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Mission and History

Society for Science & the Public (SSP) is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education. Our vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement: to inform, educate, and inspire.
Since 1921, SSP (formerly known as Science Service) has conveyed the excitement of science and research directly to the public through its award-winning publications and world-class science education competitions.
Today, SSP is dedicated to providing concise, accurate, and inspirational science news and opportunities to our nearly 100,000 subscribing members, the 50,000 alumni of our competitions worldwide, and millions of unique online visitors and social media followers.

Our History:

Edward W. Scripps, a renowned journalist, and William Emerson Ritter, a California zoologist, founded Science Service in 1921 with the goal of keeping the public informed of scientific achievements.
Scripps and Ritter accomplished their goal by distributing the latest science research to the public through a news service for reporters. In 1922, due to interest from non-journalists, Science Service started distributing Science News-Letter, which became a magazine in 1926. It quickly grew into a prime source of science news for libraries, schools, and individuals. In 1942, Science Service launched the first of its prestigious education competitions, the Science Talent Search.
In 2008, Science Service became Society for Science & the Public (SSP) in order to better reflect the mission of the organization to advocate for science in the public interest.
In 2013, SSP began offering an all-in-one membership and subscription offer that allows subscribers to access Science News in their preferred format and launched a new website that unifies our award-winning publications with our science education and competition programs.

Our Publications:

  • Science News-Letter was renamed Science News in 1966 and its online component was launched in 1996. Now updated continuously online, Science News attracts nearly eight million unique online viewers annually.
  • In 2003, Science Service launched Science News for Kids. This freely accessible online publication provides interactive interfaces and science news to students, parents, and educators, and is designed to appeal to ages 9 through 14.
  • In 2011, SSP launched Science News Prime, a new publication available on the iPad.
  • In 2013, Science News for Kids was renamed Science News for Students and additional educational content was added to the site to better reflect our increasing focus on providing resources aimed at classroom curricula.

Our Educational Competitions:

  • In 1942, Science Service launched the Science Talent Search (STS), the nation's oldest and most highly regarded science contest for high school seniors, first in partnership with Westinghouse, and sponsored by Intel since 1998.
  • In 1950, Science Service created the National Science Fair for high school winners of local and regional science fairs, first held in Philadelphia. In 1958, the fair became international for the first time when Japan, Canada, and Germany joined the competition. This annual fair has since grown into the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) with affiliated fairs in more than 75 countries, regions, and territories.
  • From 1999-2007, Science Service partnered with Discovery Communications, Inc. on the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. SSP continued the program in 2008 as the SSP Middle School Program.
  • In 2010, SSP launched the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition for U.S. 6th-8th grade students in partnership with the Broadcom Foundation.
  • In 2009, with the generous support of Intel, SSP launched its Fellowship Program providing funds and training to selected U.S. science and math teachers who serve under-resourced students, to enable interested and motivated students to perform high-quality independent scientific research.
  • In 2013, in collaboration with the Tomorrow Project, Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and the Intel Foundation, SSP hosted The Future: Powered by Fiction, a science fiction competition for ages 13-25.
  • Also in 2013, SSP partnered with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on the Science Play and Research Kit (SPARK): Reimagining the 21st Century Chemistry Set competition. This competition was seeking ideas that engage and inspire both children and adults to become more involved in hands-on science.

From the SSP Newsroom

Science News


Science News forStudents


Eureka! Lab