CASW's New Horizons in Science Comes Home to Cambridge

There’s a little-known piece of history that makes Cambridge an especially apt location for the 2015 New Horizons in Science briefing organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing as part of ScienceWriters2015. The very first New Horizons meeting in 1963 was held here, at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with support from MIT and Harvard.

That epic first briefing lasted five full days—from Monday, November 11 to Friday, November 15—and featured such luminaries of science and engineering as astrophysicist Fred Whipple, evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, Polaroid founder Edwin Land, and Bell Telephone Laboratories researcher Walter MacNair.

There was a whole day on “Molecules, Microscopy, and Medicine,” another on “Earth, Space and Atmosphere,” and one on “Science and the New Engineering” (attendees decamped to the MIT Faculty Club that day). Then followed a day on “Man in Evolution,” and a final day on “Biophysics, the Brain, and Learning.” You can download the full 1963 event program here.

An invitation-only group of 56 journalists showed up for the event. That list, too, contains some names that will be familiar to students of the history of science journalism, including Jules Bergman (ABC), Victor Cohn (The Minneapolis Tribune), Alton Blakeslee (The Associated Press), Hillier Krieghbaum (NYU), and Ian Menzies (The Boston Globe).

CASW shares the whole story on its website, where there’s also link to a speech about CASW's history and legacy by longtime executive director Ben Patrusky in 2010—the Council’s 50th anniversary. Here’s a video of that speech; Patrusky’s remarks start at minute 5.


Wade Roush

10 Museum Way, Cambridge, MA, 02141, United States

Science and technology journalist based in San Francisco.