What we're about

PSW Science (http://www.pswscience.org) is a leading science education organization in Washington, DC. Founded in 1871 as the Philosophical Society of Washington®, PSW Science® brings speakers from around the world to present the latest scientific research to the Society’s members and interested members of the public. For almost 150 years, the Society has been a forum for the discussion of the scientific topics of the day, of interest to all educated men and women, and the Society proudly continues that tradition to the present. Membership in the Society is open to anyone interested in science and the purposes of the Society.

PSW Science events – meetings with an invited speaker – generally are held every other Friday from September to May. Meetings are held in the John Wesley Powell Auditorium of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. The Society hosts a dinner with the speaker before the meeting to which PSW Science members are invited. The meetings are open to the public, free of charge, and reservations are not required. Dress is casual. Meetings are live-streamed via the PSW Science YouTube channel, and videos of the meetings are posted to the PSW Science website. Following the meeting, attendees enjoy refreshments during the “social hour” and informal discussion with the speaker and other members. Thereafter, PSW Science members are invited to attend the “after party,” a small informal gathering at another location, to continue the conversation with the speaker.

PSW, PSW SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON, and the blue globe logo are registered trademarks of PSW Science. PSW SCIENCE FOUNDED 1871 and the PSW Science rosette are trademarks of PSW Science.

Upcoming events (3)

Vaccines to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club

Join PSW Science® on April 26th at 8 PM as we welcome Kim Janda, a chemist from The Scripps Research Institute. Kim will discuss how vaccination can alter the pharmacokinetic properties of opioids without untoward side effects. It will detail the chemistry, immunology and behavioral findings from the most recent vaccines against opioids that we have developed, including those against heroin, the fentanyls, oxy/hydrocodone and mitragynine. The lecture will be held at The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. This event is free and open to curious minds! The entrance to the Powell Auditorium is through the Cosmos Club parking lot at the corner of Massachusetts and Florida Avenues. Note: There is NO onsite parking. If you cannot attend in person, please join us via livestream: https://youtu.be/P9mO428Uq2M For more information, please see the meeting website: https://pswscience.org/meeting/drug-abuse-vaccines-against-drugs-of-abus/

A Planet Definition Debate (SPECIAL EVENT!)

The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club

Join PSW Science® as we welcome Alan Stern (PI New Horizons Mission) and Ron Ekers (Past President IAU). Alan and Ron will have a friendly discussion on the definition of a planet and Pluto's classification in our solar system. Please note lecture will be held on Monday, April 29th at 8 PM in the Powell Auditorium. Alan Stern's lecture will describe scientific issues involved in deciding on a definition for the term “planet,” stressing the value of data developed since the 1990s that planetary types are more diverse than had been imagined. The lecture will describe a proposed new formal definition, the Geophysical Planet Definition (GPD), according to which “A planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape adequately described by a triaxial ellipsoid regardless of its orbital parameters.” The lecture will explain why planetary scientists created the GPD, its advantages in classifying planetary bodies, and why it is superior to the definition adopted not long ago by the IAU that classifies some planetary bodies, such as Pluto, not as “Planets” but as Dwarf Planets. The lecture will also touch on flaws in the way the IAU’s planet definition was established and why voting is not an appropriate method for making scientific decisions, such as categorization. Ron Ekers will explain how the IAU came to its definition of the class of dwarf planets which includes Pluto and why International Organizations have a key role to play when making decisions on scientific nomenclature. Agreeing on names and conventions is a necessary part of international science communications, although it is not itself a science. New discoveries made it clear that there is a new class of objects in the solar system known as the Trans Neptunium Objects (TNOs). It is now also clear that Pluto is very much smaller than originally thought and is similar to this new class of TNOs but quite different from the other “classical” planets. When International Scientific Unions make decisions they include the views of representatives from all Nations and from all areas of science and that is why the IAU definition includes dynamical as well as Geophysical aspects. The John Wesley Powell Auditorium is adjacent to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. This event is free and open to curious minds! The entrance to the Powell Auditorium is through the Cosmos Club parking lot at the corner of Massachusetts and Florida Avenues. Note: There is NO onsite parking. If you are unable to attend the event in person, feel free to join our live stream starting at 8 PM: https://youtu.be/3AFtgZP6Aa8 For more information, please see the meeting website: https://pswscience.org/meeting/is-pluto-a-planet/

The Big Bang and Inflation

The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club

Join PSW Science® on May 17th at 8 PM as we welcome Brian Keating, Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences, University of California at San Diego to give the 88th Joseph Henry lecture. This lecture will discuss the experimental and theoretical underpinnings that allow physicists to detect and analyze signals from the beginning of the universe. And it will present the scientific, technological and personal journey of the speaker beginning with the BICEP project at the South Pole up to the most ambitious CMB project ever designed – The Simons Observatory. It will also discuss the Simons Observatory in depth, a new cosmic microwave background experiment being built in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, due to begin observations in 2022. The lecture will be held at The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. This event is free and open to curious minds! The entrance to the Powell Auditorium is through the Cosmos Club parking lot at the corner of Massachusetts and Florida Avenues. Note: There is NO onsite parking. If you are unable to attend the event in person, feel free to join our live stream starting at 8 PM: https://youtu.be/UqeZSuHBHw0 For more information, please see the meeting website: https://pswscience.org/meeting/beginning-of-all-things/

Past events (111)

Understanding Dark Matter

The John Wesley Powell Auditorium, adjacent to the Cosmos Club

Photos (25)