In Franklin's Footsteps: 275 Years at the American Philosophical Society

For 275 years, the American Philosophical Society (APS) and its Members have changed the world. The Society’s mission of “promoting useful knowledge” has led to important advancements in science, technology, and the humanities.

In 1743, Benjamin Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s first learned society. Franklin proposed that “ingenious Men residing in the several colonies” be elected as Members of the Society. Members were to pursue “all philosophical Experiments that let Light into the Nature of Things, tend to increase the Power of Man over Matter, and multiply the Conveniencies or Pleasures of Life.”

Since 1743, APS Members have continued Franklin’s Enlightenment mission. They calculated the size of the solar system, explored distant lands, shed light on the origins of life, unearthed ancient fossils, invented computer technologies, cured diseases, and walked on the moon.

Today, the APS continues to recognize and support the extraordinary achievements of its Members.