A century and a half on from its beginnings, the Royal Society of Chemistry today has a global membership of over 46,000, and the longest continuous tradition of any chemical society in the world. It is the sole heir and successor to four well known and long-established bodies:
- The Chemical Society (founded in 1841)
- The Society for Analytical Chemistry (founded in 1874)
- The Royal Institute of Chemistry (founded in 1877)
- The Faraday Society (founded in 1903)
The Royal Society of Chemistry fulfils the roles previously undertaken by all four of these bodies. In accordance with its first Royal Charter, granted in 1848, the RSC continues to pursue the aims of the advancement of chemistry as a science, the dissemination of chemical knowledge, and the development of chemical applications. However, over the years its responsibilities have broadened and its activities have become more extensive.
Today the RSC's work spans a wide range of activities connected with the science and profession of chemistry. It is actively involved in the spheres of education, qualifications and professional conduct. It runs conferences and meetings at both national and local level. It is a major publisher, and is internationally regarded as a provider of chemical databases. In all its work, the RSC is objective and impartial, and it fulfils a role independent of government, trade associations and trade unions. It is recognised throughout the world as an authoritative voice of chemistry and chemists.
For many years, the RSC has been involved in chemistry at an international level, and currently holds the Secretariat of the European Communities Chemistry Council and of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the headquarters of the RSC have been at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, built early in the eighteenth century by the third Earl of Burlington. The RSC now has another base on the Cambridge Science Park, in Thomas Graham House, which was officially opened in 1989 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.