Lowell Observatory has accepted an invitation from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to become an Affiliate of the Academy. The Observatory joins 65 other institutions that partner with the Academy by participating in its studies on science and technology, as well as on the Academy’s work in higher education, global security and international affairs, American institutions and the public good, and the current effort to promote science and research as a national imperative.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. It has more than 5,000 elected members who are leaders from around the globe.
As an Affiliate, Lowell Observatory will partner with the Academy and the nation’s other leading scientific, cultural, and academic institutions. The members of the Affiliates Program share a commitment to Academy projects and research designed to advance the common good in a variety of ways. This includes helping to extend the reach of reports like Restoring the Foundation, which offers actionable recommendations for the long-term sustainability of the U.S. science and engineering research system.
Affiliates also help foster constructive discussions about new projects like The Public Face of Science, an Academy initiative that is exploring the evolving relationship between scientists and the public. Affiliates can also submit proposals to the Academy’s Exploratory Fund, which supports experts who want to work with others to consider problems in a fresh way or to look over the horizon for issues and opportunities not well understood.
The Academy membership encompasses more 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members and reflects the full range of disciplines and professions: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts. Among the Academy members are more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Lowell Observatory founder Percival Lowell (1855-1916) was a member of the Academy, elected in 1892 for his early achievements in literature and the arts. A decade later, after he had established himself as a leader in astronomical research, his membership was moved to the mathematics and astronomy division of the Academy.
Lowell was one of numerous members of his illustrious family elected for membership into the Academy. Others of his direct lineage included brother Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856-1943), father Augustus Lowell (1839-1900), maternal grandfather Abbott Lawrence (1792-1855), paternal grandfather John Amory Lowell (1798-1881), and great grandfather John (1769-1840). Percival’s great-great grandfather John “The Old Judge” Lowell (1743-1802), joined the likes of John Adams, James Bowdoin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and 57 other as charter members of the Academy in 1780.
Other notable Lowell family members of the Academy have included poet James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) and classicist Michael Courtney Jenkins Putnam (born 1933), grand-nephew of Percival Lowell and former Sole Trustee of Lowell Observatory.