In the archives

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

Shipwrecks, science and maritime safety

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
20.02.2019

The 19th century saw more than its fair share of shipwrecks, alongside scientific and technological leaps in maritime safety. Here our Heritage and Collections volunteer, Laurence Scales, surfaces some of these stories from our archives.

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Say it with science this Valentine's Day

Posted by
Sarah Dick
Date posted
13.02.2019
Heart-shaped bath bombs

From cosmetic chemistry to Victorian love poems, plus a secret mathematical surprise, the Ri has something for everyone to geek-out to on Valentine's Day.

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Fire, fire – the science of 19th century firefighting

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
22.01.2019

The 19th century saw more than its fair share of major fires. Here our Heritage and Collections volunteer Laurence Scales, uncovers these burning stories from our archive.

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Globe of the Moon

Posted by
Zofia Wyszomirska-Noga
Date posted
25.07.2018
papier mache globe of the moon

Zofia Wyszomirska-Noga made a very special discovery in the Royal Institution archives. This is the story of the Globe of the Moon.

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We don't need no education, do we?

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
17.04.2018

Ri Heritage and Collections volunteer, Laurence Scales, takes a look at some highs and lows of 19th century school education as seen through some surprising RI lectures of the time.

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MOOCing Humphry Davy

Posted by
Frank James
Date posted
28.09.2017
Humphry Davy painting

Professor Frank James reflects upon the experience of bringing Humphry Davy's work to life in a new online course

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I spy at the Ri

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
10.04.2017

Laurence Scales investigates the many spies that have been involved with Ri over the years.

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Science on paper

Posted by
Meagen Smith
Date posted
30.03.2017
Pencil sketch of a hand

Conservator Meagen Smith shares some of the gems she’s uncovered while conserving the Ri’s book and paper archive.

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A marriage of saltwater and electricity

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
22.12.2016

Laurence Scales delves into the archive to discover the shared heritage of the Royal Institution and Lloyd's Register.

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Resurrecting the Braggs

Posted by
Charlotte New
Date posted
24.10.2016

As the Ri launches the newly digitised Bragg film archive, Curator of Collections Charlotte New discusses the excitement and intrigue of delving into the unknown and unearthing these gems.

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