Sigma Xi is the national research and scientific honor society. Its purpose is the encouragement of "original investigation in science, pure and applied."
The following mission statement was adopted by Sigma Xi's Board of Directors in 1989. "The missions of Sigma Xi are to honor scientific accomplishments, to encourage and to enhance the worldwide appreciation and support of original investigation in science and technology, and to foster worldwide a creative and dynamic interaction among science, technology, and society." This statement outlines the purposes and goals of the society for its second century.
Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 by a group of Cornell University students and a faculty member who believed that the time had come to establish an honor society for scientists and engineers. Although societies such as Phi Beta Kappa were well established in the humanities, no comparable institution existed for science scholars. In order to fill this void, the Cornell group established a society to reward excellence in scientific research and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields. They called the organization Sigma Xi. Later, a motto based on these initials was adopted to confirm the purpose of the society: "Spoudon Xynones," or "Companions in Zealous Research." The first women were elected to membership two years after Sigma Xi was founded.
The Society Today
The following Gustavus academic departments regularly participate in chapter activities,