Next year marks the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, a year that will be filled with many events in partnership with different organisations around London and the UK. Today, they have released a new website in order to start gearing up for this year of festivities called Trailblazing.
Trailblazing is a timeline website that contains many groundbreaking scientific articles, papers and letters that have never before been published online in their original format.
The project includes works from Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Captain Cook and many others. They run the gamut from absolutely pivotal scientific research, to items of more of a curiosity nature that will still warm the heart of many historians and scientific philosophers.
Although the project mostly looks back into the distant past, it shows how such papers and people have impacted the history of science and its formation into the eminent mode of understanding that it now holds. More than this, it truly displays the wonderful capabilities that the communications revolution has provided us.
Before projects such as this – and there have been many others like it, some of truly staggering proportions – these works would only be available to those of a particularly academic persuasion. To see the originals, appointments would have to be made and were likely only granted if one could prove that serious research would result. Online, copies could sometimes be viewed but only if you had access to various academic resources that are expensive if you are not part of a university or other such institution.
Knowledge should be available for everybody, so that all may improve themselves as a result. This project from the Royal Society is a great way to highlight the fascinating things that are to be found in dusty old archives (okay, so most of them are atmosphere controlled, cutting edge libraries: but still…) and hopefully it will light a spark of interest and passion for the subjects presented in people who might have otherwise never have been exposed to them.