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Contexts -- Societies -- Royal Society

The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, formed in 1660 after the Restoration of Charles II and granted a royal charter in 1662.

The Society in fact had its origins about 1645 when a number of people with scientific interests held meetings at Gresham College, London, under the name the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, better known as the "Invisible College." The members shared an interest in the natural world and in the foundations of empirical method developed by Francis Bacon. Its founding fellows included many of the most of the important scientists of day, including the scientist Bishop John Wilkins, the philosopher Joseph Glanvill, the mathematician John Wallis, the inventor and microscopist Robert Hooke, and the architect and scientist Christopher Wren, who wrote the preamble to its charter. Over the next century, most of Britain's most important scientific minds belonged to the Society, including Isaac Newton (elected 1671) and Edmond Halley (1678). Sir Joseph Banks was the Society's president at the time Frankenstein was published. The Society's Proceedings and Philosophical Transactions (first published in 1665) are still among the more important learned journals of scientific research. The Royal Society is still located in London, with more than a thousand active fellows.