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United Kingdom 2010 "350th anniversary of The Royal Society"

Issue Date 25.02.2010
ID Michel:  2888-2897 ScottStanley Gibbons: Yvert:  UPU: GB025.10 Category: Co
Author Hat-trick Design
Stamps in set 10:
Value  1st class - Robert Boyle, Chemistry
 1st class - Sir Isaac Newton, Optics
 1st class - Benjamin Franklin, Electricity
 1st class - Edward Jenner, Vaccination
 1st class - Charles Babbage, Computing
 1st class -
Alfred Russel Wallace, Evolution
 1st class - Joseph Lister, Antiseptic Surgery
 1st class - Ernest Rutherford, Atomic Structure
 1st class - Dorothy Hodgkin, Crystallography
 1st class - Sir Nicholas Shackleton, Earth Sciences
Size (width x height) 35x35mm
Layout stripe of 10 stamps 5x2 ; sheets of 30/60
Products FDC x MC  PP x1
Perforation 14.5 x 14.5
Print Technique


Printed by Cartor Security Printing
Issuing Authority Royal Mail of Great Britain

This year is the 350th anniversary of The Royal Society, the worlds oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. In celebration, Royal Mail has today released ten 1st class commemoratives featuring significant Royal Society figures whose portraits are paired with dramatic and colourful imagery representing their achievements.

The brainstorming design was the idea of Hat-trick Design, responsible for the interlocking jigsaw approach used for the 2009 Darwin stamps. But with more than 1,400 Fellows and Foreign Members to choose from, how were ten significant scientific figures to be selected?

Fittingly, it was The Royal Society itself which suggested the solution: a case of basic division. It was agreed to split the 350-year history into ten 35-year blocks in which it could be demonstrated how, through the work of its Fellows, The Royal Society has had a major impact on the World.

Royal Mail consulted with experts from the Society to determine the ten Fellows, and due to the global nature of the organisation, non UK citizens were included, such as one of the United States Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and the New Zealand-born physicist Ernest Rutherford.

Founded in 1660, The Royal Society celebrates its 350th Anniversary in 2010 and as the National Academy of Science of the UK and the Commonwealth. It maintains its position at the forefront of inquiry and discovery, and at the cutting edge of scientific progress.

The backbone of the society, which is a charitable body, is its fellowship of the most eminent scientists of the day, and there are currently more than 60 Nobel Laureates amongst the societys Fellows and Foreign Members, of which there are more than 1,400. To this day, Fellowship of The Royal Society is one the greatest honours that can be conferred on any scientist.

The origins of the society lie in an invisible college of natural philosophers who first met in the mid 1640s and were united by a common desire to better understand the world and the universe through observation and experimentation. This spirit of empirical observation is encapsulated in the societys Latin motto, nullius in verba, which can be roughly translated as take nobodys word for it.

Robert Boyle, Chemistry

Boyle (1627 1691) was a natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor, and gentleman scientist, also noted for his writings in theology. He is best known for the formulation of Boyles Law. Although his research and personal philosophy clearly has its roots in the alchemical tradition, he is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry.

Sir Isaac Newton, Optics

Newton (1643 1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian who is perceived and considered by many as one of the most influential men in history. His Philosophi Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is by itself considered to be among the most influential books in the history of science, laying the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton was also president of The Royal Society. The 300th anniversary of Principia Mathematica was marked by a set of four stamps in 1987.

Benjamin Franklin, Electricity

Franklin (1706 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He was important in the development of scientific experimentation and invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass armonica.

In between his other achievements, the polymath Franklin found time to examine fossils from Kentucky's Big Bone Lick. Stumped by what he found, collector George Croghan sent specimens to Franklin, who examined them in 1767. Franklin recognized some similarities to elephants, but also some important differences. In fact, he was looking at mastodon remains. He speculated that "perhaps the climates were differently placed from what they are at present." Widespread acceptance of the notion of extinction was decades away, and Charles Darwin's proposal of natural selection lay nearly a century in the future. Like Thomas Jefferson, Franklin preferred migration to extinction in explaining why the animals no longer lived in the same place. Although Charles Darwin's hypothesis was a long way off, Franklin was friends with the naturalist's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.


Alfred Russel Wallace, Evolution

Wallace (1823 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted the joint reading of his and Charles Darwins papers on evolution in 1858, and spurred Darwin to publish his own theory the following year.

Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts, one in which animals closely related to those of Australia are common, and one in which the species are largely of Asian origin. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography". Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century and made a number of other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discoverer of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridization.




Charles Babbage, Computing

Babbage, (1791 1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer. Babbage was pictured on a 22p Scientific Achievements stamp in 1991.

Edward Jenner, Vaccination

Jenner (17 May 1749 26 January 1823) is widely credited as the pioneer of smallpox vaccine, and is sometimes referred to as the Father of Immunology. Jenner observed that milkmaids rarely got smallpox and concluded that exposure to the bovine disease cowpox conferred immunity a theory he tested and proved by injecting a child with pus from cowpox blisters. Jenners development of the smallpox vaccine was marked by a 20p stamp in the Patients Tale Millenium set in March 1999.

Joseph Lister, Antiseptic Surgery

Lister, 1st Baron Lister, (1827 1912) was an English surgeon who promoted the idea of sterile surgery while working at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He successfully introduced carbolic acid (phenol) to sterilize surgical instruments and to clean wounds, which led to reduced post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients. The centenary of Listers discovery of Antispectic Surgery was marked by two stamps issued in 1965.

Ernest Rutherford, Atomic Structure

Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, (1871 1937) was a New Zealand born chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics. He discovered that atoms have a small charged nucleus, and thereby pioneered the Rutherford model (or planetary model, which later evolved into the Bohr model or orbital model) of the atom, through his discovery of Rutherford scattering with his gold foil experiment. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. He is widely credited as splitting the atom in 1917 and leading the first experiment to split the nucleus in a controlled manner by two students under his direction, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in 1932. He was also president of The Royal Society.

Dorothy Hodgkin, Crystallography

The stamp marks the centenary of the birth of Dorothy Mary Hodgkin, (1910 1994). She was a British chemist, credited with the development of Protein crystallography. She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three dimensional structures of biomolecules. Hodgkin was also the first female Briton to win a Nobel Prize. Hodgkin was also featured on a 20p Famous Women stamp in 1998.





Sir Nicholas Shackleton, Earth Sciences

Sir Nicholas John Shackleton  was a British geologist and climatologist who specialised in the Quaternary Period.  He was the son of the distinguished field geologist Robert Millner Shackleton and great-nephew of the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

In 1967 Cambridge awarded him a PhD degree, for his thesis entitled 'The Measurement of Paleotemperatures in the Quaternary Era'. Shackleton was a key figure in the field of palaeoceanography, publishing over two hundred scientific papers. He was a pioneer in the use of mass spectrometry to determine changes in climate as recorded in the oxygen isotope composition  of calcareous microfossils. He also found evidence that the Earth's last magnetic field reversal was 780,000 years ago.
 Shackleton became known, in 1976, with the publication of his paper, with James Hays and John Imbrie, in Science entitled  'Products in the Earth's orbit: Pacemaker of the ice ages'.Using ocean sediment cores, the researchers demonstrated  that oscillations in climate over the past few million years could be correlated with variations in the orbital and positional  relationship between the Earth and the Sun

Image credits: Robert Boyle drawing and portrait, crystallography pattern The Royal Society; colour spectrum, smallpox vaccination, Edward Jenner portrait, Ernest Rutherford portrait Science Photo Library; Isaac Newton diagram and portrait, Charles Babbage diagram and portrait, Dorothy Hodgkin portrait Science Museum/SSPL; lightning and Benjamin Franklin portrait Getty Images; Alfred Russel Wallace portrait National Portrait Gallery, London; oak tree photographed by Paul Grundy; Joseph Lister portrait Wellcome Library, London; spray photographed by John Ross; atom iStockphoto; micro-fossil image SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology, photographed by Dr Stanley A King; Nicholas Shackleton portrait courtesy of Ingrid Pearson


Official issues


Presentation Pack



The First Day Cover Envelope was designed by Hat-trick Design. The filler card designed by Hat-trick Design contains an extract from the Royal Society's charter together with facsimile signatures of each of the individuals featured in the stamp issue.


 The FDC features the Royal Society FDC envelope together with the PSB Mixed Machin pane.

The fully illustrated presentation pack contains all ten of The Royal Society Stamps. Inside

Eugene Byrne tells the story of each of the individuals on the stamps. The pack was designed by

Hat-trick Design and printed by Walsall Security Printers.

















Inside the PSB Eugene Byrne looks at the history and role of The Royal Society, the book is

 lavishly illustrated with objects from the society's archive.The book has been designed by Russell Warren-Fisher and contains four stamp panes, one of four stamps featuring two of Jenner and one each of Lister and Hodgkin, one of four  featuring Boyle, Babbage, Wallace and Shackleton, another of four featuring Newton, Franklin and two of Rutherford and finally a mixed Machin pane of 4 x 54p and 4 x 22p.





Gutter pairs

Stamp Cards (PHQ)






Ten postcards bearing enlarged images of each of the Royal Society Philately go on sale

 about a week before the stamp issue date





Some Private FDC issues



 Special postmarks announced for the Day of Issue.

 Official post marks. 


postmark with Coat of Arms of The Royal Society.

postmark with 'thought bubbles'.

non-pictorial London postmark.

Ref FD1007
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark (RS Coat of Arms)

Ref FD1008
London SW1, Bacup, Official Postmark 

Ref FD1008NP
London SW1 Official non-pictorial Postmark

Another (private) post marks

postmark illustrated coat of Arms of The Royal Society.

postmark with text as below.

postmark illustrated with molecule.

postmark illustrated with spiral.

Ref L11619 Spring Stampex The Royal Society First Day of Issue, London N1

Ref L11629 Celebrating 350 Years of Excellence in Science The Royal Society, London SW1

Ref L11634 - London SW1

Ref L11639 - Evolution Wallace Road London W1

postmark showing Royal Society motto, Nullius in verba.

postmark showing Newton's telescope.

postmark showing key and electrical 'spark'.

postmark illustrated with cow and test-tubes.

Ref L11630 - Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

Ref L11631 - Cambridge

Ref L11632  Gresham Street, London EC2

Ref L11633 - Hyde Park Corner, London SW1

postmark showing chemistry equipment.

postmark showing portait of Sir Isaac Newton.

postmark illustrated with portrait of Sir Isaac Newton.

postmark illustrated with an apple surrounding an Isaac Newton quotation.

Ref L11635 Chemistry, Whitchurch

Ref L11636 - Cambridge

Ref M11644 Newton Road, Birmingham

Ref L11640 London SW1 - "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants" - Isaac Newton.




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