EW Scripps, Science Fair Inventor

Most people know of EW Scripps as a man that was heavily involved in the newspaper industry of the United States, but there are many other sides of the man that remain largely overshadowed by his print work. Namely, his involvement and support of the sciences has had a lasting effect in the country and one that has been experienced by nearly every American student. As the inventor of the science fair in local schools, EW Scripps is responsible for this middle and high school rite of passage when students create science projects for the school competition. In the beginning of the science fair tradition, the goal was mere promotion of the sciences and there was not a competition aspect to the annual event. Of course, this has changed over the years and some science fairs, such as the Google Science Fair, award such high prizes as $50,000 scholarships and vacation trips to important scientific locations.

Another way that EW Scripps has tried to push science to the forefront of the public attention is with his creation of the Science Service. This non profit organization was later renamed as the Society for Science and the Public and has continued to serve the public since the year of 1921. Along with his sister, Ellen, Scripps also founded the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a research center for all sorts of projects that are related to the science of the ocean. These scientific concerns may be hidden under the hype of his career as a newspaper publisher, but bear mentioning in any account of EW Scripps. While Scripps thought that science was of extreme importance, he also believed that many of his scientific endeavors would not survive. This is because he felt that the scientists would be unable to see the ventures like a business and would ultimately fail.