Royal Society Publishing

Christopher Merret's use of experiment

A. J. Koinm


Christopher Merret's Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum has been criticized because he only collected material rather than doing research himself. However, Merret, first Harveian Librarian of the Royal College of Physicians and charter member of the Royal Society of London, used his talents as curator to ensure as accurate a description of plants and animals as was possible in 1666, to make the most complete compilation of his day. His steps to collect new plants, his translation of and interpolations to Neri's The Art of Glass, his garden of herbs, and his reports to the Royal Society on his experiments show his recognition of the importance of experiment.