The history of SBPC is deeply related to the process of social, political, and economic evolution in Brazil in the last six decades. The landmark of its creation was July 8th, 1948, when a group of scientists met at the auditorium of the Medical Association of Sao Paulo and decided to found a Society for the Progress of Science, based on models that already existed in other countries. That was a moment in the history of humanity marked by the end of the Second World War, and all around the world nations were becoming aware of the paramount need to stimulate science in order to promote social and economic development.
The first years of existence of the SBPC coincide with the recognition and institutionalization of science in Brazil, with the creation by the federal government of institutions such as the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, 1951), and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES, 1951). These two institutions, together with a network of higher education institutions that was being structured, and with the strengthening of the scientific community, little by little, allowed the country to demonstrate its capacity to produce and utilize scientific and technological knowledge.
During the 20 years of the military government (1964 – 1984), SBPC has played a crucial role resisting against the regime, particularly in positioning itself against persecutions to professors, researchers and students, and against interferences in the educational and scientific systems. Paradoxically, during the military government organizations such as the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa, 1972) and the Brazilian aeronautical company (Embraer, 1971) were founded and ended up stimulating scientific and technological development in the country.
During the 1980s, SBPC launched the magazine Ciência Hoje (1982) and Jornal da Ciência (1987), which became effective communication channels between the scientific community and the society. From mid-1980s, as the democratic regime returned to the country, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCT&I, 1985) was created, allowing for the strengthening of the national C&T system. Quality post-graduation programs, research and development institutions, and research foundations in most Brazilian states led the Brazilian science to occupy a prominent position internationally.
SBPC has participated actively in all of these moments, and is aware that there is still a long way to go until the science, technology and innovation developed in the country can have a direct impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of the Brazilian society.
Timeline: Website section where we present samples of a few documents, and a preliminary overview of the documents found in the SBPC collection.