[photo, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., Baltimore, Maryland]

The Maryland Academy of Sciences, forerunner of the Maryland Science Center, formed in Baltimore in 1797, making it one of the oldest science institutions in the country.

Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., Baltimore, Maryland, June 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Peale Museum and Kurt L. Schmoke Conference Center, 225 North Holliday St., Baltimore, Maryland] Opened in 1814, the Peale Museum, in Baltimore, was the first museum building in the nation. Under Rembrandt Peale, the museum exhibited, among other objects, a variety of scientific items, including botanical, biological and archeological specimens. One of these was a mastodon skeleton, the exhumation of which was painted by Charles Wilson Peale.

Peale Museum & Kurt L. Schmoke Conference Center, 225 North Holliday St., Baltimore, Maryland, Septmber 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Maryland Geological Survey, Kenneth N. Weaver Building, 2300 St. Paul St., Baltimore, Maryland] In Maryland, the formal study of geology originated with the first State Geological Survey, which began work in 1834. Its historical evolution led to the Maryland Geological Survey, which functions today within the Department of Natural Resources.

Maryland Geological Survey, Kenneth N. Weaver Building, 2300 St. Paul St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Today, knowledge is pursued through science at Maryland's universities and colleges, including the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Technology developed in Maryland by university researchers, the private sector, and federal laboratories enables the Maryland Technology Development Corporation to help businesses get started and grow through the commercialization of that technology.

Federal institutions concerned with scientific investigations often make Maryland their base of operations. Here, for example, are found the Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt), the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Silver Spring). Private research institutions located in the State include the MdBio Foundation, Inc. and the J. Craig Venter Institute.


Applied sciences, including engineering and medicine, use existing knowledge to develop applications, such as technology.

Applied Mathematics uses mathematical tools to solve or investigate problems in science, engineering, and industry.

Several institutions in Maryland conduct research in applied mathematics, including the Applied Mathematics Laboratory at Towson University and the Applied and Computational Mathematics Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Applied Mathematics Laboratory at Towson University opened in 1980. Since then, it has completed projects for a number of companies, including Martin Marietta and Blue Cross Blue Shield. The research teams are composed of undergraduates with faculty team leaders.

Under the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Applied and Computational Mathematics Division provides technical expertise in finding solutions to mathematical and science problems through research and development and collaboration.

Applied Physics is the use of physics in technological or practical applications.

In Maryland, the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Applied Physics Laboratory at The Johns Hopkins University perform research in applied physics.

The Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park involves both the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, and the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Research areas encompass microwave electronics, nanoscience, and plasma physics.

The Applied Physics Laboratory at The Johns Hopkins University began in 1942. The Laboratory researches various technological fields, including air and missile defense and space science. Staff members serve as advisors and experts to the federal government.

Engineering is the application of knowledge in order to design and build structures or systems.

The Maryland State Board for Professional Engineers and State Board of Stationary Engineers oversee those wishing to practice engineering in Maryland.

The Maryland Board for Professional Engineers reviews applications, investigates charges, and subpoenas witnesses.

State Board of Stationary Engineers issues licenses and conducts examinations and investigations.

Private organizations, such as the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers, also are involved in the field of engineering. Established on March 23, 1938, the Society represents the engineering profession in legislative affairs, mentors new engineers, and encourages further study and education among its members.


Research and Development (R&D) is the practice of developing new products or discovering new information about topics in order to develop new processes or products.

Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development offers the Research and Development Tax Credit to businesses with qualified expenditures.

Several military research laboratories are found in Maryland. Among them are the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory was started in October 1992. Its areas of research include propulsion, electronics, and network sciences.

Opened on July 2, 1923, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory conducts research, develops prototypes, and offers support and expertise.


Fundamental sciences deal with basic laws or principles as they apply to objects and forces in order to establish theories or predictions and include the formal, natural, and social sciences. Formal sciences focus on abstract structures and thought, such as mathematics and statistics. Natural sciences, like chemistry and geology, study and try to predict phenomena in nature, while social sciences, such as archeology and psychology, study society and human relationships and behavior. Natural and social sciences are empirical sciences, which requires that the information be acquired by either observation or experimentation and can be validated.

Mathematics is the study of numbers and space.

The Center for Mathematics Education at the University of Maryland, College Park develops new approaches to mathematics programs and teacher education.

Formed in 1933, the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers professional development and support to its members.

The Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia Section of the Mathematical Association of America held its first meeting on March 3, 1917. It offers resources for professional development and advocate for mathematical sciences.

Statistics is the study of the collection, analysis, and interpretation of numerical or quantitative data.

The Rankings and Statistics section of the Department of Business and Economic Development ranks eight categories of life in Maryland, including Education, Income, Research and Development, and Workforce.

The Vital Statistics Administration of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene keeps track of birth and death records, and compiles reports on population.

The Maryland Statistics section from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture contains surveys, newsletters, and reports on agricultural economics and production.


Anatomy is the study of the form and function of living organisms, including humans.

Established in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is the first public medical school in the country. It was the first school that included anatomical dissection as part of its curriculum, as well as the first to open a children's clinic and a hospital to train residents.

The State Anatomy Board, organized in 1949, ensures that bodies left to science are distributed equally among hospitals, schools, and other medical institutions.




Chemistry is the study of organic and inorganic elements and their interactions.

The Maryland State Chemist Section, in operation since 1833, regulates sales of pesticides, pet foods, and fertilizers. The Section also provides chemical analysis and testing.

Within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Environmental Chemistry Division of the Laboratories Administration analyzes samples, including drinking water, foods, soils, and building materials, to detect any harmful materials, such as hazardous waste or asbestos.

Genetics is the study of genes and heredity.

The Division of Human Genetics at the University of Maryland Medical Center provides services to patients, including evaluation, DNA testing, laboratory analysis, and genetic evaluation.

The National Human Genome Research Institute originated in Bethesda in 1989 as part of the effort to map the human genome, the genetic information encoded in DNA sequences. The Institute studies the genetics factors of diseases and disorders.

Private institutions, such as the J. Craig Venter Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute also are concerned with genetics.

The J. Craig Venter Institute formed in October 2006. The Institute sequences and analyzes genomes, including disease-carrying insects and viruses.

Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was founded on December 17, 1953. Genetics became a primary area of research, and the Institute provided funding for the sequencing of the human genome.


Marine Biology, or biological oceanography, is the study of organisms living in the salt or brackish waters.

The Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science conducts research and develops technology in order to restore and protect marine ecosystems.

Biological Oceanography research at the Horn Point Laboratory includes food webs and ecology, as well as the study of bacteria, zooplankton, and seagrass.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore conserves marine organisms and educates the public about them and their ecosystems. Its collection includes 17,000 animals and more than 750 species.


Paleontology is the study of fossils and prehistoric life.

The Maryland Geological Survey offers a list of the fossils found throughout Maryland.

The paleontology gallery at the Calvert Marine Museum contains over 40,000 specimens, most of which are from the Miocene epoch, as well as modern skeletons used for comparative purposes.

Physics is the study of matter and energy and their interactions.

The Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park formed in June 2007. Its research focuses on elementary particle physics; gravitation; and quarks, hadrons, and nuclei. The Center hosts workshops and offers an educational series.

The American Institute of Physics promotes the physics profession, publishes journals, produces materials for other organizations, and supports member societies.

Virology is study of viruses.

Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine was formed in 1996. The Institute studies chronic viral diseases, including HIV/AIDS and cancers. The Institute also researches methods to treat and prevent such diseases.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick is the primary research institution for protection against biological warfare. It is the only military laboratory allowed to study high-level viruses, such as Ebola, Lassa, and hemorrhagic fevers.

Zoology is the study of animals, including their classification and behavior.

The Maryland Zoological Society has managed the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore since 1984. There, almost 200 species of animals live in settings similar to their natural habitats.



Criminology is the study of crime, those who commit crimes, and punishments for crime.

The State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy oversees sentencing guidelines and policy.

Within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Criminal Justice Information System provides records and fingerprint identification of people who are arrested and convicted in Maryland. Claims may be filed with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board by victims of crime.



International Relations is the study of relationships among countries.

The International Division of the Secretary of State focuses on the Maryland Sister States Program and the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs.

The Maryland Sister States Program establishes relationships between Maryland and states in other countries to promote business, education, and culture.

The Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs develops strategies for pursuing priorities in other countries. The Subcabinet also oversees protocol and coordinates the international activities of agencies.

Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviors.

Created in 1957, the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene evaluates applications, administers exams, and issues licenses.

The Maryland Psychological Association was formed in Columbia in 1956. The Association offers an educational series and a mentoring program, and publishes newsletters.

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