The University of Manchester is currently the largest single-site university in Britain and consistently ranks among the best in the world for both teaching and research. It can trace its origins back to the Mechanics Institute (which was to become the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) founded in 1824 by a gathering of businessmen and engineers to teach basic science. Twenty seven years later Owens College (eventually Victoria University of Manchester) came into being, funded by the profits of the textile trade that had established itself in the rapidly expanding conurbation. In 2004 the two establishments merged to form the current University of Manchester. Twenty five Nobel Laureates are counted amongst the institution's past and present staff and students; four are currently working here. Additionally many public figures from multifarious fields have passed through the university including noted politicians, actors and philosophers.
The third largest city in the United Kingdom, Manchester has been the setting for a diverse range of social, cultural and technological advances since coming to prominence during the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the 19th century. More recently Manchester has become famed for its varied cultural output and the endeavours of its many professional sports teams.