The Royal Society is Britain's preeminent scientific institution. It was founded in 1660, and early Fellows included Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton. Past presidents include Wren, Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphrey Davy, Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Lord Lister and Ernest Rutherford.
Fellows of the Royal Society are elected for life through a peer review process that culminates in a vote by existing Fellows. The main criterion for election as a Fellow is scientific excellence.
Its U.S. counterpart is the National Academy of Science.