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.

In focus

Explore 7 In focus articles

  • From 'actino-chemistry' to 'photo-graphy': photographic experimentation in the letters of Sir John Herschel

    Tracing early experimental practices, Carolin Lange from the Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University Leicester, explores the vast network of individuals curious about photography, through the letters of Sir John Herschel.

    View In focus article
  • Looking backwards into the future

    Opening the doors of locked strongrooms, Keith Moore, Head of Library and Information Services, explores the treasures of the Royal Society, the organisation’s manuscripts of experiment, observation, theory, and data.

    View In focus article
  • 'I do not agree with sex being brought into science at all’

    Women from the past have left only faint traces of their existence in the Royal Society archives, and none were admitted as Fellows until 1945. Patricia Fara explores new stories about the past, bringing scientific women into focus.

    View In focus article
  • Skin and understanding difference: race in the Royal Society archives

    Examining the records of marginalised peoples within the archives, Meleisa Ono-George explores the pivotal role the Royal Society played in the development of the conception of 'race' and the formulation of knowledge about human difference and variety in the eighteenth century.

    View In focus article
  • A nebula of papers

    From the archives to space, Louisiane Ferlier dives into the papers Caroline, William and John Herschel created when observing nebulae and searching for comets.

    View In focus article
  • Segregated pasts

    Delving into the archaeological archives of the Royal Society, Pratik Chakrabarti and Dmitrii Blyshko explore the ways in which territorial segregation and the definition of 'antiquity' have left their mark upon the modern collection.

    View In focus article
  • Smallpox in the archives

    Eighteenth-century Europeans took part in the largest human experiment ever conducted: inoculation against smallpox. Anita Guerrini reveals the central role of the Philosophical Transactions in circulating information about the technique and the complex ethical issues around the practice.

    View In focus article