Down through the years, Anniversary Addresses have again and again echoed the motto given to The Royal Society by its founders: ‘Nullius in verba’. The Latin words are taken from a passage in Horace in which the poet likens himself to a gladiator who, having earned retirement, need no longer bow to authority (Nullius addictus iurarae in verba magistri): ‘I say no master has the right to swear me to obedience blind’. Such classical arcana raises some eyebrows today, and we might often do better with the motto's equivalent in contemporary demotic—from the American TV series Dragnet—'just the facts, Ma‘am’. Independent of the details of the translation, our motto sets out the core values of The Royal Society: pursuit of secure, experimentally verifiable knowledge of how the world works, unfettered by the received wisdom of past belief or the constraints of past authority. It is no less a radical agenda in 2002 than it was in 1660.