American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) is an organization dedicated to scholarship and the advancement of learning. It serves as a nationwide honor society for the United States.

Started in 1780, the Academy is an independent policy research center that conducts studies of complex problems. Its members are from the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs. It has a membership of 4,000 American Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members.[1]

Members through history

  • Early members included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Bulfinch, Alexander Hamilton, and John Quincy Adams.
  • In the 1800's, members included Daniel Webster, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John J. Audubon, Louis Agassiz, Asa Gray, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Alexander Graham Bell.
  • In the 1900's, members included A. A. Michelson, Percival Lowell, Alexander Agassiz, and, later, Charles Steinmetz, Charles Evans Hughes, Samuel Eliot Morison, Albert Einstein, Henry Lee Higginson, Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and Henry Cabot Lodge.
  • Foreign members included Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, John Singleton Copley, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Neils Bohr, Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Albert Schweitzer.[2]


According to its website, its goals are:[1]

  • "Promoting service and study through analysis of critical social and intellectual issues and the development of practical policy alternatives"
  • "Fostering public engagement and the exchange of ideas with meetings, conferences, and symposia bringing diverse perspectives to the examination of issues of common concern"
  • "Mentoring a new generation of scholars and thinkers through the Visiting Scholars Program and Hellman Fellowship Program"
  • "Honoring excellence by electing to membership men and women in a broad range of disciplines and professions"

University affiliates

52 colleges and universities collaborate with the Academy by participating in its studies on higher education and by helping to support its fellowships and outreach programs, for example: [3]



Not to be confused with

Contact details

136 Irving Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-576-5000
Fax: 617-576-5050
Email: aaas AT


  1. 1.0 1.1 About, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, accessed October 2010.
  2. History, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, accessed October 2010.
  3. University affiliates, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, accessed October 2010.
  4. Staff, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, accessed October 2010.

External resources