In the archives

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

The birth of electric motion: 200th anniversary of the electric motor

Posted by
Charlotte New
Date posted
03.09.2021
Faraday's original laboratory. There are shelves lining the two walls, with vials and various scientific apparatus on every shelf. There are two desks in the room, each with a large scientific device. The desk in the middle of the room also has a small gr

As we celebrate the bicentenary of Faraday's invention of the electric motor in 1821, our Head of Heritage and Collections, Charlotte New, takes us on a voyage through time to rediscover this history-defining moment.

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Remembering His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh

Posted by
Charlotte New
Date posted
16.04.2021
The Queen sitting alongside Prince Philip

Our Interim Head of Heritage and Collections, Charlotte New, remembers His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh by looking back at his 60-year relationship with the Ri.

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The mystery of geologist Anne Phillips

Posted by
Digital Team
Date posted
08.03.2021

Records on the trailblazing geologist Anne Phillips are few and far between, here are four facts you may not have heard of.

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Happy 200th birthday, John Tyndall!

Posted by
Sir Roland Jackson
Date posted
31.07.2020
cartoon of Tyndall lecturing in the Ri lecture theatre with apparatus scattered around him on the desk and hundreds of people watching him

On the 200th anniversary of John Tyndall's birth, Sir Roland Jackson looks back at the life and work of the great natural philosopher.

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Kathleen Lonsdale in letters

Posted by
Date posted
05.03.2020
Kathleen Lonsdale at a desk in 1960. Credit Crown Copyright.

Discover more about the challenges Lonsdale faced in her work as a scientist during the war, highlighted with letters from our archives by the Ri's Document Manager Jane Harrison.

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Causes of accidental explosions in the 19th century

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
19.02.2020

How Ri lecturers sought to investigate and avoid explosive disasters in the 19th century by Ri Heritage volunteer Laurence Scales.

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Hot air in parliament: ventilation in the 19th century

Posted by
Laurence Scales
Date posted
06.02.2020

Laurence Scales, Heritage and Collections volunteer at the Ri, was inspired by a lecture given on heating and ventilation in May 2018 by Dr Shaun Fitzgerald to look into the history of this unexpectedly colourful subject, as told through Victorian lectures in the Ri archives.

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Who discovered the greenhouse effect?

Posted by
Sir Roland Jackson
Date posted
17.05.2019
Drawn diagram for setting up experiment

John Tyndall set the foundation for our modern understanding of the greenhouse effect, climate change, meteorology, and weather. But did he 'discover' it?

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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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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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