royal Society

Sir Edward Sabine and the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Sir Edward Sabine and the Earth’s Magnetic Field

On October 14, 1788, Irish astronomer, geophysicist, ornithologist, explorer, soldier and the 30th President of the Royal Society Sir Edward Sabine was born. His aim was to study the shape of the Earth and its magnetic field. He led the effort to establish a system of magnetic observatories in various parts of British territory all over the globe, and much of his life was devoted to their direction, and to analyzing their…
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William Brouncker’s Approximation of Pi

William Brouncker’s Approximation of Pi

On April 5, 1684, English mathematician William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker passed away. Brouncker introduced Brouncker‘s formula, a development of 4/π in a generalized continued fraction, and was the first President of the Royal Society. £1200 for a Peerage Brouncker was born in Castlelyons, County Cork, the elder son of William Brouncker, 1st Viscount Brouncker and Winifred, daughter of Sir William Leigh of Newnham. His father was created a Viscount in the…
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The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

On March 6, 1665, the very first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was published. The journal published by the Royal Society was the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science. Moreover, it is also the world’s longest-running scientific journal. “Had I been a literary man I might, perhaps, have moralised upon the futility of all ambition. But as it was, the thing that struck me with…
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John Wilkins and the Universal Language

John Wilkins and the Universal Language

On February 14, 1614, Anglican clergyman, natural philosopher and author John Wilkins was born. Wilkins was one of the founders of the Royal Society and a polymath, although not one of the most important scientific innovators of the period. He is particularly known for An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668) in which, amongst other things, he proposed a universal language and a decimal system of measures which…
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John Goodricke and the Variable Star of Beta Persei

John Goodricke and the Variable Star of Beta Persei

On September 17, 1764, English amateur astronomer John Goodricke was born. He is best known for his observations of the variable star Algol (Beta Persei) in 1782. He was also first to correctly propose that the distant sun is periodically occulted by a dark body. John Goodricke Background Not much is known about John Goodricke. Clear is only that the astronomer was deaf and passed away very early at the age of…
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Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

On January 28, 1611, German astronomer Johannes Hevelius was born. From four years’ telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia (“Pictures of the Moon“, 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. Family Background and Early Years Johannes Hevelius‘ father was a succesful merchant and pushed Johannes to follow his footsteps rather than pursue a scientific career. Hevelius was sent to Poland…
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The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

On November 28, 1660, at Gresham College, London, UK, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, a learned society for science, and possibly the oldest such society still in existence. It all started with Roger Bacon It is said that everything started with Francis Bacon and his work “New…
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The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

On 4 November 1869, the very first issue of the prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal ‘Nature‘ was published. It is widely regarded as one of the few remaining academic journals that publish original research across a wide range of scientific fields and was ranked the world‘s most cited journal. Scientific Journals The history of scientific journals dates from 1665, when the French Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal…
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Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

On July 18, 1635 (according to the old Julian calendar), English natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke was born. He is known for his discovery of the laws of elasticity, now known as Hooke’s law. Hooke did research in a remarkable variety of fields. He was one of the first men to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope and to suggest that Jupiter rotates. His studies of microscopic fossils are what led…
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Sir Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Sir Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

On November 8, 1656, Sir Edmond Halley was born. The astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist, was best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet.[9] “Wherefore, if, according to what we have already said, it should return again about the year 1758, candid posterity will not refuse to acknowledge that this was first discovered by an Englishman.” – Edmond Halley, as quoted in An Essay towards a History of…
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