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Royal Institution. Founded in 1799 to apply science and technology to the improvement of the lives of the poor. The leading members included Banks, Count Rumford, Thomas Bernard, Henry Cavendish, and Wilberforce. It received a royal charter the following year and moved into the premises in Albemarle Street which it still occupies. Its main activity has been to popularize science through public lectures and its success was assured by Humphry Davy and then Michael Faraday, who had started as Davy's assistant in 1813. Subsequent lecturers have included John Tyndall, Sir James Dewar, T. H. Huxley, Rutherford, and Julian Huxley. Though it is doubtful whether the institution has had much effect on the condition of the poor, it has done a great deal for the diffusion of scientific knowledge.
J. A. Cannon