Day Zero: 1921 Toronto AAAS

Another 1921-2021 Centennial in the History of Canadian Science and Technology.

First posted Sunday, December 26, 2021 / Yom shishi, 22 Tevet, 5782.

By David Orenstein

This is the first blog post in a six-part series commemorating the centennial of the 1921 Toronto meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Monday, December 26, 1921:


In its morning edition for Monday, December 26, 1921, the Toronto Globe’s (the precursor of today’s Globe and Mail) front page announced: “EMINENT MEN TO VISIT CITY” for a “FOUR-DAY CONVENTION”, a “Great Gathering in Toronto of Scientists of This Continent”, noting the previous “Toronto Meeting took place the summer before the King’s College fire in 1890.”


U of T Mathematician John Charles Fields was chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, while another leading mathematician, Eliakam Hastings Moore was AAAS President, chairing all the plenary sessions.

While the overall framework and some of the programme highlights were provided by the Association’s Washington, D.C., headquarters and Fields and the Toronto Local [Organising] Committee, the bulk of the scientific programming had to come from the Sections themselves, their local representatives and their related societies. These sections ran from Section A Mathematics, through B Physics and D Astronomy, to finally N Medical Sciences and Q Education.

The strength of Canadian participation varied from Section to Section. For example, Section A Mathematics, meeting in Toronto with the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), was largely American. Section D Astronomy, with the American Astronomical Society (AAS) simultaneously meeting at Strathmore College, was predominantly Canadian, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) taking up most of the slack.

That afternoon the Secretaries of the various sections met with the Association’s General Secretary and Permanent Secretary. They discussed general AAAS problems.


In the evening the Secretaries dined together and then continued their meeting.



U of T 1921-1922 Calendar.


B) Overview in Nature, March 2022

C) 1921 Toronto AAAS Centennial Blog Posts:

Introducing the 1921-2021 Centennials, January 6, 2021.

Jennie A. Kinnear, October 8, 2021.

Happy 131st Birthday Jenny, December 12, 2021.

Fields and Friends as Architecture, December 17, 2021.

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