I am proud to give you the scoop on some “science news”: Science Service next week becomes Society for Science & the Public (SSP).
The nonprofit organization Science Service was founded in 1921 to provide more and better information about the burgeoning world of scientific discovery. Science News—initially a mimeographed sheet known as The Science News-Letter—was the vehicle for disseminating news of research developments, initially to newspapers, then as a magazine available to the public by subscription.
In subsequent decades, both the magazine and the organization have grown. Science Service, in partnership with the Westinghouse Corporation, launched the Science Talent Search in 1942. Now the famous Intel Science Talent Search, our flagship education program is the world’s premier competition for high school seniors, whose alumni have won countless honors, including six Nobel prizes.
Under the leadership of Board Chair and Nobel laureate Dudley Herschbach, the organization determined that after nearly 9 decades it was time to reflect again on how we can serve our mission even more effectively. A distinguished volunteer commission of leaders in science, education, publishing, and management, chaired by former National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts, examined the venerable organization’s strengths and opportunities. The core of its findings was that now, more than ever, the voice of science must be heard clearly in public discourse. The first step is to adopt a new name that announces our purpose to advance public engagement in science.
SSP will continue to provide the “science services” that have earned the organization respect and renown for nearly 90 years. This includes a redoubling of our dedication to the excellence of Science News. To that end, we are working diligently to enhance Science News so that it continues to produce brief, credible news on a broad range of science in ways that attract an even greater audience. Our Editor in Chief, Tom Siegfried, and I are confident that the “new Science News” will reinforce your enthusiasm for the magazine, and that Science News will continue to be an essential vehicle to carry out SSP’s mandate to inform, educate, inspire.