Carnegie Institute of Washington DC

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No Pamphlet or Ticket


June 13th, 2009

Carnegie Institute of Washington DC, Washington, DC


     The Carnegie Institute of Washington DC (this is the admin office building) is located at:1530 P St NW Washington, DC 20250.   In 1901 Andrew Carnegie offered the federal government $10 million in bonds of the U.S. Steel Corporation as an endowment to finance the advancement of knowledge. His gift was declined, and he gave the money in 1902 to establish the private Carnegie Institution. In 1904 it received a congressional charter of incorporation and was renamed the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The wealthiest organization of its kind in the country, the institution was intended to encourage original research by providing opportunities to exceptional scholars and scientists. The trustees decided to accomplish this purpose by spending a small part of the institution's income on grants to individuals and the bulk of it on large, well-organized projects. Carnegie, pleased by this conception, added $2 million to the endowment in 1907 and another $10 million in 1911.

     Under presidents Daniel Coit Gilman (19021904) and Robert S. Woodward (19041920), the institution created ten major departments in various fields of the physical and biological sciences as well as in history, economics, and sociology. Under presidents John C. Merriam (19201938), Vannevar Bush (19391956), Caryl P. Haskins (19561971), and Philip Abelson, the emphasis on large projects remained the standard policy of the institution, the last vestiges of the program of grants to individuals having been eliminated during Bush's tenure.

     The ten departments evolved into six in different parts of the country, each distinguished in its field: the Mount Wilson Observatory; the Geophysical Laboratory; the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism; the Division of Plant Biology; the Department of Embryology; and the Department of Genetics. The facilities of the institution were mobilized for defense research in both world wars. After World War II the institution's administration chose to avoid major financing by federal grants and, receiving a New capital gift of $10 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the institution continued to operate almost wholly on income from endowment.

     By the end of the twentieth century, the institution dedicated most of its expenditures to research carried on by employees in its own departments, although it also sponsored research programs at both predoctoral and postdoctoral levels for upcoming scholars. Through programs such as First Light, a Saturday school that teaches science to elementary school students, and the Carnegie Academy for Science Education, a summer school catering to elementary-school science teachers, the institution also promoted its program for science research and education to a broader audience. [Dictionary of American History]

     I don't think you can just go into this building, but you might call or drop by and ask if you are not shy.

     Left to Right: 1) Carnegie Institute of Washington DC



Carnegie Endowment of International Peace

Carnegie Institute of Science

Carnegie Institute of Geophysics

Carnegie Institute Department of Terrestrial Magnetism

Carnegie Institute of Plant Biology

Carnegie Institute Observatories

Carnegie Institute of Integrative Medicine

Carnegie Institute of Embryology

Carnegie Department of Global Ecology

Carnegie Museum of Art

Carnegie Institute of Astrobiology

Carnegie Institute of Technology


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