Skip to content

Please be aware that some material may contain words, descriptions or illustrations which will not reflect current scientific understanding and may be considered in today's context inaccurate, unethical, offensive or distressing.

The Royal Society: Science in the Making

Science in the Making

Search through our collection of over 310,000 images and 2,800 Fellows.

Read more about this project and the Royal Society scientific archives.

Discover the historical context of our collections in our in focus section.

Welcome to
Science in the Making

In 1665, the first issue of the Royal Society trailblazing scientific journal, the Philosophical Transactions appears. Publishing research across the sciences as reported by and to the Fellows of the Royal Society, the Philosophical Transactions has showcased the work of preeminent scientific minds of the past 370 years. 

Today, Science in the Making takes the Philosophical Transactions as its starting point and dives back into the archives to go beyond the printed page and allows users to discover how science was made, discussed, and shared since the very beginnings of its history.

Search the archive

Explore the collections

  • Herschel Letters

    Dates: 1807-1875

    This collection of nearly 10,900 letters, drafts, copies and notes is the largest repository of scientific correspondence from and to Sir John Herschel, leading figure of Victorian science.

    View collection
  • Early Letters

    Dates: 1613-1740

    The archival collection known as 'Early Letters' is composed of original manuscript letters sent to, or collected by, the Royal Society from English and foreign correspondents.

    View collection
  • Classified Papers

    Dates: 1592-1741

    The 'Classified Papers' of the Royal Society are papers from British and international natural philosophers and scholars categorised according to subject areas.

    View collection
  • Register Books

    Dates: 1661-1739

    The 'Register Books Originals' contain copies of scientific papers submitted to the Society and considered for publication. The papers were transcribed to establish their precedence for a particular discovery or idea.

    View collection
  • Letters and Papers

    Dates: 1741-1806

    'Letters and Papers' contains the scientific correspondence sent to the Royal Society through the 18th century, many of which were published in its journal.

    View collection
  • Archived Papers

    Dates: 1768-1989

    The 'Archived Papers' collection is comprised of original manuscript scientific papers and letters submitted to the Royal Society which remained unpublished or were abstracted in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society' published from 1830 onwards.

    View collection
  • Philosophical Transactions

    Dates: 1802-1865

    The 'Philosophical Transactions' collection comprises manuscript versions of papers published in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world’s first and longest continuously running journal dedicated to science.

    View collection
  • Referee Reports

    Date: 1832-1949

    This collection contains reports on scientific papers submitted for publication to the Royal Society. Started in 1832 when the system was formalised, it is a record of the origins of peer review publishing in practice.

    View collection
  • Manuscripts General

    Dates: 1551 - 1951

    Science in the Making presents selected items from the 'Manuscripts General' series, notably astronomical observations, investigations of discrete topics, and indices and registers of papers read before the Royal Society.

    View collection
  • Proceedings Papers

    Dates: 1882 - 1894

    The archival collection known as 'Proceedings Papers' is comprised of manuscripts and occasional proofs of scientific papers sent to the Royal Society which were read before meetings of Fellows and printed in full in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

    View collection