The World's First Scientific Journal

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The Royal Society officially formed in 1663, when it was known as The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. The secretary of the society, Henry Oldenburg, began "Philosophical Transactions" in 1665 and funded the journal out of his own pocket. Its full title was "Philosophical Transactions, Giving some Account of the present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours of the Ingenious in many considerable parts of the World." Since its inception, it has featured contributions from great names such as Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, and Michael Faraday. It still exists today, though it has separated into "Philosophical Transactions A" and "Philosophical Transactions B," which cover physical and life sciences respectively.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. First published in 1665, "Philosophical Transactions" laid the groundwork for constructive discourse on science. 02:24

  2. The first issue of "Philosophical Transactions" contained an article about a mutant calf. 04:40

  3. See a letter apparently written in response to an article in the first issue of "Philosophical Transactions": 06:59

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