Mission and History

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

To learn more about our community and the many benefits of membership, visit our member portal: MemberCentral

History of AAAS

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.