Illustration depicting the visit of King Louis XIV of France to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1671. The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is one of the earliest Academies of Sciences. In the front are, from left to right, the prince de CondÃ©, the duc d'OrlÃ©ans, Louis XIV, and Colbert. The astronomer Cassini, gesturing with his left hand, is in the second row between CondÃ© and the king's brother. The building on the hill outside the window is the Paris Observatory, completed in 1671. Engraving by Sebastien Leclerc I (1637-1714).