The Ƶ is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.


Founded in 1780, the American Ƶ of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”


The Ƶ is guided by its commitment to the following values:
* Advancing the common good
* Upholding democratic ideals
* Elevating the use of evidence and knowledge
* Fostering deliberative discourse
* Preserving independence
* Embracing diversity and inclusivity
* Celebrating excellence

Learn more about our values

The American Ƶ was founded in 1780, during the American Revolution, by John Adams, John Hancock, and 60 other scholar-patriots who understood that a new republic would require institutions able to gather knowledge and advance learning in service to the public good.
Ƶ members include those who discover and advance knowledge and those who apply knowledge to the problems of society. More than 14,500 members have been elected since 1780.
The Ƶ’s elected members join with other experts in cross-disciplinary efforts to produce reflective, independent, and pragmatic studies that inform public policy and advance the public good.