Humphry Davy and The Royal Institution of Great Britain
Unwin, Patrick R. and Unwin, Robert W.. (2009) Humphry Davy and The Royal Institution of Great Britain. Notes and Records of The Royal Society, Vol.63 (No.1). pp. 7-33. ISSN 0035-9149Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2008.0010
The abortive attempts of Sir Humphry Davy to introduce modest reforms at the Royal Society of London during his Presidency (1820-27) contrast with his (largely unstudied) earlier experience of administration at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI). Davy's attempts to combat the systemic weaknesses in governance and funding, and his role in effecting changes at the RI, in association with a core group of reformers, merit consideration. This paper analyses important aspects of the early management and social structure of the RI and examines the inner workings of the institution. It shows how and why the Library, its most valuable financial asset, and its celebrated Laboratory, developed along distinctive lines, each with its own support structures and intra-institutional interests. While acknowledging the roles traditionally ascribed to Count Rumford and Sir Joseph Banks, the paper highlights the contributions of other early patrons such as Thomas Bernard, son of a colonial governor of Massachusetts, and Earl Spencer, a leading European bibliophile and RI President from 1813 to 1825. The promotion of a Bill in Parliament in 1810, designed to transform the RI from a proprietary body politic into a corporation of members, and the subsequent framing of the bye-laws, provided opportunities to establish a more democratic structure of elected committees for the conduct of science.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Science > Chemistry|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Notes and Records of The Royal Society|
|Publisher:||The Royal Society Publishing|
|Official Date:||20 March 2009|
|Number of Pages:||27|
|Page Range:||pp. 7-33|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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