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Sigma Xi Programs History

The following is a list of previous Sigma Xi programs dating back to 1980. The Society continues an active slate of programs that can be viewed at Sigma Xi Programs

Education Chapter Grants & Awards
Ethics Media Programs
Advocacy Cooperative Programs
Diversity Teleconferences
Forums Centennial Activities


  • 2009 - Engineer-in-Training for High School Students

  • Pan-Organizational Summit on the U.S. Science & Engineering Workforce

  • Sigma Xi Chapter-Based Program to Catalyze Institutional Adoption of Innovative Science and Engineering Teaching Practices for All Students. A development grant from NFS (DUE-9950127) in 1999-2001 that enabled Sigma Xi to support part of its November 1999 forum on undergraduate education reform, to produce two pilot workshops in spring 2000 on undergraduate education reform at North Carolina State University and California State University at Long Beach, and to engage 16 chapters in beginning undergraduate education reform within their institutions.
  • Reshaping Undergraduate Science and Engineering Education: Tools for Better Learning, a November 1999 forum in Minneapolis supported by NSF, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, Cisco Systems Inc., and Sigma Xi. Scholars, researchers, students, teachers, policy makers, and leaders of the scientific and engineering communities explored new approaches to inquiry-based learning for improving undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The forum proceedings was widely distributed within the scientific and educational communities.
  • Town Meeting Teleconference on Undergraduate Education (1997). Videoconference, supported by NSF, led by Bob Watson (NSF) and Melvin George (Chair of the Advisory Committee to NSF) on the NSF report "Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology" downlinked to 120 chapter host sites. Edited videotape available to chapters.
  • National Convocation on Science and Engineering Doctoral Education (1996). Sigma Xi as co-sponsor of conference at the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Visualization Technologies in Environmental Curricula (1994-97). NSF grant to Sigma Xi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the North Carolina Supercomputing Center with the Society as the coordinator of the project. Representatives from the institutions worked together on a three-year project to develop environmental modules using computer technology for implementation in undergraduate classrooms.
  • Scientists, Educators, and National Standards: Action at the Local Level, an April 1994 forum in Atlanta, supported by NSF, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Office of Army Research, Abbott Laboratories, the Coca-Cola Foundation, Cray Research Foundation, the General Electric Foundation, and Sigma Xi. Scientists and teachers exchanged information and ideas and explored how they can interact in long-term partnerships to improve the teaching of science in grades K-12. Three publications from the forum were widely disseminated and are still being requested to date: The forum proceedings, Scientists, Educators, and National Standards: Action at the Local Level, and two small, easy-to-read booklets Partners in K-12 Science Education Reform, and Systemic Reform in K-12 Science Education.
  • Reinventing the Research University (1994). Conference sponsored by Sigma Xi and UCLA at the UCLA campus with support from the AT&T Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. Report of conference distributed to chapters and others.
  • New Perspectives on Environmental Education and Research, a 1992 conference sponsored by Sigma Xi, NASA, Duke University, the University of Michigan, John and Libby Morse, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University on the role of universities in helping society to face the environmental challenges that lie ahead. The report of this conference was widely distributed by Sigma Xi.
  • Wingspread Education Conference (1990). Follow-up to the 1989 conference with same sponsors and Anna Harrison as Chair of the meeting that addressed introductory courses in science, mathematics, and engineering. Report of the conference, Entry-Level Courses in Science, Mathematics and Engineering: An Investment in Human Resources was again widely distributed and well received.
  • National Advisory Group Workshop (1989). Advisory group convened at Wingspread Conference Center in January 1989 with support from NSF and the Johnson Foundation. Conference chaired by Anna Harrison, Chair of Sigma Xi's Committee on Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education. Report of the conference, An Exploration of the Nature and Quality of Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics and Engineering was widely distributed and well received in both the science and education communities.
  • The Natural Sciences Sequence at the University of Chicago, written by Dr. Michael LaBarbera and produced by Sigma Xi and the Joyce Foundation in 1989. The book describes an integrated, two year sequence course at the University of Chicago for students majoring in subjects outside the natural sciences as an example of a possible course sequence that might be adapted by other colleges and universities. The book received wide distribution within the scientific and educational communities.
  • Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education Grants (1985 - ). Grants to chapters (up to $1,000) to support K-16 educational programs.
  • International Science and Engineering Fair (1983-). Sigma Xi participates in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair in the Special Awards Category by giving 3 awards for the best interdisciplinary team projects at the Fair. Local chapter members serve as judges for the awards on the Society's behalf.
  • Teacher Awards (1970's -). Plaque or certificate and $25 to teacher selected by a chapter for outstanding teaching of science or math.
  • Annual meeting workshops. Each year at the Society's annual meeting, one or more workshops are held for chapter delegates on a variety of educational topics and opportunities for Sigma Xi chapters to become involved in various aspects of educational reform at the K-16 level.

  • Pilot Program for National Dissemination of Instructional Materials on Ethical Issues in Science. (August 1, 2000 - July 31, 2001). Grant from NSF (SES-0080712) for a pilot program to develop and disseminate materials on ethical issues in science through the Society's chapters. 6 chapters (out of 17 who applied) have been selected to receive small grants to assist their local programs on ethical issues in science.
  • New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology (2000). A Sigma Xi forum in November 2000 in Albuquerque, New Mexico supported by the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, NSF, Sandia Corporation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Agency. Over 300 participants addressed a variety of ethical issues involving scientific and engineering research including university/industrial partnerships, conflicts of interest, ownership of intellectual property, and mentoring of students. The forum proceedings will be published and distributed to a wide audience.
  • Ethical Challenges and Practical Solutions for Managers in Research (1999). Conference in Albuquerque sponsored by Sigma Xi and the U.S. Health Service's Office of Research Integrity. Report of conference produced and distributed to chapters and others.
  • The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls (1999). Published by Sigma Xi in 1999, this booklet serves as an adjunct to "Honor in Science" by addressing many new areas of ethical conduct that were not addressed in the earlier publication. Sigma Xi continues to receive orders for this latest booklet.
  • Ethics, Values, and the Promise of Science (1993). A Sigma Xi forum in February 1993 in San Francisco supported by Abbott Laboratories, The Bechtel Foundation, Carolina Power & Light Company, Ciba-Geigy Corporation, Corning Incorporated, The Electric Power Research Institute, The General Electric Foundation, Glaxo Foundation, The Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust, Monsanto Company, Office of Naval Research, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Texaco Inc., U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and The Weingart Foundation. Over 300 participants identified and discussed important issues relating to ethics in research that are critical to the success of the research enterprise. The forum proceedings was distributed widely within the research community and to other interested individuals and organizations.
  • Honor in Science (1984). First published by Sigma Xi in 1984, this booklet is a basic primer on ethics in science designed primarily for students. Now in its 7th printing, nearly 90,000 copies of the booklet have been sold.
  • Workshops at annual meetings. Since 1984, Sigma Xi has hosted annual workshops at its annual meeting for chapter delegates on ethical issues in science, including opportunities for chapter involvement in ethical programs.

  • Science Polling (2000-). In cooperation with ResearchAmerica!, Sigma Xi has polled its members in 4 states on issues involving science and society and the results compared with polls of the general public on the same issues. The polling process will continue in other states. Results of these polls will be used by Sigma Xi to inform its chapters of the views of scientists and the public for their advocacy programs with local, state, and federal legislatures.
  • Michigan Initiative. (1999-). The chapters in Michigan visit members of Congress in their home offices to discuss the importance of research in the United States, particularly to the U.S. and state economies. These highly-successful visits are being replicated by the chapters in Illinois.
  • Improving Government Decision-Making in Science and Technology (1994). Meeting in February 1994 sponsored by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government at the Wingspread Conference Center. Recommendations in report addressed how to improve the effectiveness of non-governmental in providing scientific and technical advice to government. report of conference circulated to chapters and others.
  • Non-Governmental Organization Meeting (1993). Meeting of 86 selected representatives in March 1993 in Washington, DC to discuss how to improve the advice of non-governmental organizations to government. Supported by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. Report of conference printed and distributed to chapters and others.
  • Use of Animals in Research (1990-92). Chapters asked for views on the use of animals in research. Responses included with results of workshops at 1990 and 1991 annual meetings, and with an advisory group, in a report issued in 1992 by Sigma Xi.
  • Comment on Proposed Federal regulations (1990). The DOE/NRC Chapter advised Sigma Xi of proposed new ethics regulations that would affect federal employees. Proposed rule was circulated to 28 chapters at federal institutions and their comments incorporated into a brief report that was forwarded to the appropriate federal agency.
  • Advice to Congress (1990). Representative Tim Valentine (D-NC), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology requested assistance on new ideas and identification of issues that were critical and significant in the Subcommittee's jurisdiction. Chapter responses were condensed into a final report to the Subcommittee.
  • Advice to NSF (1990). Sigma Xi asked by Assistant Director for the Biological, Behavioral and Social Sciences at NSF for input on how the Directorate should be restructured. Chapter responses condensed into a report to NSF and NSF's final action was consistent with the Society's recommendations.
  • A New Agenda For Science (1986). Views of chapters solicited on what the agenda for science should be in the latter part of the 20th Century that culminated in the October 1986 annual meeting at the National Academy of Sciences. Booklet on project written and distributed.

  • 1999 Annual Meeting. Sigma Xi's Committee on Diversity provided a mentoring program for underrepresented students to be matched with Sigma Xi delegates for the meeting workshops and program. The program will be repeated for the November 2001 meeting.
  • Workshops at the annual meeting. Since 1991, each year the Society's Committee on Diversity hosts one or more workshops for chapter delegates on diversity issues and how to increase the diversity of membership in science and in the Society.


Each year since 1991, Sigma Xi sponsors a two-day forum that immediately precedes its annual meeting on topics at the intersection of science and society. With support from a number of public and private foundations, these forums normally attract 300-500 scientists and other interested individuals. A proceedings volume is published by Sigma Xi for each forum and distributed widely to participants and other interested organizations and individuals. The forum topics have been:

  • Science, the Arts and the Humanities: Connections and Collisions - Raleigh, NC, 2001.
  • New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology - Albuquerque, NM, 2000.
  • Reshaping Undergraduate Science and Engineering Education: Tools for Better Learning - Minneapolis, 1999.
  • International Cooperation in Science and Technology - Vancouver, BC, 1998.
  • Trends in Industrial Innovation: Industry Perspectives and Policy Implications - Washington, DC, 1997.
  • Science, Technology, and the Global Society - San Diego, 1996.
  • Vannevar Bush II: Science for the 21st Century - Research Triangle Park, NC, 1995.
  • Scientists, Educators, and the National Standards: Action at the Local Level - Atlanta, 1994.
  • Ethics, Values, and the Promise of Science - San Francisco, 1993.
  • Global Change and the Human Prospect: Issues in Population, Science, Technology, and Equity - Washington, DC, 1991.

Chapter Grants & Awards
  • American Scientist Overseas (1984-92). Chapters could designate up to 3 individuals/institutions/libraries overseas to receive a subscription to the magazine provided the chapter paid the shipping costs.
  • Science and Society Regional Grants (1984-88). Grants up to $1,500 for 2 or more chapters to cooperate in sponsoring science and society activities.
  • Science and Society Grants (1982-92). Grants to chapters for science and society activities ($1,000 maximum) by the former Committee on Science and Society.

Media Programs
  • Gertrude Elion Documentary (1999). A documentary on Gertrude Elion "The Living Legacy of Gertrude Elion" produced by Bella International Productions under the auspices of Sigma Xi and supported by The Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, The Wellcome Trust, Glaxo Wellcome Inc., The Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, and the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.
  • Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America (1996). Sigma Xi underwrote the broadcast by Maryland Public Television on the series which profiled 20 contemporary African-American, Latino, and Native American scientists and engineers.
  • Connecticut Public Radio (1984-87). Society sponsored a series of 30 minute programs in which scientists were interviewed about their work. Programs were made available to member stations on National Public Radio Network. Audiotapes of the programs were available to chapters and members.
  • Synthesis Project (1983-86). Co-sponsored with KPBS-TV in San Diego 3 series of television documentaries on public policy issues that involve science and technology, such as the "Nisei Legacy," "Creation vs Evolution: Battle in the Classroom," and "The Arctic's TV Generation." After showing on public television, the videotapes were available to chapters.

Cooperative Programs
  • Industrial Research Institute (IRI) (1997-1999). Sigma Xi and IRI cooperative program for chapters to apply to host an IRI Visiting Scientist/Engineer on their campuses with support for the visit from IRI.
  • Presidential Classroom (1997-). Chapters offered the opportunity to participate in the Presidential Classroom Program via collaboration between Sigma Xi and the Presidential Classroom Program.
  • Kettering Program (1985-88). Cooperative program with the Domestic Policy Association of the Kettering Foundation, the Johnson Foundation, and the National Council for the Social Studies involving national town meetings throughout the United States on science and society topics, such as acid rain, energy, genetic technology. The year-long local meetings culminated in a nationwide teleconference involving the local sites. Chapters were invited to cooperate in hosting the project and materials for each project were made available for chapters in their programming.
  • National Regional Events Program (1984-88). Cooperative program with the Smithsonian Institution where chapters worked with the Smithsonian to bring workshops, speakers, etc. on science topics to about 20 cities per year.
  • Sidney Harris Explores the Light Side of Science (1983-88). Sigma Xi and the New York Hall of Science sponsored a traveling exhibit of cartoons by Sidney Harris that was available for chapters to use for the cost of transportation of the exhibit.

  • Town Meeting on Science, Technology, and Society (1996). Teleconference, supported by NSF, downlinked to 50 sites on the allocation of federal funds for science and technology with Frank Press as host. Edited videotape of teleconference available to chapters.
  • Current Issues in Scientific Research (1995). November 1995 teleconference, supported by NSF, with Neal Lane and panel that was downlinked to 92 chapter host sites. Edited videotape of teleconference available to chapters.
  • Teleconference with Neal Lane (1995). Town meeting, supported by NSF, with Neal Lane (Director, NSF) downlinked to 13 North Carolina chapters who hosted the downlink sites.
  • Forum on Global Change (1989). Teleconference on Forum on Global Change and Our Common Future downlinked to 52 chapters Sponsored by Sigma Xi, Smithsonian Institution, national Academy of Sciences, NSF, and AAAS.
  • Teleconference on Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (1985). Sigma Xi and Department of Energy teleconference to 58 chapters (3,000 participants) on 19 September 1985 on the global aspects of increasing carbon dioxide. Edited videotape made available to chapters.

Centennial Activities
  • Centennial Lectures. 45 public lectures given by 11 distinguished speakers with local chapters as hosts. Project supported by 20 foundations and corporations.
  • Centennial Grants to Chapters. Grants to chapters to support their local chapter activities during Centennial Year. 76 chapters received $36,577 in support.


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