Edward W. Scripps, a renowned journalist, and William Emerson Ritter, a California zoologist, founded Science Service in 1921 with the goal of keeping the public informed of scientific achievements.
Scripps and Ritter accomplished their goal by distributing the latest science research to the public through a news service for reporters. In 1922, due to interest from non-journalists, Science Service started distributing Science News-Letter, which became a magazine in 1926. It quickly grew into a prime source of science news for libraries, schools, and individuals. In 1942, Science Service launched the first of its prestigious education competitions, the Science Talent Search.