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[Phys-l] Fwd: Royal Society Archives free online

Sorry for the cross posting, but I thought this might be a good opportunity.


Joseph J. Bellina, Jr. Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Jewell, Jilliene" <jilliene.jewell@ROYALSOC.AC.UK>
Date: September 15, 2006 11:14:21 AM EDT
Subject: Royal Society Archives free online
Reply-To: A Forum for Discussion of the History of the Philosophy of Science <>

Apologies for cross-posting...

Jilliene Jewell
Publishing Editor, Notes and Records of the Royal Society

Over 340 years of landmark science available for first time

14 Sep 2006

The complete archive of the Royal Society journals, including some of the most significant scientific papers ever published since 1665, is to be made freely available electronically for the first time today (14th September 2006) for a two month period.

The archive contains seminal research papers including accounts of Michael Faraday's groundbreaking series of electrical experiments, Isaac Newton's invention of the reflecting telescope, and the first research paper published by Stephen Hawking.

The Society's online collection, which until now only extended back to 1997, contains every paper published in the Royal Society journals from the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions in 1665, to the most recent addition, Interface.

Professor Martin Taylor, Vice President of the Royal Society and Chair of the Publishing Board, said: "The Royal Society archive is a unique source of information for practicing scientists, science historians and indeed anyone with an in interest history. The rich, varied and sometimes entertaining archive documents the earliest accounts of the seventeenth centurys new experimental philosophy', through which an understanding of the natural world was acquired by experiment and observation. This provided the foundation of the modern scientific method."

The archive provides a record of some key scientific discoveries in the last 340 years, including Halley's description of his comet' in 1705, details of the double helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1954 and Edmond Stone's breakthrough in 1763 that willow bark cured fevers, leading to the discovery of salicylic acid and later the development of aspirin.

Some of the more obscure papers explore rudimentary prototypes of modern day technology. Trials proposed by Robert Boyle in 1665 hypothesize on the possibilities of blood transfusions, pondering "Whether a fierce dog stocked with the blood of a cowardly dog may not become more tame?". A forerunner for ventilators was also discussed in a paper by Robert Hooke in 1667 entitled "An account of an experiment made by Mr. Hook [sic], of preserving animals alive by blowing through their lungs with bellows".

The archive also contains more amusing experiments and observations such as the use of electrical conductors to cure muscle stiffness and a bizarre description of a "Very Odd Monstrous Calf" which illustrate the inquisitive nature of science's early pioneers.

Professor Taylor added: "In addition to being a valuable scientific resource, the journal archives are also a rich historical record documenting a time which is hard to imagine given the knowledge we have today."

The electronic archive contains papers documenting the discovery of new planets, the first descriptions of organisms through a microscope, and the first account of photography. Early journal papers contain fascinating descriptions of how Captain James Cook preserved the health of his crew aboard the HMS Endeavour and the astonishment of 18th century Society by the performance of a eight year-old Mozart.

The archive will be freely available online until December 2006 and, following this period, will be available as part of Royal Society journal subscription packages or alternatively on a-pay per- view basis.

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