In the archives

Tales from the Ri’s historic collections. Explore the intriguing, sometimes unexpected stories of past Ri scientists, iconic objects, and documents.

A day in the life of John Tyndall

Posted by
Roland Jackson
Date posted
24.03.2014
John Tyndall portrait

Roland Jackson, writing as Tyndall, delves into the Ri Professor's diaries to discover what he was up to on this day in 1866.

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Spotlight on Jane Davy

Posted by
Frank James
Date posted
21.03.2014
Close up of Jane Davy's signature at the end of a letter

Professor Frank James explores the high society life of Jane Davy, wife of renowned Ri chemist Humphry Davy.

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A Valentine's Day poem to remember

Posted by
Wahida Amin
Date posted
14.02.2014
Hand written valentine poem to Humphry Davy

Why did one of the Ri's most renowned scientists, Humphry Davy, keep a series of poems from his admirers?

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The unheard history of the Friday Evening Discourses

Posted by
Jane Harrison
Date posted
13.02.2014
S. L. Bragg, Chief Scientist at Rolls-Royce Ltd., gives his Discourse 'Oscillations and Noise in Jet Engines' in 1963.

Jane Harrison delves into our archive of audio recordings and explains how you can help preserve this unique legacy of our famous Friday Evening Discourses.

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Spotlight on Sarah Faraday

Posted by
Frank James
Date posted
13.02.2014
Sarah Faraday

Professor Frank James explores the life of Sarah Faraday, the wife of eminent Ri scientist Michael Faraday.

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Wallace and the World of Life

Posted by
Kate Whittington
Date posted
11.02.2014
Illustration of Wallace's Fruit-Dove by Joseph Wolf

In 1909 Alfred Russel Wallace, the lesser-known co-founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection, gave his final public lecture - a Friday Evening Discourse at the Ri.

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Spotlight on Kathleen Lonsdale

Posted by
Frank James
Date posted
22.01.2014
Kathleen Lonsdale, credit to The Smithsonian Institution

Kathleen Lonsdale was a Ri scientist, Quaker and pacifist, whose ground-breaking research in crystallography was conducted under the shadow of World War II.

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John Tyndall and the Royal Medal that was never struck

Posted by
Roland Jackson
Date posted
10.01.2014

John Tyndall remains the only scientist to turn down a Royal Society medal in 200 years. Find out why his work on diamagnetism went unrecognised.

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“I am now more melancholy than usual”

Posted by
Wahida Amin
Date posted
17.12.2013
Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy (1778-1829) is remembered as one of the most charismatic chemists of the early nineteenth century. But what do his notebooks and letters tell us about his final years?

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The gyroscope, an engineer and the CHRISTMAS LECTURES

Posted by
Frank James
Date posted
10.12.2013
Eric Laithwaite delivering CHRISTMAS LECTURES

Eric Laithwaite was a British electrical engineer and presenter of the 1974 CHRISTMAS LECTURES who sparked a controversial debate with his unconventional views on the behaviour of gyroscopes.

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