The Invisible College

One of the key plot ideas in the story is to create a series of different secret orders and societies. Each with their own agenda.

One of the first to catch my attention was the Invisible College, a precursor of the Royal Society; It consisted of a group of scientists including Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, John Wallis, John Evelyn, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren and William Petty. In letters in 1646 and 1647, Boyle refers to “our invisible college” or “our philosophical college”. The society’s common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation.

The idea of an invisible college became influential in seventeenth century Europe, in particular, in the form of a network of savants or intellectuals exchanging ideas (by post, as it would have been understood at the time). This is an alternative model to that of the learned journal, dominant in the nineteenth century. The invisible college idea is exemplified by the network of astronomers, professors, mathematicians, and natural philosophers in 16th century Europe. Men such as Johannes Kepler, Georg Joachim Rheticus, John Dee and Tycho Brahe passed information and ideas to each other in an invisible college. One of the most common methods used to communicate was through marginalia, annotations written in personal copies of books that were loaned, given, or sold from person to person. (Wikipedia)

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