Of Honor and Honoring

by Robert T. Pennock | Apr 18, 2022


It has been an honor to serve as president of Sigma Xi for fiscal year 2022 and to carry its banner. During my term, I have often had occasion to explain what our Society is and what it does. I usually begin by mentioning its network of chapters and its tens of thousands of members . . . its Companions in Zealous Research. I speak of the Society’s deep historical roots and its unique mission of recognizing and advancing scientific excellence and integrity. I describe its 100 years of providing Grants in Aid of Research to science students; its mentoring, education, and ethics activities; its Distinguished Lectureships, Science Cafés, and other public outreach programs. And I always mention American Scientist, which continues to set the standard for science magazines.

What I mostly do, however, is try to emphasize what stands behind all these and many other programs—the scientific values that the Society was founded to encourage. The virtues of the scientific mindset are what animate us. These ideals and the many individuals who strive to embody them are what we seek to honor and to advance. It is in these terms that we can best express what is best in science and what we stand for. That is the message of our Society.

What does Sigma Xi do?
We honor…

The spirit of curiosity
The spirit of innovation

Those who wonder why
Those who wonder why not

The discoverers of what is
The makers of what may yet be

Noticing what others overlooked,
They seek a truer picture of the world

Rejecting pronouncements of authority,
They follow the evidence wherever it leads

Seeing failure as informative,
They test and troubleshoot

They investigate tirelessly,
With care and precision

To discover
To build

To better understand our world
And make our lives the better for it

What does Sigma Xi do?
We honor their spirit . . . the spirit of research.



RobertPennock's signature_ENHANCED

Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D.
Sigma Xi President

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