Royal Institution of Great Britain

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Royal Institution around 1838

The Royal Institution of Great Britain , often shortened to the Royal Institution in the English-speaking world , is an institution devoted to academic training and research.


Royal Institution income and expenditure 1799–1814

On March 7, 1799 , the Royal Institution was founded in Soho Square House of the President of the Royal Society Joseph Banks in London, based on a design by Sir Benjamin Thompson , known as Count Rumford. In attendance were leading British scholars of the time, including Sir Joseph Banks, Henry Cavendish and their first President, George Finch . The main tasks of the Royal Institution were firstly the rapid and effective dissemination of useful inventions and improvements and secondly a wide-ranging pedagogical and journalistic transfer of technical knowledge and the application of new and improved methods, devices and machines for agriculture, craft and industry through lectures, publications, guided tours and permanent Exhibitions. Much of its founding funding and initiative for its creation was provided by the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, chaired by Thomas Bernard (1750-1818 ) and Benjamin Thompson. Since it was founded in April 1799, its headquarters have been in a house on Albemarle Street, in the London borough of Mayfair . Her royal status was granted in 1800.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 1856

In its history, the Royal Institution has supported the state's educational and scientific mandate with its lecture program. This includes the Christmas lecture founded by Michael Faraday in 1825 . Since its inception, the Royal Institution has played a vital role in the development of British science. Famous scientists such as Sir Humphry Davy (discoverer of sodium and potassium ), Michael Faraday, Sir Lawrence Bragg (who won the Nobel Prize for his work on X-ray diffraction), Charles Hatchett and Lord George Porter worked there. It was here in the 19th century that Faraday performed many of the experiments that were fundamental to the practical application of electricity. Fourteen members of the Royal Institution received the Nobel Prize. Ten chemical elements, including sodium, and the atomic structure of crystals were discovered at the institute. The electric generator and the theory of regression to the center were also developed here.

Royal Institution today

Royal Institution in the Present

Today the Royal Institution is a modern organization dedicated to promoting "the dissemination of science for the application of science in everyday life". Membership is open to anyone, with no appointment process or academic requirements, upon payment of an annual fee. School membership is free.

The Royal Institution (now abbreviated as the RI ) has a significant educational program in science, including in schools. She teaches over a hundred courses a year on a wide range of subjects. The Friday evening lectures take place weekly and last one hour. Admission to these lectures is free for all members and their guests and, according to tradition, events in evening dress, although this is no longer mandatory. Many other events and lectures are held on Albemarle Street and other locations around the country.

Research was carried out until 2007. In solids chemistry in particular, the in-house laboratory was considered one of the best in the UK. However, since the house was to serve other purposes, in particular gastronomic and museum purposes, in the future, the scientists decided to move to University College London . For the first time since its founding in 1799, no research has been carried out in the institution's buildings.

Faraday Museum

Faraday's study

In 1973, the Royal Institution opened a museum that Michael Faraday was dedicated. It is located in the main building on Albemarle Street and is open to the public during normal weekday hours. There is a reconstruction of Faraday's laboratory and a second room that contains other historical apparatus, including Faraday's items.

List of presidents

Starting with 1799 there were 15 presidents.

further reading

  • The prospectus, charter, ordinances and bye-laws of the Royal Institution of Great Britain: Together with lists of proprietors and subscribers, and an appendix . London 1800 (online) .
  • Frank Greenaway, Morris Berman, Sophie Forgan, Donovan Chilton (Eds.): Archives of the Royal Institution, Minutes of the Managers' Meetings, 1799–1903 . 7 volumes, Scolar, London 1971–1976.
  • Frank AJL James: The common purposes of life: Science and society at the Royal Institution of Great Britain . Ashgate, 2002, ISBN 0-7546-0960-X .
  • Frank AJL James, Anthony Peers: Constructing Space for Science at the Royal Institution of Great Britain . In: Physics in Perspective . Volume 9, 2007, pp. 130-185, doi: 10.1007 / s00016-006-0303-5 .
  • Bence Jones: The Royal institution: its founder and its first professors . Longmans, Green, & Co., London 1871 (online) .

Web links

Commons : Royal Institution of Great Britain  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Guides to the Royal Institution of Great Britain: 1 History  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 944 kB).@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  2. Ludwig Hammermayer:  Rumford, Sir Benjamin Thompson Graf von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 244-246 ( digitized version ).
  3. ^ Ludwig Hammermayer: Free Scholar Association or State Institution? On the history of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences during the Late Enlightenment and Reform (1787–1807). In: Journal for Bavarian State History 1991, Vol. 54, pp. 159–202, here pp. 180f .; online:
  4. RI Presidents since 1799 ( Memento of the original from February 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Royal Institution website, accessed February 26, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /