Mission and History

Society for Science is a champion for science, dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Established in 1921, the Society for Science is best known for its award-winning journalism through Science News and Science News Explores, its world-class science research competitions for students, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its outreach and equity programming that seeks to ensure that all students have an opportunity to pursue a career in STEM. 

A 501(c)(3) membership organization, Society for Science is committed to inform, educate and inspire.

Today, the Society provides concise, accurate, and inspirational science news and opportunities to our nearly 100,000 subscribing members, the 70,000 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 to better reflect the mission of the organization to advocate for science in the public interest.

In 2013, the Society began offering a joint membership and subscription 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 became Science News in 1966 and its online component launched in 1996. Now updated continually online, Science News attracts over 12 million unique viewers annually.
  • In 2003, Science Service launched Science News for Kids to specifically appeal to 9- to 14-year-olds. This free online publication provides science news to students, parents, and educators.
  • In 2013, Science News for Kids became 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, the nation’s oldest and most highly regarded science contest for high school seniors, first in partnership with Westinghouse, then with Intel 1998-2016, and now sponsored by Regeneron.
  • 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 International Science and Engineering Fair  (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. The Society continued the program in 2008 as the Society Middle School Program.
  • In 2010, with the generous support of Broadcom Foundation, the Society launched the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition for U.S. students in grades 6 to 8. In 2011, the Society launched Broadcom MASTERS International, which reaches middle school students across the world.
  • In 2009, with the generous support of Intel, the Society 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, the Society hosted The Future: Powered by Fiction, a science fiction competition for ages 13-25.
  • Also in 2013, the Society 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.