The Establishment of Science in America

150 Years of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

By Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Michael M. Sokal, and Bruce V. Lewenstein
Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould
Published by Rutgers University Press, 1999

establishment-of-science-156x223This book provides a comprehensive history of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest and most significant general organization of scientists in America, provides a unique window on the development of science in the United States during the past 150 years.

The Establishment of Science in America traces the evolution of the role of scientists in American society, public attitudes toward science, and the changing dimensions of the sponsorship of science and its participants. The essays by three distinguished authors connect the AAAS history to issues of continuing importance in American history, such as the integration of women and minority groups into mainstream professions and the role of expert knowledge in a democratic society.

The volume divides the history of the AAAS into three parts: Creating a Forum for Science in the Nineteenth Century; Promoting Science in a New Century: The Middle Years of the AAAS; and Shifting Science from People to Programs: AAAS in the Postwar Years.


“An illuminating examination of an indispensable institution.”—Charles Rosenberg, professor of the history of science, Harvard University

“For a century and a half, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has pursued the obligation of its title, serving both scientists and the public energetically, imaginatively, and effectively. Now Kohlstedt, Sokal, and Lewenstein have provided an engaging and informative overview of the AAAS’s development and activities. Their book, grounded in solid scholarship, is authoritative and illuminating, a welcome sesquicentennial history.”—Daniel J. Kevles, Stanley Woodward professor of history, Yale University

“The book coheres in its variety by subtly commingling the two great themes that make history both instructive and interesting: the flow of directional narrative to tell a story, and the persistence of general themes to grant coherence-or the arrows and cycles, the unique configurations and the immanent generalities of our standard and paired metaphors about time.”—from the foreword by Stephen Jay Gould


The Establishment of Science in America: 150 Years of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is available from Rutgers University Press.