TN 1698, on February 6 and again on March 8, Peter the Great visited Greenwich Observatory, and as Flamsteed recorded, made observations of Venus. In Holland he had studied astronomy and other sciences, he had inspected Leeuwenhoek's microscopes and Ruysch's anatomical collections, and thus while pursuing his main object of learning shipbuilding and recruiting instructors and artisans, both in Holland and England he made himself acquainted with some of the science of the day. He was then about twenty–six years of age. Twenty years later he again visited Holland, but this time went on to Paris where he inspected the Arsenal, tapestry and printing works and natural history collections, went to the Sorbonne and Observatory and attended a meeting of the Royal Academy of Sciences, where he talked of maps. The newly founded city of St. Petersburg had already become his seat of government, in preference to Moscow, and one of his cherished ambitions was to establish in it an academy after the fashion of the Paris and Berlin Academies of Sciences and the Royal Society of London.

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SMITH, E. THE RISE OF SCIENCE IN RUSSIA. Nature 148, 357–360 (1941) doi:10.1038/148357a0

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