American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide

Company details

1200 New York Avenue NW , Washington , District of Columbia 20005 USA

Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Publishing / Media / Marketing
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:
1848

AAAS Mission

The AAAS seeks to 'advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.' To fulfill this mission, the AAAS Board has set the following broad goals:

  • Enhance communication among scientists, engineers, and the public
  • Promote and defend the integrity of science and its use
  • Strengthen support for the science and technology enterprise
  • Provide a voice for science on societal issues
  • Promote the responsible use of science in public policy
  • Strengthen and diversify the science and technology workforce
  • Foster education in science and technology for everyone
  • Increase public engagement with science and technology and
  • Advance international cooperation in science.

A Member-Focused Organization
The world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals, AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe. Membership is open to anyone who shares our goals and belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today. You can lend your support to our efforts on behalf of scientists, engineers, educators, and students everywhere by becoming a member. Together we can make a difference: Join Us

The formation of AAAS in 1848 marked the emergence of a national scientific community in the United States. While science was part of the American scene from the nation's early days, its practitioners remained few in number and scattered geographically and among disciplines. AAAS was the first permanent organization formed to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level and to represent the interests of all its disciplines.

Participants in AAAS meetings, held in cities across the country, represented a who's who of science. The meetings were covered widely by newspapers, which sometimes reprinted their proceedings verbatim.

However, AAAS's permanence was not preordained and, despite the many contributions it made during its first 50 years, the Association came close to extinction more than once. Ultimately, an alliance with Science magazine, which had failed as a private venture, rejuvenated both the magazine and AAAS.

Origins: 1848-1899

The formation of AAAS in 1848 marked the emergence of a national scientific community in the United States. While science was part of the American scene from the nation's early days, its practitioners remained few in number and scattered geographically and among disciplines. AAAS was the first permanent organization formed to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level and to represent the interests of all its disciplines. Participants in AAAS meetings, held in cities across the country, represented a who's who of science. The meetings were covered widely by newspapers, which sometimes reprinted their proceedings verbatim. However, AAAS's permanence was not preordained and, despite the many contributions it made during its first 50 years, the Association came close to extinction more than once. Ultimately, an alliance with Science magazine, which had failed as a private venture, rejuvenated both the magazine and AAAS.

'While science is without organization, it is without power.'AAAS and Science: 1900-1940

AAAS grew and changed in the first four decades of the 20th century as the American scientific enterprise began to take on its modern shape. Disciplinary societies, many of them spawned by AAAS, usurped many of the functions AAAS had formerly served, and the Association struggled to define itself as both a membership organization and an 'umbrella' for its disciplinary affiliates. Nonetheless, leading scientists of the era -- Thomas Hunt Morgan, Albert Einstein, and Edwin Hubble to name but three -- published in Science, presented their work at annual meetings, and in some cases received small grants or prizes from AAAS. The Association acquired its first permanent home, a suite in the Smithsonian Institution, and initiated its first programs in education and public understanding of science. It also sought, with varying degrees of success, to assert influence in national science policy, and, as the Great Depression deepened, to steer science toward greater social responsibility.

'The advancement of science should be the chief concern of a nation that would conserve and increase the welfare of its people.'

AAAS and the Maturing of American Science: 1941-1970

The Second World War brought vast changes in American science. AAAS responded, evolving from an organization primarily concerned with promoting communication among its members to one with a strong professional staff committed to the advancement of science and the relations between science and society. The postwar years saw many milestones for the Association: the acquisition of Science following the death of James Cattell; the construction of AAAS's own building; a new constitution; and the 1951 Arden House meeting, which laid the foundation for today's AAAS. The Association focused renewed attention and resources on science education. Scientific freedom became a major preoccupation as the Cold War intensified and McCarthyism reared its head. Out of the traditions and organizational culture established during the late 1940s and 1950s came AAAS's activism of subsequent decades on social issues such as racial justice, the environment, and the war in Vietnam.

'Science belongs to all the people.'

Change and Continuity: 1971 to the Present

Many of the activities for which AAAS is best known today emerged from initiatives taken since 1970. Drawing increasingly on support from foundations and federal agencies, the Association has built pioneering programs for bringing underrepresented groups into science; applying science to human rights; supporting the growth of science in the developing world; exploring issues of science, ethics, and law; tracking federal spending for R&D; and in bringing scientists and engineers to work in Congress and executive agencies of government. Project 2061 has taken on the ambitious task of reforming American science education from kindergarten to 12th grade. And Science has become the one of the world's most prestigious and widely-quoted scientific journals as well as a respected source of science news.

'...universities and scientists alike must find ways to influence and adjust to the political, organizational, and economic realities of America in transition.'