Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
The Royal Society of London for Promoting Natural Knowledge had as its motto Nullius in Verba (Latin for On the words of no one, or in other words only trust the proven facts through experimentation). 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 Royal Society was founded in 1660, only a few months after the Restoration of King Charles II, by members of one or two either secretive or informal societies already in existence. The Royal Society enjoyed the confidence and official support of the restored monarchy. Robert Boyle refers to the "Invisible College" as early as 1646. A founding meeting was held at the premises of Gresham College in Bishopsgate on 28 November 1660, immediately after a lecture by Sir Christopher Wren, at that time Gresham Professor of Astronomy.The Royal Society continued to meet at the premises of Gresham College and at Arundel House, the London home of the Dukes of Norfolk.
A formal Royal Charter of incorporation passed the Great Seal on 15 July 1662, creating "The Royal Society of London", with Viscount William Brouncker as the first President, and Robert Hooke was appointed as Curator of Experiments in November 1662. A second Royal Charter was sealed on 23 April 1663, naming the King as Founder and changing the name to "The Royal Society of London for Promoting Natural Knowledge".
At its core was establishing the truth of scientific matters through experiment rather than through citation of authority. The Royal Society imagined a network across the globe as a public enterprise, an "Empire of Learning", and strove to remove language barriers within the Sciences. The Royal Society was dedicated to the free flow of information and encouraged communication. Boyle, in particular, began the practice of reporting his experiments in great detail so that others could replicate them, unlike previous alchemists.
As with many learned societies, the Society's governance structure is based on its Fellowship. Fellows are elected annually by the existing Fellowship for their "substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge including mathematics, engineering science and medical science". The Fellowship elects twenty-one members of Council, the governing body and trustees of the society. The chair of the council is the President of the Royal Society, and there are four other titled posts, variously referred to as Vice-Presidents, Secretaries and Officers: The Treasurer, the Foreign Secretary, the Physical Secretary and the Biological Secretary.
The topics of religion and politics was forbidden at meetings.
- Doctor William Brouncker, Viscount Brouncker