The Cambridge Philosophical Society is an exciting hub for the promotion of scientific research, discussion, and learning.
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.
In celebration of our 200th year, along side our free and open-to-all, lectures series, we also have a programme of special anniversary events happening in and around the city.
A brief history of Cambridge’s oldest scientific society.
The Cambridge Philosophical Society was founded with one ambitious, but exceptionally clear aim - "to keep alive the spirit of inquiry”.
Who we are
The Society is an independent self-supporting Charity, associated with the University of Cambridge and Governed by an elected Council of 21 Senior Academics, who are all members of the University of Cambridge.
Along side travel grants and research funding, the Society regularly sponsors three-year Research Fellowships, “Henslow Fellowships”, in the fields of Natural Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Clinical Sciences. The Henslow Fellowships are named in honour of John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge and co-founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.
Annual Trustee Reports
With the Society in its 200th year, our founding aim of ‘keeping alive the spirit of inquiry’ has never felt more important. It’s vital to us that we clearly demonstrate how we continue to support research and communication in the field of sciences – whether it’s reporting on how we fund the scientists of the future, through our travel and research grants, or explaining the aims of the Society to our Fellows and the wider interested community.