AAAS — the American Association for the Advancement of Science — is Science‘s publisher, and a leading voice for the interests of scientists worldwide. Founded in 1848, the association is the world’s largest general-science society; through its primary membership and its affiliations with some 262 scientific societies and academies, it serves 10 million individuals. The organization’s mission, simply stated, is to “advance science and serve society”. This it does not only through publication of Science, but through annual meetings, public outreach, activities to boost international scientific cooperation and sustainable development, policy advocacy, educational programs, press relations, and efforts to boost the public understanding of — and appreciation of — the scientific enterprise.
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.