350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the first scientific journal

10/03/2015 - 3 minutes

The world’s oldest continuously published journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (RSL), celebrates its 350th anniversary on 6 March 2015.

Academic journals are the cornerstone of science research. They serve as showcases, forums where researchers present their discoveries to the scientific community so they can be scrutinized, criticized and confirmed or rejected. As Henry Oldenburg, Secretary of the RSL, wrote in his introduction to Philosophical Transactions’ first edition, the aim of scientific publications is to give researchers a venue to “…invited and encouraged to search, try, and find out new things, impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences.

Landmark papers that have been published in all of the Royal Society journals include:

  • The gruesome account of an early blood transfusion (1666)
  • Sir Isaac Newton’s landmark paper on the nature of light and colour (1672)
  • Benjamin Franklin’s account of flying a kite in a storm to identify the electrical nature of lightning – the Philadelphia Experiment (1752)
  • Han’s Sloane’s account of inoculation with small pox (1755)
  • A scientific study of a young Mozart confirming him as a musical child genius (1770)
  • The discovery of a comet by the first recognized female scientist,

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