In November 1974, Dr. David Challinor, Smithsonian Assistant Secretary for Science, invited Smithsonian scientists from across the Institution to the National Zoo's Conservation Research Center (now known as the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute) in Front Royal, Virginia to participate in the first Smithsonian Inter-Science Conference.
From February 6-8, 1975, scientists gathered to discuss their current research as well as to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and direction of science at the Smithsonian. Among the bureaus represented were the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), the Radiation Biology Laboratory, the National Zoological Park, the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, and the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies (now known as the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center).
From an initial pool of some sixty scientists, twenty were invited by Challinor after consulting with their respective bureau directors and his own staff. Those scientists chosen were selected partly based on how articulate they were since part of the agenda called for each scientist to be able to share what they were working on with each other. So biologists from STRI could hear about what an astronomer from SAO was doing and vice versa.
- Dr. Erle G. Kauffman, Curator, Department of Paleobiology
- Dr. Beryl Simpson, Associate Curator, Department of Botany
- Dr. Richard Thorington, Associate Curator, Department of Vertebrate Zoology
- Dr. Terry Erwin, Associate Curator, Department of Entomology
- Dr. Daniel Appleman, Crystallographer, Department of Mineral Sciences
- Dr. William Fitzhugh, Chariman, Department of Anthropology
- Dr. Jeffery B. Graham, Biologist
- Dr. Austin Stanley Rand, Associate Director
- Dr. Neal G. Smith, Biologist
- Dr. Nathaniel P. Carelton, Associate Director, Optical and Infrared Astronomy
- Dr. Michael Lecar, Theorectical Astrophysicist
- Dr. Harvey Tananbaum, High-Energy Astrophysics Division
- Dr. Ursula B. Marvin, Planetary Sciences Division
Radiation Biology Laboratory (The laboratory was established in 1965, but closed in 1985 with some its programs merging with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
- Dr. Devra Kleiman, Reproductive Biologist
- Dr. Eugene S. Morton, Research Ornithologist
- Dr. Chris Wemmer, Curator, Front Royal Facility
- Dr. Farouk El Baz, Research Director, Cetner for Earth and Planetary Studies
- Dr. Mary E. Rice, Associate Curator, Invertebrate Zoology
Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies (now the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
- Dr. J. Kevin Sullivan, Assistant Director
The conference's agenda was compiled by Dr. Erle G. Kauffman, Dr. Walter Shropshire, and Dr. Farouk El Baz. The agenda was meant more as an outline, and the meeting was intended to be as informal and freeform as possible to spark conversations and discussions.
Overall, Challinor felt the conference was a success and achieved his goal "to get people together to talk to each other, just to know who each other were."
- Oral History Interviews with David Challinor, 1999, Record Unit 9599, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- National Museum of Natural History 100th Anniversary Interviews, 2009-2011 - Includes interview with Dr. Mary Rice, Record Unit 9622, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Agenda - 1975 Smithsonian Inter-Science Conference, February 6-8, 1975. Accession 18-100: National Museum of Natural History, Division of Mammals, Correspondence, 1934-1939, 1956-2017; Image nos. SIA2018-107224 to SIA2018-107233; Smithsonian Institution Archives