About the History of Science Society Executive Office...


The Executive Office emerged as part of Professor Gerald Holton's drive to establish an endowment for the History of Science Society. Professor Holton of Harvard University, with the active assistance of then-HSS President William Coleman, was well aware that foundations and philanthropic agencies do not look favorably upon organizations that lack permanent governing and institutionalized structures. His plan was realized when Professor Michael Sokal of Worcester Polytechnic Institute was elected to the new position of Executive Secretary in 1988. From that time through 1992, Professor Sokal threw himself selflessly and tirelessly into the task of organizing and centralizing the operations of the Society.

His successor, Professor Keith R. Benson of the University of Washington, was elected in 1993 for a five-year term. Operations for the Executive Office moved to Seattle with the beginning of Professor Benson's tenure. In 1998, the Society hired its first Executive Director, Robert Jay Malone. The new director assumed many of the responsibilities that had been so ably shouldered by Keith Benson. The position of Executive Secretary was subsequently changed to "Secretary" and Professor Benson generously agreed to a two-year term in this new position, serving until 12/31/00. He was succeeded by Professor Margaret J. Osler of the University of Calgary. The office in Seattle is staffed by a full-time information manager, Roger Turner, and two graduate student assistants Gail Alexander and Chris Pearson, who are both research assistants for the 2001-2002 academic year. All assist Dr. Malone with the daily tasks of running a growing and dynamic organization.

Caffeine Molecule The office is an extremely busy one. In addition to handling the on-going activities of HSS committees, the office routinely handles approximately forty daily requests for information, ranging from queries about joining HSS to information about the Medicean planets. The Office has initiated several new activities during the past few years including the following: HSS "Sponsor-a-Scholar" project; HSS travel grants and reservations; handling the registration for the annual Society meeting and the preparation of the program; and serving as the home for Society publications, including a variety of guides and reference materials. Immediate plans include publishing an annual HSS Guide (members-only), preparing an HSS Operations Manual, and centralizing the bureaucratic aspects of the annual meeting within the Executive Office.

HSS is not a small society. In membership , it ranks in the top 25% of the constituent societies in the American Council of Learned Societies. The annual operations budget approaches a half million dollars and the endowment is rapidly growing to $3.0 million. The steady growth of the society mandates that the Executive Office continue to meet these challenges.

For additional information about HSS or the Executive Office, please call 206-543-9366 during regular business hours, Pacific Coast time or write to us via email at hssexec@u.washington.edu. Our mailing address is:

History of Science Society Executive Office
University of Washington
Box 351330
Seattle, WA 98195-1330.


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