Science so permeates our lives today that it is easy to take its discoveries and achievements for granted. Its march seems inevitable, almost automatic. But science is by definition an exploration of the unknown. The way ahead is always uncharted.
Andrew Carnegie understood the unpredictable nature of scientific progress. His vision was to create an institution that exemplified the scientific enterprise. It would support individuals of exceptional ability and passion and give them the independence to pursue science in the entrepreneurial, risk-taking spirit that he saw as the key to advancing both American science and the human condition.
Carnegie’s “experiment” has been a resounding success. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has earned a reputation for world-class, paradigm-shifting scientific research. The high productivity of our scientists is due in large measure to the institution’s tradition of funding research internally, which allows scientists to explore novel concepts and tackle long-term projects without regard to current scientific fashion or the vagaries of external funding organizations.
Whether working as a member of an international team or as a pioneering individual, Carnegie scientists have made an outsized contribution in a remarkable array of fields.