Topic: Science & Innovation

Laboratories, Talent, and New Technology: the Rockefeller Foundation and the Physical Sciences

One philanthropy invested in scientists and pushed the atomic age forward.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Birth of Molecular Biology

A new program in the natural sciences increased funding and attention to the life sciences, and coined a new term along the way.

The Rockefeller Foundation Makes its First Foray into Environmentalism

A short-lived environmental research program in the 1970s was an early foray into climate change funding.

Early 20th Century Reforms of Medical Education Worldwide

Working to change US medical education was one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s biggest endeavors in the 1910s and 1920s, extending from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to Beijing, China.

Building the Hale Telescope

A 20-year-long project, funded by Rockefeller philanthropies, took technologies enabling astronomy to an unprecedented scale.

“For Initiative and for Experiment”: The International Education Board, 1923-1938

Incorporated in 1923 with funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the IEB built a major scientific network in Europe and the US in only five years.

Rockefeller Foundation Support for Communications Media in the 1930s and 1940s

The mid-20th century was an era influenced by mass communications, and a handful of philanthropic programs sought to tap into the possibilities of film and radio.

“A Roomful of Brains”: Early Advances in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

At midcentury, Rockefeller Foundation staffers hoped new technologies might find solutions to complex problems.

The Birth of International Agricultural Research Institutes in the Mid-20th Century

Rockefeller Foundation agriculture programs begun in Mexico achieved global reach through four major research institutes. Building them was the result of partnership.

Rockefeller Philanthropy and Population-Related Fields

As the scarcity of global resources became increasingly worrisome in the 20th century, these organizations more boldly approached work in population and family planning.