Royal Society

The ideas of Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, and Isaac Newton in the Royal Society has greatly molded us as a society today. Their discoveries have impacted more research in the sciences fields.

It’s interesting to see how necessary and vital language is in the sciences, yet often times people don’t put enough importance  in this subject.

-Natalia Alvarado

Is it the same?

The Royal Society today takes great pride in their history and it appear that it does not divert much from the founders quest for the truth through scientific inquiry. One of the differences that I noticed was the old royal society is more interested in letting others know of the things they have, while today it is more interested in the things it can do, scientifically. For example, throughout his essay, Francis Bacon goes on and on about everything they have such as the “artificial wells and fountains, made in imitation of the natural sources and baths”, the “great and spacious houses”, the “large and various orchards and gardens”, etc (1278). In his essay, Bacon seems more concerned with showing off what they have like “we have these HUGE houses that we sometimes use to look for meteors”. It really does seem that it more of a literal royal society that focuses on its luxuries. Although it seems that the modern royal society is more focused on the science, it also appears to be a bit elitist in the fact that they randomly throw in that generate around 42 million euros (?) a year. It is as if money is one of the main factor that gives their science value because no one would trust science that is being conducted in a basement.

-Nancy Sanchez

Utopia: Then and Now

The original goal of the Royal Society was to have an organization focused on scientific discoveries as well as making them relevant within society. Sir Frances Bacon envisioned a utopia where science is included and how it would become vital in advancing throughout centuries. This is a huge statement since science was still a controversial subject when met with religion. Stuff such as discoveries would indicate a world where religion does not have the answers or may even contradict ideas places by the puritan and Catholic Church.

Now, within the Royal Society, it not only continues to thrive as a noble-prize worthy organization but has expanded its’ study of the natural world. There seems to be fewer philosophical ideals since Philosophy does not lead to concrete facts; only inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning alone cannot explain discoveries such as those in astronomy and even chemistry. Science is not only respected but rather depended upon when advancing in the world; religion is now a separate matter due to both subjects questioning the legitimacy of their practices. While I’m all for philosophical viewpoints within a subject being studied it makes me wonder whether it’s philosophy that kept tensions rising for religious citizens? Would it have been possible to have these contemporary results of scientific discoveries if philosophy was a perspective still engraved in people’s minds? Women having involvement in the Royal Society is an accomplishment worth mentioning since it, Royal Society, was brought up to an group of the elite thus time being more accepting towards women in the field of science.

-Kristy Frausto

Royal Society and Class

Sir Isaac Newton, a physicist and mathematician, has had a major influence on Royal Society. He would eventually become a prominent leader in Royal Society. This learned society is responsible for the advancement of science and knowledge. Some of the ideals that attributed to him shaping Royal Society is his notes and discoveries of the telescope. His ideals on optics and colors along with the telescope are what introduced him into the Royal Society. He was elected president of the learned society in his later years.

The concept of the Royal Society is certainly intriguing and can be viewed in several ways. Because a substantial amount of our current sciences and technological advancements were founded through the Royal Society, this established group has gained a very notable reputation. When it comes to reputable groups our societies tend to give them not only a large amount of financial support, but their trust as well. Once a society places trust in a group, people tend to defend it to their very core. This notion is something that is very powerful and has demonstrated over centuries that it could be a positive and negative thing.

The main problem that faces Royal Society is the lack of availability it has for other classes in England. Royal Society almost solely focused on the higher class of people in England and only benefited people who could afford learning the various teachings and discoveries. It may seem that the Royal society is benefiting England, but it is only benefiting the people of a higher status who are able to learn this new knowledge. People of middle and lower class couldn’t afford to hear this teachings or invest in the science that was being produced at the time, so they wouldn’t be as educated as the higher class. It seems that this notion was almost pre-determined when Royal Society was created. Its audience is the higher class.

While the Royal Society has contributed a vast amount of information to our current 21st century, is it a reliable source of information? It is possible that the Royal Society could state a false claim about science, but people would still deem it as true due to their immense trust in the group. Its this notion that makes the Royal Society controversial in some ways, because politics can still be involved, even in matters of factual science.

Anthony Miller

The Royals


My initial reaction to hearing about a royal society in 1600s, was powerful public members of society lavished with luxurious materialist products. However, the royal society was not, instead the group was filled will members that avoid political and religious labels. Furthermore, they are funded by the king Charles 2 thus they are not completely free of political ties. In addition, the Royal Society acquire a clergyman Thomas Sprat to answer the criticism of others, which is a political move. Sprat had interest in politics by defending the divine rights of kings and supported the sets of belief taught by the church.  Men were allowed to part of the society to portray goodness, honesty, obedience in larger, fairer and more moving ideas. Sprat had interest in politics by defending the divine rights of kings and supported the sets of belief taught by the church. Contradictory to sprats beliefs the Royal Societie’s motto was “Nullius in verba” which, sums up the main idea of the scientific method, and its Latin take nobody’s word or in other words question authority. This is a paradox because Sprat strongly supported teaching from the church that left no room for questioning authority. Sprat often preached against the teaching of poetry because it was no benefit to sciences. Sprat and the royal society wanted examine and improve the English language and used this as an excuse to silence poetry. Moreover, the scientific enterprise from the seventeenth-century has flooded into our education system and is politically enforced on American people. Thus, the Royal Society is different today than it was in the seventeenth-century because of the expansion. There are currently around 1600 members however due to its’ implementation in our school system essentially everyone is part of a small branch in the Royal Society. The essential goal to improve the English language and sciences has been proven successful if you look at the value both have in today’s modern society.

Influential Men of Science and the Royal Society


Francis Bacon influenced the Royal Society by prompting the institution regulate the acquisition of knowledge. Bacon insisted that the people and scientist doubt everything before accepting it as a truth because humans can misinterpret anything the experience with their senses. Bacon is the main reason scientists in the past and in modern day test and retest their hypotheses before submitting their work to the public eye. Bacon’s philosophies on regulating knowledge derived from observations helped bring about the Scientific Revolution, which in itself, brought about the Industrial Revolution. The birth of the Industrial Revolution represented the shift from studying nature for knowledge’s sake and more towards stimulating the economy. There is no doubt that we have been moving forward in time thanks to Bacon’s model for acquiring truths and knowledge, but I believe we are losing sight of the role doubt played in Bacon’s model, which is the reason for there being so much science click bait.

Thomas Sprat influenced the Royal Society by reforming the language and advocating for the return to a simpler age. He wanted to forget about the Restoration prose and keep everything simple and sweet. He was a strong believer that everything should be kept clear as to avoid any distractions or misinterpretations of the true meaning of the work due to stylish writing. I would say he succeeded in his mission to keep scientific works simple and professional because in my previous psychology classes our papers had to be under five pages; while in my writing classes and other English classes our papers had to be a minimum of ten pages. Not much has changed from the scientific writings of then to now in my opinion, if anything scientific writings go under more scrutiny now than ever, as the earliest a paper can get published, if done right, is within a year.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia is one of the most influential book on physics ever to be published. Principia established the universal laws of motion and gravity we know now (e.g. for every action there is a reaction). The rules of reasoning in Principia also helped shape the Royal Society’s goals and missions. The rivalry between Newton and Hooke helped Newton become a better scientist in my mind, because it pushed Newton to have solid evidence for his claims. Newton’s discoveries paved the way for later scientists such as Albert Einstein who would prove some of Newton’s claims to be incorrect about the universe. Sir Isaac Newton was a force moving the Scientific Revolution forward, whose precise methodology gave birth to the scientific method. Most his works went undisputed as he had eradicated any doubts about the heliocentric model of the universe and had helped lead the resistance to re-institute Catholic teachings at Cambridge.

– Andres Quezada

Returning to Primitive “Purity and Shortness” in the Royal Society

Thomas Sprat wrote in his “History of Royal Society of London,” text that “they have exacted from all their members a close, naked, natural way of speaking,” they being the royal society. What this means is that the members had a vernacular that was mostly understood by “wits or scholars,” and in a society that wants to share their knowledge–not boast–they ought to have the power of sharing a common tongue. The Royal Society is known for their history of great scientific and historical power with big name scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and in more recent time, Stephen Hawking.

The primary objective of this organization is to “work to to support excellence in science, building a home and future for science in the United Kingdom.” In reading Sprat’s work, his version of the history of this society, it seems as though the times have not altered this primary goal. He states: “The Society has reduced its principal observations… to be nakedly transmitted to the next generation of men, and so from them to their successors.” The main goals expressed in both the website for the Royal Society and in Sprat’s text both coincide nicely together, in that, they want to continue their legacy, or their passion for science onto others and build that foundation.

The main argument made by Sprat is that the members of the society ought to learn how to do so in a clean, concise fashion. He argues that the writers should “return back to the primitive purity and shortness, when men delivered so many things, almost in equal number of words.” Meaning that he wished they could go back to the basic fundamental of scientific writing: short, educational, and quality works (not quantity). By looking at the website, I’m sure he would be content with how the Royal Society has turned out; the layout is clean, concise, and doesn’t scare the reader away with any fancy, unfamiliar jargon.

–Daniel Lizaola Lopez

Pursuit of Knowledge

The Enlightenment allowed people the freedom to exchange ideas with one another. In Modern society, we are a lot more science-oriented than religiously-oriented. We are constantly observing our environment and use science as a method to explain the things that we don’t understand. We don’t want to doubt that we are the only living beings in the whole universe so we fund space programs to explore other planets. We look for ways to invent things to make life easier for us. We bring back organisms that have become extinct to better understand the role of creation (for example, the arctic flower).

The Royal English Society is considered the first institution to promote scientific discussion. This institution is portrayed similarly to the “prestigious and wealthy” modern day Universities because it is made up of educated, wealthy London men. However, in the history of the Royal Society page, what really seems to stand out is the institution’s list of accomplishments rather than the value they put in their education. The achievements doesn’t tell us why they want to support science just all the achievements they have made from science. Although the achievements might be impressive to some, it just seems like an overkill,”We published Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning. We backed James Cook’s journey to Tahiti, reaching Australia and New Zealand, to track the Transit of Venus. We published the first report in English of inoculation against disease, approved Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine, documented the eruption of Krakatoa and published Chadwick’s detection of the neutron that would lead to the unleashing of the atom.”

Therefore it’s not very inspirational. This attempts to promotes prestige but not personal value. It doesn’t tell the reader much about their mission statement, why they are promoting science, and how the Royal Society has changed modern science. They are using historical evidence (that the average person might not really know about) to reason why their University is so great. It seems very artifical.

Although science and religion are often seen as the opposing forces, both these ideals require people to trust them in order to accept that what scientists are telling us is fact and that God does exists. Science is highly susceptible to misinterpretation. Science has never been stable because it can always be changed or debunked.  The Royal Society viewed themselves as a gospel of truth.

Bacon comments how science is like heaven, “. . .the entrance of into the kingdom of man, founded on sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, whereinto none may enter except as a little child.” In a way, the pursuit of knowledge can lead to a religious feeling. Science and religion require people to be open-minded and believe that their purpose is to provide us with the truth.

-Ana Diaz-Galvan

The Royal Society, Then and Now

Royal Society

Royal Society

Founded in November 1660 and granted a royal charter by King Charles II in 1662, the Royal Society is possibly the oldest learned society for scientific research still in existence. Today the Society is the United Kingdom’s and Commonwealth of Nations’ Academy of Sciences and fulfills many functions: promoting science and its benefits, recognizing excellence in science, providing scientific advice for public policy, fostering international and global cooperation, and educating the public.  Check out their website to learn about their intellectual mission and history: about-us/history/ Info. on the engraved image above can be found at:

Students will write a post explaining how the ideals espoused by Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, or Sir Isaac Newton has shaped the current Royal Society’s self-understanding of its history and mission (see the links above).  To what extend has the scientific enterprise imagined by these seventeenth-century men influenced this 21st-century learned society?  What, if anything, has changed between now and then?  Explain your answer by using textual evidence from ONE of these authors.  Please keep your post focused and concise (feel free to reference the image).

The posts are due next Wednesday (Feb. 8th) by 1pm, but students have the option to edit and revise it until Friday 6pm.  Before you write the post, please review the directions on blog post writing and the blog post grading rubric in the syllabus, as well as the “How to Post” tab above.  Please categorize your post under “The Quest for Enlightenment” and don’t forget to create specific and relevant tags.  And please sign your posts so that your TA, Hannah, and I know who wrote what.