Royal Society celebrates its 350th anniversary

The Royal Society, one of the oldest scientific institutions in the world, has recently celebrated its 350th anniversary (its official foundation date being 28 November 1660) and with it has surveyed 2000 people in order to find out their views on the future of science.

The Royal Institution is one of the greatest scientific academies in the world, and was integral in spreading Enlightenment ideals across Europe. With its emphasis on empirical reasoning being applied to scientific experimentation, it helped provide much needed legitimacy to science, of which we are all reaping the benefits of now.

And the survey shows that there is still no shortage of opinions as to what science, as a whole, should be focusing on. The main priority for most of the people surveyed was that science should concentrate on the eradication of disease with finding cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS and Malaria coming top of the list.

As Royal Society president Martin Rees said: "There can be no better way to celebrate the Royal Society's 350th anniversary than to look to the future of science, built on the foundations of today's cutting-edge research".

The next highest priority for scientific research, according to the study, was thought to be on climate change - with nearly half of 18 to 24-year olds seeing it as important.

There was also a strong portion of individuals who thought that the search for extra terrestrial beings should be a priority, with over a third thinking it a smart move to try to contact aliens. One of the most interesting findings from the survey, however, was that only 44 per cent of Britons (according to the poll) believe in extra terrestrial life -something that has got to be a dead cert.

What do you believe should be the focus of scientific research in the future? Let us know in the comments.



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