Britain's Royal Society puts rare scientific manuscripts online

Nov 30, 2009
Historic manuscripts by ground-breaking scientists will be published online for the first time, Britain's Royal Society said Monday. The works include a 1770 scientific study confirming that composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a genius and, more recently, acclaimed British scientist Stephen Hawking's early writings on black holes.

Historic manuscripts by Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and other ground-breaking scientists will be published online for the first time, Britain's Royal Society said Monday.

The society, the world's oldest scientific institution, will release famous literature on the web that it has published in its journals over the centuries as part of celebrations to mark its 350th anniversary.

The works include a 1770 scientific study confirming that composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a genius and, more recently, acclaimed British scientist Stephen Hawking's early writings on black holes.

Called Trailblazing, the interactive site contains 60 articles chosen from among the 60,000 that have appeared in the Royal Society's journals.

"The scientific papers on Trailblazing represent a ceaseless quest by scientists over the centuries, many of them Fellows of the Royal Society, to test and build on our knowledge of humankind and the universe," said Royal Society president Lord Martin Rees.

"Individually they represent those thrilling moments when science allows us to understand better and to see further."

Newton’s theory on light and colours in the 1600s, that continues to provide the basis for theoretical physics, will be published along with a gruesome account of a 17th-century .

A paper by Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, will also be released on an experiment to fly his kite in a storm to prove that lightning is electricity rather than a supernatural force.

The Royal Society will also be running events over the next 12 months to celebrate its anniversary "to inspire scientists, families, young people and interested members of the public alike to see further into science," Rees said.

The Royal Society, which supports young scientists and influences scientific debate, started out as a college of thinkers who met to discuss the ideas of the philosopher and scientist Sir Francis Bacon.

Its official foundation date is November 28 1660, when 12 members met at London's Gresham College.

The society then met weekly to witness experiments and discuss scientific topics. The name "" first appeared in print in 1661.

Trailblazing can be found at trailblazing.royalsociety.org .

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Twitpic to stay alive with new owner

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

What did Galileo actually do?

Feb 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- What convinced Galileo 400 years ago that the Earth orbits the Sun and not vice-versa? How did one man make such a startling discovery, armed with just a 2 inch lens telescope?

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

Sep 17, 2014

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 0