Royal Institution of Great Britain


The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 to promote the application of science ‘to the common purposes of life’, and has been fulfilling this goal ever since through lecture series, such as the televised Christmas Lectures, and the scientific research of its world renowned laboratory. It was here that Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, John Tyndall, James Dewar, and William and Lawrence Bragg, to name but six, made such seminal scientific discoveries as sodium, the miners’ safety lamp, and the electric motor, transformer, and generator, as well as determining why the sky was blue, inventing the thermos flask, and using x-rays to determine the atomic structure of crystals. Many of these pieces of work have exerted, through their technological applications, a profound influence on society.

Today the Royal Institution continues to carry out world-class scientific research in its laboratory, has a major programme of public events to mesh science with society, and, following a £22m building project (partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), now has a major programme devoted to caring for, interpreting, and displaying its heritage.