The title of our Society may sound slightly misleading when you consider the more modern definition of the word ‘philosophy’, but it is in fact the oldest scientific society in Cambridge. Founded in 1819 by a group of Cambridge luminaries, Edward Clarke, John Stevens Henslow and Adam Sedgwick it became a Body Corporate by virtue of a Charter granted by King William IV in 1832.
Photo: The Lecture Room of the Cambridge Philosophical Society: London Illustrated News, June 28, 1845
The Cambridge Philosophical Society is what’s termed a learned and professional Society and was created with the charitable aim of ‘of promoting scientific inquiry, and of facilitating the communication of facts connected with the advancement of Philosophy and Natural History’. The aims of the Society today are no different from its founders’ and, put simply, we are here to promote research in all branches of science and to encourage the communication of the results of scientific research.
The Society is an independent self-supporting Charity, associated with the University of Cambridge and governed by an elected Council of 21 senior academics. Currently we have 2,000 Society members, also known as Fellows.
We run a regular series of lectures by well-respected speakers on a wide range of subjects from biology and astronomy to engineering and physics as well as many other events that are free and open to all. We also arrange a programme of events and visits just for Members. Income for the Society is generated by the publication of our two journals - Biological Reviews and Mathematical Proceedings as well as Membership fees.
The Society Bye-Laws adopted at the General Meeting on 2 July 2018 are available to view in full Bye Laws.
From Darwin’s paper on evolution to the development of stem cell research, publications from the Society continue to shape the scientific landscape.
Mathematical Proceedings is one of the few high-quality journals publishing original research papers that cover the whole range of pure and applied mathematics, theoretical physics and statistics.
Biological Reviews covers the entire range of the biological sciences, presenting several review articles per issue. Although scholarly and with extensive bibliographies, the articles are aimed at non-specialist biologists as well as researchers in the field.
The Spirit of Inquiry celebrates the 200th anniversary of the remarkable Cambridge Philosophical Society and brings to life the many remarkable episodes and illustrious figures associated with the Society, including Adam Sedgwick, Mary Somerville, Charles Darwin, and Lawrence Bragg.
Become a Fellow of the Society and enjoy the benefits that membership brings. Membership costs £20 per year.
Cambridge Philosophical Society 17 Mill Lane Cambridge CB2 1RX