The History of Science Society is the world's largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in their historical context. Founded over seventy-five years ago, it is the oldest such society. Through its publications and other activities, the Society provides scholars, decisions makers and the public with historical perspectives on science policy and on the potentials, achievements, and the limitations of basic and applied science.

Anyone may join the History of Science Society. It has members in university, college, and high-school, departments of history and science, in museums of science and technology, in government agencies, in archives, libraries, and foundations, in the medical, scientific, and engineering professions, and among interested amateurs. Today it is both a learned society and a professional association serving over 3,700 individual members and institutions around the world.

Publications enable the Society to carry out its primary role of advancing research and teaching in the history of science. The Society was incorporated in 1924 to secure the future of Isis, the international review that George Sarton (1884-1956) founded in Belgium in 1912. The four quarterly issues of Isis each year contain editorials, scholarly articles, essay reviews, book reviews, research notes, documents, discussions, and news of the profession. The fifth number of each volume, the Isis Current Bibliography, lists over 3,500 publications in all aspects of the history of science. The Guide to the History of Science is issued periodically to all members of HSS. Since 1971, the Society has also circulated a quarterly Newsletter, which provides not only news of the Society, but also information on professional meetings, announcements of fellowships, prizes, and awards, a list of books received by Isis, and notices of employment opportunities. In 1985, the Society revived its research journal Osiris. Founded by George Sarton in 1936 as a companion to Isis, Osiris is now devoted to the thematic volumes on topics of wide interest to the history of science community. The Society also publishes or sponsors other research and teaching tools in the field such as the Isis Cumulative Bibliography, the Dictionary of Scientific Bibliography, and Topical Essays for Teachers.

The regular, formal set of communications is complemented by the Society's meetings. In recent years the annual meeting has involved eight concurrent sets of sessions, spread over two and a half days, on topics from ancient times to the present, from the pharmacopoeia of Galen to the politics of space science in the 1990s. The elected Council of the Society holds a regular sessions in conjunction with each annual meeting.

The Society is an international organization with nearly thirty-five percent of its regular members residing outside of the United States. It also represents North American historians of science in various ways: it fosters cooperation with government agencies and private foundations concerned with science and the role of science in society both directly and through affiliation with the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and its members serve on the U.S. National Committee of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science.

(Adapted from the 1992 Guide to the History of Science)

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