Society for Science & the Public

Society for Science & the Public (SSP), formerly known as Science Service, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of science, through its science education programs and publications, including the bi-weekly Science News magazine and the free-accessible online Science News for Students.

Society for Science & the Public
MottoInform. Educate. Inspire.
FounderEdward W. Scripps
William Emerson Ritter
Type501(c)3 Non-profit
ProductsScience News
Science News for Students
Key people
Maya Ajmera, President and CEO
H. Robert Horvitz, Chairman of the Board
$17.1 million (2010)[2]
Endowment$96.7 million (2010)[2]
Formerly called
Science Service

The organization has headquarters in Washington, D.C. It promotes the understanding and appreciation of science and the role it plays in human advancement.[4] In pursuit of this goal, it publishes Science News and Science News for Students, and sponsors events including the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the Regeneron Science Talent Search, and the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition.[5]


SSP was founded in 1921 by journalist Edward W. Scripps and zoologist William Emerson Ritter, under the name "Science Service", with the goal of informing the public of the latest scientific discoveries and achievements.[7][4] The Science Service emerged from a reorganization of a group that Scripps and Ritter had originally founded in 1919 as the American Society for the Dissemination of Science.[7]

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 Westinghouse 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.

Between the World Wars, Science Service sponsored Science Clubs of America, founded by Watson Davis, a national organization to popularize science among amateur scientists. High school science clubs were encouraged to join.[8]

From 1940 through 1989, Science Service sponsored the Things of Science Club. Subscribers received a monthly box containing some kind or material or artifact along with an pamphlet describing experiments that could be done with it. Sometimes the kits contained parts which could be assembled into a scientific instrument.[9]

Beginning in 2003, it published Science News for Kids, an online magazine aimed at students, and also at teachers and parents


  1. "About Society for Science and the Public," Society for Science and the Public. Accessed: January 30, 2013.
  2. "Society for Science & the Public," Charity Navigator. Accessed: January 30, 2013.
  3. "About Us," Society for Science and the Public. Accessed: January 30, 2013.
  4. "Mission & History". Society for Science & the Public. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  5. The Broadcom MASTERS, Society for Science and the Public.
  6. "Emma Reh (1896-1982)". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  7. Tobey, Ronald C. (1971). The American Ideology of National Science, 1919-1930. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 9780822975946. pp. 66-70.
  8. "News and Views: Science Clubs of America". Nature. 148 (3759): 590. 15 November 1941. doi:10.1038/148590a0.
  9. Othman, Frederick C. (October 7, 1947). "Thing-of-the-Month Club will provide remarkable objects". San Jose Evening News. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
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