History of Science Society

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2007 HSS Conference in Washington, DC

The American History of Science Society (HSS) is the first specialist society for the scientific study of the history of science . The Society was originally founded in 1924 by George Sarton and Lawrence Joseph Henderson with the aim of promoting the publication of the journal Isis - a journal on the history of science that the science historian Sarton founded in 1912.

The society has over 3,000 members worldwide. It publishes the quarterly Isis and the annual journal Osiris . The society also holds a well-attended conference every year.

The current (2019/20) President of the HSS is Bernard Lightman (* 1950).

Awards and recognitions

The HSS sponsors two special lectures that are held annually:

  • The George Sarton Memorial Lecture , given at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1960 (with interruptions from 1973 to 1975) ,
  • The History of Science Society Distinguished Lecture (formerly the History of Science Society Lecture ), presented since 1981 at the plenary assembly of the annual HSS meeting

The HSS also awards numerous prizes:

  • The Nathan Reingold Prize , established in 1955, for an outstanding essay in the history of science by a student in postgraduate study
  • The George Sarton Medal , awarded since 1955, for outstanding achievements in the field of the history of science
  • The Pfizer Award (with a medal), established in 1958, for an outstanding book in the history of science
  • The Derek Price / Rod Webster Award (formerly the Zeitlin-Ver Brugge Prize ), established in 1978, for an outstanding article in Isis magazine
  • The Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize , established in 1985, for a textbook or popular science book
  • The Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize , first awarded in 1987, for outstanding work on the topic of women in science (the prize changes annually between book and article)
  • The Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize , established in 1998, for outstanding contributions to the teaching of the history of science
  • The Suzanne J. Levinson Prize , established in 2006, is awarded every two years for a work on the history of life sciences and natural history


  • Margaret W. Rossiter (Ed.): Catching Up with the Vision. Essays on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the History of Science Society. University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL 1999 (In: Isis , Supplement 90).

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