The Royal Institution of Great Britain (often abbreviated as the Royal Institution or Ri) is an organisation devoted to scientific education and research, based in London. It was founded in 1799 by the leading British scientists of the age, including Henry Cavendish and its first president, George Finch, the 9th Earl of Winchilsea. Its foundational principles were diffusing the knowledge of, and facilitating the general introduction of, useful mechanical inventions and improvements, as well as enhancing the application of science to the common purposes of life (including through teaching, courses of philosophical lectures, and experiments).
Much of the Institution's initial funding and the initial proposal for its founding were given by the Society for Bettering the Conditions and Improving the Comforts of the Poor, under the guidance of philanthropist Sir Thomas Bernard and American-born British scientist Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford. Since its founding it has been based at 21 Albemarle Street in Mayfair. Its Royal Charter was granted in 1800.
Throughout its history, the Institution has supported public engagement with science through a programme of lectures, many of which continue today. The most famous of these are the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, founded by Michael Faraday. The Royal Institution was founded as the result of a proposal by the American-born Bavarian Count Rumford for the "formation by Subscription, in the Metropolis of the British Empire, of a Public Institution for diffusing the Knowledge and facilitating the general Introduction of useful Mechanical Inventions and Improvements, and for the teaching by courses of Philosophical Lectures and Experiments, the application of Science to the Common Purposes of Life".
The first Professor and Public Lecturer in Experimental Philosophy, Mechanics and Chemistry was Dr Thomas Garnett, whom Rumford poached from the newly founded Andersonian Institute in Glasgow. Despite Garnett's first lectures being a great success, his salary was frozen, he was not allowed to practise as a doctor, and Humphry Davy was appointed as his assistant, so he resigned. Humphry Davy was an even greater success, as was his assistant and successor Michael Faraday. Davy's immediate successor was William Thomas Brande.
Thus the Institution has had an instrumental role in the advancement of science since its founding. Notable scientists who have worked there include Sir Humphry Davy (who discovered sodium and potassium), Michael Faraday, James Dewar, Sir William Henry Bragg and Sir William Lawrence Bragg (who jointly won the Nobel prize for their work on x-ray diffraction), Max Perutz, John Kendrew, Antony Hewish, and George Porter.
In the 19th century, Faraday carried out much of the research which laid the groundwork for the practical exploitation of electricity at the Royal Institution. In total fifteen scientists attached to the Royal Institution have won Nobel Prizes. Ten chemical elements including sodium were discovered there; the electric generator was devised at the Institution, and much of the early work on the atomic structure of crystals was carried out within it.
Since 1799, the Royal Institution has had fifteen presidents and one acting president.
The leadership of the Royal Institution has had various titles:
In 1952, Edward Andrade was forced to resign following a complicated controversy over the management of the Royal Institution and his powers as director, involving a power struggle with Alexander Rankine who was secretary. Following various resignations and general meetings of members, Andrade was awarded £7,000 by arbitration: the arbitrators blamed the problems on "a lack of clear definition of roles ... an outdated constitution, and the inability of the protagonists to compromise". Andrade launched a lawsuit to set the arbitration aside, which he lost.
From 1998 to 8 January 2010, the director of the Royal Institution was Baroness Susan Greenfield, but following a review, the position was abolished for being "no longer affordable". The Royal Institution had found itself in a financial crisis following a £22 million development programme led by Greenfield, which included refurbishment of the institution's main Albemarle Street building, and the addition of a restaurant and bar with an aim to turn the venue into a "Groucho club for science". The project ended £3 million in debt.
Greenfield subsequently announced that she would be suing for discrimination. The RI's official statement stated it would "continue to deliver its main charitable objectives under the direction of chief executive officer, Chris Rofe and a talented senior team including Professor Quentin Pankhurst, the Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory, Dr Gail Cardew, the Head of Programmes and Professor Frank James, Head of Collections and Heritage." Baroness Greenfield later dropped the discrimination case.
Today the Royal Institution is committed to "diffusing science for the common purposes of life". Membership is open to all, with no nomination procedure or academic requirements, on payment of an annual subscription.
The Institution's patrons and trustees include:
In February 2018, the institution appointed Dr Shaun Fitzgerald FREng as director. Fitzgerald took up the post in April 2018. In July 2018, the institution announced a new five-year strategy  running from October 2018 to September 2023. The strategy, which sets out to double the charity's size, involves "plans for new research, development of a new national science club and open forum public policy debates". One new venture will be a Research Centre for Science and Culture, working with other academic groups, this "will investigate historical and contemporary examples of the relationship between science and culture".
The institution's palatial home has been greatly enlarged and redeveloped since 1799, and is a Grade I listed building. The structure's last refurbishment was a £22 million project completed in 2008, intended to create a "science salon" for the public. As well as the famous Lecture Theatre, the building contains several function rooms, modern research facilities and a public café. The trustees were considering selling the building in an effort to recoup the organisation's debts, which amounted to £7 million. In 2013 The Ri received an anonymous donation of £4.4m and as of January 2016, the Ri is now debt-free.
The Institution (today abbreviated as the Ri) has a substantial public science programme and science for schools programme, holding over one hundred events per year on a wide variety of topics. The Christmas Lectures continue today as a series of three televised lectures aimed at children. The Friday Evening Discourses are monthly lectures given by eminent scientists, each limited to exactly one hour, a tradition started by Faraday. There is an annual members' ballot for tickets to the Christmas Lectures but all other events are open to the public. Discounts or free tickets are available to Ri Patrons and Members. Many other events and lectures are held both at Albemarle Street and at other venues around the country.
Scientific research headed by Professor Quentin Pankhurst continues to be done under the auspices of the Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory (DFRL), and indeed this is considered to be one of the UK's most notable labs in nano-science.
In May 2015, The Royal Institution was host to the historic unveiling of the Santara Computer, created by Dr Andrew Deonarine.
In November 2015 a new membership scheme was launched and Fellows of the Ri were abolished. The new scheme includes the categories Member, Under 26 and Ri Young Member. A Patrons scheme has also been introduced for the first time.
In December 2011 the Royal Institution launched the Ri Channel, a new website displaying science videos and archive content from the Royal Institution, including past Christmas Lectures. The Ri Channel was archived in late 2017 with all Ri videos except past Christmas Lectures being hosted on YouTube. Past Christmas Lectures are hosted on the Ri's website and in early 2018 the Ri began a to upload all past Christmas Lectures that were not already available on its website.
Despite its noble history, the Royal Institution has now become a mixed tenancy office building that hosts conferences, weddings and events in order to pay its bills. In 2015 it sold part of its historic collection of manuscripts to raise funds.
In 2015, a room in the Institution was used in an experiment on moral ethics for the US TV scientific show Braingames.
In 1973 the Royal Institution opened the Faraday Museum, a museum dedicated to Michael Faraday. It is in the main building in Albemarle Street and is open to the public during weekday office hours. The highlight of the exhibition is Faraday's original 1850s laboratory (not a reconstruction as often cited). Opposite this lab is the current state-of-the-art nanotechnology lab. Other exhibits include the discoveries, people and activities of the Royal Institution.
Albemarle Street is a street in Mayfair in central London, off Piccadilly. It has historic associations with Lord Byron, whose publisher John Murray was based here, and Oscar Wilde, a member of the Albemarle Club, where an insult he received led to his suing for libel and to his eventual imprisonment. It is also known for its art galleries and the Brown's Hotel is located at 33 Albemarle Street.David Phillips (chemist)
David Phillips, (born 1939) is a British Chemist specialising in photochemistry and lasers, and was President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 2010 to 2012.George Porter
George Porter, Baron Porter of Luddenham, (6 December 1920 – 31 August 2002) was a British chemist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967.James Dewar
Sir James Dewar FRS FRSE (20 September 1842 – 27 March 1923) was a Scottish chemist and physicist. He is best known for his invention of the vacuum flask, which he used in conjunction with research into the liquefaction of gases. He also studied atomic and molecular spectroscopy, working in these fields for more than 25 years.Lawrence Bragg
Sir William Lawrence Bragg, (31 March 1890 – 1 July 1971) was an Australian-born British physicist and X-ray crystallographer, discoverer (1912) of Bragg's law of X-ray diffraction, which is basic for the determination of crystal structure. He was joint winner (with his father, William Henry Bragg) of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915: "For their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-ray", an important step in the development of X-ray crystallography.
Bragg was knighted in 1941. As of 2018, he is the youngest ever Nobel laureate in physics, having received the award at the age of 25 years. Bragg was the director of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, when the discovery of the structure of DNA was reported by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in February 1953.Liverpool Royal Institution
The Liverpool Royal Institution was a learned society set up in 1814 for "the Promotion of Literature, Science and the Arts". William Corrie, William Rathbone IV, Thomas Stewart Traill and William Roscoe were among the founders. It was sometimes called the Royal Society of Liverpool.
A royal charter was granted in 1821. The institute purchased a building on Colquitt Street where a lecture program was started. It also included an art gallery which hosted John James Audubon's first European exhibition, in 1826. A new building to host the gallery was built in 1841 and its director was William John Swainson. A grammar school for boys, the Royal Institution School, ran until 1892.
After the construction of the William Brown Library and Museum, and Walker Art Gallery the institute fell into decline, its collections were moved to the gallery and its archives moved to University College Liverpool. The institute was dissolved in 1948.McGill University
McGill University (French: Université McGill) is a public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was established in 1821 by royal charter, granted by King George IV. The university bears the name of James McGill, a Montreal merchant originally from Scotland whose bequest in 1813 formed the university's precursor, McGill College.
McGill's main campus is at Mount Royal in downtown Montreal, with the second campus situated in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, also on the Montreal Island, 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of the main campus. The university is one of two universities outside the United States who are members of the Association of American Universities and it is the only Canadian member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) within the World Economic Forum.McGill offers degrees and diplomas in over 300 fields of study, with the highest average admission requirements of any Canadian university. Most students are enrolled in the five largest faculties, namely Arts, Science, Medicine, Engineering, and Management.McGill counts among its alumni 12 Nobel laureates and 145 Rhodes Scholars, both the most of any university in Canada, as well as five astronauts, the incumbent prime minister and two former prime ministers of Canada, the incumbent Governor General of Canada, 14 justices of the Canadian Supreme Court, at least eight foreign leaders, 28 foreign ambassadors, over eight dozen members of the Canadian Parliament, United States Congress, British Parliament, and other national legislatures, several billionaires, nine Academy Award (Oscars) winners, 11 Grammy Award winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners, two Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, at least 16 Emmy Award winners, and 28 Olympic medalists, all of varying nationalities. McGill alumni were instrumental in inventing or initially organizing football, basketball, and ice hockey. McGill University or its alumni also founded several major universities and colleges, including the Universities of British Columbia, Victoria, and Alberta, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Dawson College. McGill is particularly noted for its contributions to medicine and the health sciences.Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday FRS (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was a British scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.
Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology.
As a chemist, Faraday discovered benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as "anode", "cathode", "electrode" and "ion". Faraday ultimately became the first and foremost Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution, a lifetime position.
Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language; his mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry and were limited to the simplest algebra. James Clerk Maxwell took the work of Faraday and others and summarized it in a set of equations which is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena. On Faraday's uses of lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they show Faraday "to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods." The SI unit of capacitance is named in his honour: the farad.
Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated, "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time."Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally, founded for the advancement of architecture under its charter granted in 1837 and Supplemental Charter granted in 1971.Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are a series of lectures on a single topic each, which have been held at the Royal Institution in London each year since 1825, missing 1939–42 because of the Second World War. The lectures present scientific subjects to a general audience, including young people, in an informative and entertaining manner. Michael Faraday initiated the first Christmas Lecture series in 1825. This came at a time when organised education for young people was scarce. Faraday presented a total of nineteen series in all.Royal Institution of Australia
The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) is a national scientific not-for-profit organisation with a mission to 'bring science to people and people to science'. It opened in October 2009.Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional body promoting and enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.
RICS work at a cross-governmental level, delivering a single, international standard that will support a safe and vibrant marketplace in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, for the benefit of all.
Professionals holding RICS qualifications may use the following designations after their name: AssocRICS (Associate), MRICS (Member), FRICS (Fellow). Those with the designation MRICS or FRICS are also known as chartered surveyors.Royal Institution of Cornwall
The Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC) is a Learned society in Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
It was founded in Truro on 5 February 1818 as the Cornwall Literary and Philosophical Institution. The Institution was one of the earliest of seven similar societies established in England and Wales. The RIC moved to its present site in River Street in 1919 to the building that was originally Truro Savings Bank. It took its current name (Royal Institution of Cornwall) in 1821 after receiving royal patronage. It is a registered charity under English law.The Royal Institution of Cornwall owns and manages the Royal Cornwall Museum, which has a permanent display on the history of Cornwall from prehistoric times to the present day, as well as the natural history of Cornwall, a world-famous collection of minerals and a pre-eminent collection of ceramics and fine art.
The museum building also houses the Institution's Courtney Library, which currently holds c. 40,000 printed volumes, 35,000 manuscripts and documents, newspapers from 1737, printed maps, periodicals, prints and ephemera. It specialises in family history and local history. There is a staffed photocopying service with a maximum order of 10 sheets, members pay a reduced charge for print-outs from microfiche and photocopying.
The Library is open Monday-Friday 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm, on Saturdays 10am-1pm and is closed on Sundays and Statutory Bank Holidays. The Archives are not available on Thursdays.Royal Institution of Naval Architects
The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (also known as RINA) is an international organisation representing naval architects. It is an elite international professional institution based in London. Its members are involved worldwide at all levels in the design, construction, repair and operation of ships, boats and marine structures. Members are elected by the council and are presented with the titles AssocRINA (Associate), AMRINA (Associate Member), MRINA (Member) and FRINA (Fellow) depending on their membership type. These title are usually suffixed after the name of the member.
The Patron of the Institution is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh is an Honorary Fellow..Royal Manchester Institution
The Royal Manchester Institution (RMI) was an English learned society founded on 1 October 1823 at a public meeting held in the Exchange Room by Manchester merchants, local artists and others keen to dispel the image of Manchester as a city lacking in culture and taste.
The Institution was housed in a building in Mosley Street designed by Charles Barry in 1824. Construction of the building began in 1825, and was completed in 1835, at a cost of £30,000. A Grade I listed building, it is his only public building in the Greek neo-classical style. The Institution held regular art exhibitions, collected works of fine art and promoted the arts generally from the 1820s until 1882, when the building and its collections were transferred under Act of Parliament to Manchester Corporation, becoming Manchester Art Gallery.
In the basement a laboratory was installed by Lyon Playfair who worked there briefly as Professor of Chemistry after he left Thomson's of Clitheroe. He was succeeded by Frederick Crace Calvert who made phenol which was used by Joseph Lister as an antiseptic.
The first school of design in Manchester was accommodated in the building from 1838. In the 1880s it moved to premises in Cavendish Street, Chorlton on Medlock, which it still occupies as part of the Manchester Metropolitan University.Royal Scottish Academy
For Scotland's national academy, see Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) is the country’s national academy of art. It promotes contemporary Scottish art.
Founded in 1819 as the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, in 1826 it was named the Scottish Academy, and it became the Royal Scottish Academy on being granted a royal charter in 1838.
The RSA maintains a unique position in the country as an independently funded institution led by eminent artists and architects to promote and support the creation, understanding, and enjoyment of visual arts through exhibitions and related educational events.Royal Scottish Academy Building
The Royal Scottish Academy building, the home of the Royal Scottish Academy, is situated on The Mound in the centre of Edinburgh, was built by William Henry Playfair in 1822-6 and extended in 1831-6 for the Board of Manufactures and Fisheries. Along with the adjacent National Gallery of Scotland, their neo-classical design helped transform Edinburgh into a modern-day Athens of the North.
One of the bodies that proposed the building in 1821 was the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland after which the building was named the Royal Institution from 1826 to 1911. From the completion of the original building, the Royal Institution shared it with the Board of Manufactures (the owners), the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
The building, along with the National Gallery of Scotland, was remodelled in 1912 by William Thomas Oldrieve. The statue of Queen Victoria top the building was sculpted by Sir John Steell.
In 2003 railings (lost in World War II) together with a series of traditional lamps, were restored around both the Academy and the National Gallery behind, isolating each building from the public space here.
The building is managed by the National Galleries of Scotland but a 1910 Order grants the RSA permanent administration offices in the building. The building was recently refurbished as part of the Playfair Project.
Exhibition space is shared throughout the year by the RSA with the NGS and other exhibiting societies: the Society of Scottish Artists, Visual Arts Scotland and the Royal Society of Watercolourists.Susan Greenfield, Baroness Greenfield
Susan Adele Greenfield, Baroness Greenfield, (born 1 October 1950) is a British scientist, writer, broadcaster, and member of the House of Lords. Her research has focused on the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. She is also interested in the neuroscience of consciousness and the impact of technology on the brain.Greenfield is a senior research fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford University and was a Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology.She was also chancellor of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh between 2005 and 2013. From 1998 to 2010, she was director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. In September 2013, she co-founded the biotech company Neuro-bio Ltd, where she is Chief Executive Officer.Vision Australia
Vision Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and Australia's largest provider of services for people with blindness and low vision.