The year: 1660. The date: November 28. Present: The Lord Brouncker, Mr Boyle, Mr Bruce, Sir Robert Moray, Sir Paule Neile, Dr Wilkins, Dr Goddard, Dr Petty, Mr Ball, Mr Hooke, Mr Wren, and Mr Hill. Occasion: A lecture by Mr Wren at Gresham College, United Kingdom. AfterChristopherWrenhaddeliveredhislectureatGreshamCollegeonthathistoric occasion in November 1660, "they did according to the usual manner, withdraw for mutual converse." It was in 1660 that the Royal Society was founded, with 12 persons present. This year, 2010, is thus a special year for scientists worldwide: it celebrates the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society, whose current President is Martin Rees. One of the enormous challenges facing scientists in the 1600s was the great need fortheclassi cationofobjectstheywerestudying,particularlyinthe eldofbotany. The seeds for classi cation lie in the works of the British naturalist John Ray (1628-1705), who commencing in 1660 with hisCatalogusplantarumcirca Cantabrigiamnascentium (Catalogue of Cambridge Plants) - published in the year in which the Royal Society was founded - and ending with the posthumous publi- tion ofSynopsisMethodicaAviumetPiscium in 1713, pioneered systematic studies on plants, birds, mammals, sh, and insects.
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