Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery. His intention was for Carnegie Science to be home to exceptional individualsmen and women with imagination and extraordinary dedication capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. Working in six scientific departments on the West and East Coasts, Carnegie investigators are leaders in the fields of plant biology, developmental biology, Earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology. They seek answers to questions about the structure of the universe, the formation of our solar system and other planetary systems, the behavior and transformation of matter when subjected to extreme conditions, the origin of life, the function of genes, and the development of organisms from single-celled egg to adult.
Andrew Carnegie established a unique organization dedicated to scientific discovery in the broadest and most liberal manner. The philosophy was and is to devote the institutions resources to exceptional individuals so that they can explore the most intriguing scientific questions in an atmosphere of complete freedom. Carnegie and his trustees realized that flexibility and freedom were essential to the institutions success and that tradition is the foundation of the institution today as it supports research in the Earth, space, and life sciences.