Just as few months after the Restoration, the Royal Society was founded. It is the world's oldest scientific institution, and is a fitting organisation for a country which has given the world's some of its greatest scientists, including the likes of Isaac Newton (who discovered gravity and invented the world's first reflecting telescope), Charles Darwin (who came up with the Theory of Evolution), Michael Faraday (who contributed to the field of electromagnetism and electrochemistry), and Robert Hooke (the father of microscopy and who coined the term "cell" to describe the the basic unit of life).
Now, to mark its 350th birthday, which occurs next year, the Royal Society has put some of its oldest original manuscripts on the internet and made available to the public.
Amongst those included are Sir Isaac Newton's landmark research on white light being made up by a rainbow of colours, Benjamin Franklin's famous kite-flying experiment to identify the electrical nature of lightning in 1752 and a 1770 study confirming the young Mozart as a musical child genius.
Blood transfusions to black holes: Royal Society publishes 350 years of scientific discoveries online
By Daily Mail Reporter
01st December 2009
Landmark moments in the history of science, from a grisly early blood transfusion to Stephen Hawking's theories about black holes, have been celebrated online today to mark the 350th birthday of the Royal Society.
For the first time, original manuscripts of papers published by the world's oldest scientific institution have been made available to the public via the internet.
Among the highlights from the interactive 'Trailblazing' site are Sir Isaac Newton's landmark research on white light being made up by a rainbow of colours and Benjamin Franklin's famous kite-flying experiment to identify the electrical nature of lightning in 1752.
The world's first reflecting telescope, made by Isaac Newton (left) and an image showing a blood transfusion from lamb to man. Newton's theory on light and an account of an early transfusion have both been released
Also included is a 1770 study confirming the young Mozart as a musical child genius, and Professor Stephen Hawking's early writings on black holes.
They are among 60 articles chosen from among 60,000 that have appeared in the Royal Society's journals. The publications include Philosophical Transactions (Phil. Trans.), the oldest continuously published scientific journal in the world.
Also featured on "Trailblazing" are insights from modern-day experts carrying on the work of giants in science such as Newton, Hooke, Faraday and Franklin.
A Nasa image shows two black holes on a collision course. The early writings of Professor Stephen Hawkings on the stellar anomalies have been released to mark the Royal Society anniversary
Origins of the Royal Society
The Royal Society started out as an 'invisible college' of thinkers who began meeting in the mid-1640s to discuss the ideas of the influential philosopher and pioneer scientist Sir Francis Bacon.
Its official foundation date is November 28 1660, when 12 members met at Gresham College.
Prominent members included architect Sir Christopher Wren and scientist Robert Boyle.
Thereafter the Society met weekly to witness experiments and discuss scientific topics. The name 'Royal Society' first appeared in print in 1661.
The Society has had more than 60 Nobel laureates among its 1,400 fellows. It names 44 scientists as fellows each year to recognise outstanding work.
Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, said: 'The scientific papers on Trailblazing represent a ceaseless quest by scientists over the centuries, many of them Fellows of the Royal Society, to test and build on our knowledge of humankind and the universe.
'Individually they represent those thrilling moments when science allows us to understand better and to see further.
Charles Darwin, with his son William, photographed in 1842. On 24th January 1839, Darwin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific institution
'As it begins its 350th anniversary year, the Royal Society will not only be celebrating its proud history but looking to the future of science in the UK and in the rest of the world, as the great scientific questions that tested our predecessors are rapidly replaced by new and urgent scientific challenges.
'Throughout the year, the Royal Society will be running an exciting nationwide programme of events and activities, many in conjunction with other scientific and cultural institutions, to inspire scientists, families, young people and interested members of the public alike to see further into science.'
The Royal Society's anniversary is being celebrated between November 2009 and November 2010.
Mozart (left) was confirmed as a musical prodigy by the Royal Society, who also published a letter describing the invention of the voltaic pile - the first electric battery (right)
Planned events include a nine-day science and arts festival next summer, a series of public lectures, debates and discussion meetings at the Society's London headquarters, and programmes in partnership with museums and galleries to explore the impact of science and the achievements of scientific "heroes".
Trailblazing can be accessed at http://trailblazing.royalsociety.org