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The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.

James Bowdoin, John Adams, and John Hancock founded the Academy in Boston during the American Revolution. Their objective, as stated in its charter, was to "cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." They were joined by Robert Treat Paine and 58 local community leaders to charter the organization in 1780. Other prominent men soon joined, and early members included Benjamin Franklin (whose American Philosophical Societymarker in Philadelphiamarker provided a spur to the Boston leaders to create a more politically oriented society), George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. The Academy has about 200 Nobel Laureates on its membership roll.

The modern academy is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker. It sponsors conferences, organizes research projects, and publishes a quarterly journal, Dædalus. As of 2009, the Academy has 4,000 fellows and about 600 foreign honorary members. Throughout the year, members are invited to regularly scheduled talks and meetings in Cambridge and around the country.

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