What if every human intentionally chooses a motto? A motto that defines one’s ideals, aspirations and principles?
The questions above came up when I was reading up on the progress of science during the 17th century. During my reading, I studied the history of The Royal Society- an independent scientific academy of the UK- and was quite impressed by the role it played. For some reason, I decided to check its motto which is
Nillius in Verba(Take nobody's word for it).
I really liked the motto which got me thinking on whether there was a connection between The Royal Society’s motto and its contribution to science?
Enter The Royal Society in Mid 17th Century Britain.
In 1662, The Royal Society, which was formed in 1660, was given a royal charter by Charles II. Its motto is Nillius in Verba which means take nobody’s word for it in English. This motto was intentionally chosen; At this time in the west, the objective of most educational institutions objectives was to pass on knowledge from ancient Greece. But here we had the Royal Society, at that time, choose a motto which means that evidence is the cornerstone of its existence. Evidence requires repeatable experiments in science. This was not the norm in the mid 17th century.
This motto became self fulfilling as The Royal Society became the eminent hub of communication of new scientific ideas; Ideas which became the backbone of modern scientific progress in the world. Eight years after The Royal Society had received its chatter, it took part in the activities below:
In 1663, the beginning of modern archaeology was established.
In 1665, Robert Hooke’s book - Micrographia - was published. It was in this book that the word cell was coined as a biological term.
In 1665, the oldest scientific journal - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - in continuous publication was started. It established important ideas like scientific priority and peer review.
In 1665, the science of microbiology was born through the works of Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek on seeing little animals through a microscope and the repetition of his observation by the Royal Society.
In 1667, The Royal Society published Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, a book which describe the action of gravity.
Impressive contributions in just ten years? I would say so. I think that having the motto played an important part in the advancement of science. It ensured that it followed its ideals which encourage scientist who followed the same ideals to come forward.
How does this apply to your life you may ask? I suggest that you consider choosing a motto for yourself. I am doing the same; Deeply thinking of what I want my life to represent.
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