About: History & Archives
150 Years of Advancing Science: A History of AAAS
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."
James McKeen Cattell, 1925