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Royal Society offers all-time top boffinry selection online

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The Royal Society, Blighty's premier boffinry club, has celebrated its 350th year by putting online a selection of its most eye-catching research papers.

Among the highlights of the offerings are An Account of an Experiment Made by Mr Hook, of Preserving Animals Alive by Blowing through Their Lungs with Bellows. This is a description of an experiment performed for the Society by the "ingenious" Robert Hooke, in which he proved that it is not the motion of the lungs which keeps animals alive but the circulation of air through them.

Other scientific highlights include the report by the noted 18th-century boffin - and later, prominent colonial renegade - Benjamin Franklin on flying kites in thunderstorms as a means of investigating electricity. There's also more modern stuff to be had.

The new website on which the papers are offered, dubbed Trailblazing, also includes a timeline of historical events to which the publications are pegged.

The online papers are taken from the Society's journal, Philosophical Transactions, the oldest continuously published scientific periodical in the world. ®

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