Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, London, 2006.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Royal Institution of Great Britain was founded in 1799, with the purpose of "diffusing the knowledge, and facilitating the general introduction, of useful mechanical inventions and improvements; and for teaching, by courses of philosophical lectures and experiments, the application of science to the common purposes of life". Today the Institution is still dedicated to the popularisation of science in England. Some of the most important scientific discoveries of the last two hundred years were made at the Institution, which remains a centre of scientific research. The Institution's annual Christmas lecture series for young people was founded by Michael Faraday (1791-1867) in 1826.