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."
Alexander Dallas Bache, 1851