The Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala is Sweden’s oldest learned society, founded in 1710 by Erik Benzelius, the Younger, after the model of similar learned societies on the continent. The aim of the Society was to acquire, develop, and circulate knowledge primarily within the natural societies which at this time became of increasing importance; this acquisition of learning was accomplished through mutual contacts between the members of the society and exchanges with colleagues abroad. On the seal of the Society one may read “Collecta refundit” that is “pour out again the collected,” and for three hundred years the Society has sought in various ways to carry out this maxim.
The Society is divided into four classes (see Organization), a scholarly network embracing most academic fields, also the humanities, and, through a broad age distribution among its members, forming an important bridge across generations. The Society came under Royal patronage in 1728. Anders Celsius was its first true secretary; the secretarial tasks had up till then been handled by Erik Benzelius himself. Among well-known members of the eighteenth century one may mention Carl von Linné, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Nils Rosén von Rosenstein, Samuel Klingenstierna, and Torben Bergman. A short history of the Society may be found under history.