Royal Microscopical Society

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Royal Microscopical Society
Founded September 1839, Royal Charter in 1866[1]
Type Professional Organisation and Registered Charity
Registration no. 241990
  • 37-38 St. Clements Street,
    Oxford, England, OX4 1AJ[2]
Coordinates 51°45′01″N 1°14′32″W / 51.750374°N 1.2422313°W / 51.750374; -1.2422313Coordinates: 51°45′01″N 1°14′32″W / 51.750374°N 1.2422313°W / 51.750374; -1.2422313
Area served
UK, Worldwide
Key people
President Peter Nellist
Vice President Michelle Peckham[3]
£1,619,802 (year ending Dec 2014[2]
Mission to promote the advancement of microscopical science by such means as the discussion and publication of research into improvements in the construction and mode of application of microscopes and into those branches of science where microscopy is important.

The Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) is a learned society for the promotion of microscopy. It was founded in 1839 as the Microscopical Society of London, which makes it the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. In 1866, the society gained its royal charter and took its current name. Founded as a society of amateurs, its membership consists of individuals of all skill levels in numerous related fields from throughout the world. Every year since 1852, the society has published its own scientific journal, the Journal of Microscopy, which contains peer-reviewed papers and book reviews. The society is a registered charity, and is dedicated to advancing science, developing careers and supporting wider understanding of science and microscopy through its Outreach activities.


Alfred William Bennett, botanist, publisher, early vice-president and editor of the Journal of Microscopy from 1897 until his death in 1902.[4]

The Society was founded as 'The Microscopical Society of London' on 3 September 1839 as the result of a meeting of 17 gentlemen including Edwin John Quekett and Joseph Jackson Lister at Quekett's residence on Wellclose Square, to take into consideration the propriety of forming a society for the promotion of microscopical investigation, and for the introduction and improvement of the microscope as a scientific instrument.[1][5][6][7] It was renamed the Royal Microscopical Society in 1866, when the Society received its Royal Charter. At its Foundation in 1839, the Society ordered the best microscopes then obtainable from the three leading makers, Powell & Lealand, Ross, and Smith.[8] Founding members included the botanist Richard Kippist.[9]

The Society is incorporated by Royal Charter. Its governing documents are its Charter and By-laws.

Meetings, courses and conferences[edit]

Each year the RMS hosts a programme full of meetings, courses and conferences. These events provide opportunities for keeping abreast of the very latest developments and attract speakers of the highest quality and delegates active in all areas of science from forensics to flow cytometry, live cell imaging to SPM.


RMS members come from a wide range of backgrounds — from undergraduates and research students to leaders in their various fields – within the biological & physical sciences.

Benefits of RMS membership include:

  • Subscription to quarterly membership magazine infocus
  • Subsidized subscription rates to Journal of Microscopy
  • Membership of the European Microscopy Society
  • Opportunity to network and socialize with other members at RMS organised events
  • Discounted registration fees to all RMS courses and meetings
  • Inclusion in the RMS membership list giving access to correspondence addresses for all RMS members
  • Receipt of Electronic newsletter "efocus"

After three years of continuous Ordinary Membership, members are invited to become a Fellows of the society after a set number of criteria have been met, which allows for individuals to benefit from voting and election rights as well as the use of the post-nominal letters FRMS after their names.[10]


Journal of Microscopy[edit]

The Journal of Microscopy provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for publication, discussion and education for scientists and technologists who use any form of microscopy or image analysis.[11] This includes technology and applications in physics, chemistry, material and biological sciences. The Journal publishes review articles, original research papers, short communications, and letters to the Editor, covering all aspects of microscopy.[12] It is published on behalf of the Society by Wiley-Blackwell.

infocus Magazine[edit]

infocus Magazine is the Royal Microscopical Society’s Magazine for Members. It provides a common forum for scientists and technologists from all disciplines which use any form of microscope, including all branches of microscopy and microbeam analysis. infocus features articles on microscopy related topics, techniques and developments, reports on RMS events, book reviews, news and much more. Published four times a year, infocus is free to members of the RMS.

  • Royal Microscopical Society Microscopy Handbooks

Outreach Activities[edit]

The RMS founded the Microscope Activity Kit Scheme in March 2011. This is a free scheme sending fully equipped Kits of microscopes and ready-to-go activities to Primary Schools throughout the United Kingdom for a term at a time. By December 2014, the Kits had gone from 2 to 50 and had been used by over 20,000 children in the UK.[13] The RMS Diploma, launched in 2012 to replace the former RMS DipTech qualification, aims to help microscopists advance in their careers by improving and refining their skills to gain a distinguished qualification. The Diploma from the Royal Microscopical Society is attained via a flexible portfolio-based course of study that is designed by the candidate with the assistance of their line-manager, and with input from existing Fellows of the Society. This approach ensures that the study is both challenging and rewarding whilst fitting with, and complementing, the candidate's existing employment.


The Royal Microscopical Society is a member of the Foundation for Science and Technology, the Biosciences Federation, the International Federation of Societies for Microscopy, and the European Microscopy Society.


  1. ^ a b Study Guide - Diploma of the Royal Microscopical Society. Royal Microscopical Society. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Financial history - 241990 - ROYAL MICROSCOPICAL SOCIETY". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "RMS - Council". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Gilbert Baker, John (1902). R.G, Hebb, FRCP, ed. "Obituary - Biographical Memoir of A.W. Bennett". Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society: 158. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "RMS - History". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Brewster, Sir David; Taylor, Richard; Phillips, Richard (1839). Brayley, Edward W, ed. "LXXVII - Proceedings of Learned Societies: Microscopial Society". The London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. No. XV. Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London: Richard & John E. Taylor. p. 549. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "UCL Bloomsbury Project - Quekett Microscopical Club". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Scholarly Societies Project
  9. ^ "Notes". Nature. 25 (638): 275–277. 1882. doi:10.1038/025275a0. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  10. ^ "RMS - Membership Benefits". Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Journal of Microscopy - All Issues - Wiley Online Library". doi:10.1111/(issn)1365-2818/issues. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Journal of Microscopy - Royal Microscopical Society website
  13. ^ Microscope Activity Kits - Royal Microscopical Society website

External links[edit]