Our Impact

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Our Mission

Our mission is to make world-class knowledge and high-quality talks and videos freely accessible to the public. The College's main activity is the provision and administration of the Gresham Lectures given by the Gresham Professors in a tradition going back more than 400 years.

Gresham College fosters a love of learning and a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. We aim to stimulate intellectual curiosity and to champion academic rigour, professional expertise and freedom of expression. 

Our History

When Gresham College was set up in 1597, it was the first institute of higher learning in London, and the Universities in Oxford and Cambridge still taught all their students in Latin. Not only was Gresham accessible to people with no or minimal knowledge of Latin - and therefore to a much wider range of backgrounds - it also focused on subjects that many universities did not teach then, like astronomy and geometry - disciplines which had more explicit practical applications for navigation and trade.

One of the most far-reaching impacts it had was founding the Royal Society, which was set up by a group of 12 men after one of Sir Christopher Wren’s lectures in 1660. The Royal Society is known as probably the most prestigious scientific societies in the world.

Our eminent lecturers include luminaries like Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, composer Iannis Xenakis, mathematicians John Barrow and Roger Penrose, astronomers Lord Martin Rees, Heather Couper, Chris Whitty and Carolin Crawford. Find out more about our history. 

Our Reach Today

Today, we reach people from more than 150 countries with over 6.5m views of our lectures alone in 2023. 

Also, Gresham lectures are an excellent way of providing educational enrichment, helping students with their research projects and ‘stretch and challenge’ activities. We are now working directly with more schools than ever before via our Oracy Competition for state schools and dedicated, schools-only lectures. Find out more

Read more about the current Professors and their lecture series'.