- United States National Academy of Sciences
name = National Academy of Sciences
caption = National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C.
location = 2101 Constitution Ave., NW.
architect = Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue
March 15, 1974
refnum = 74002168
governing_body = The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the
United Stateswhose members serve " pro bono" as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine."
The group holds a
congressional charterunder Title 36 of the United States Code.
The Civil War caused a need for a
national academy. The Act of Incorporation, signed by President Abraham Lincolnon March 3, 1863, created the National Academy of Sciences and named 50 charter members. Many of the original NAS came from the so-called "American Scientific Lazzaroni", an informal network of mostly physical scientists working in the vicinity of Cambridge, Massachusetts (circa 1850s) [ [http://www7.nationalacademies.org/archives/nasfounding.html Founding of the National Academy of Sciences] ] .
In 1863 enlisting the support of
Alexander Dallas Bacheand Charles Henry Davis, a professional astronomer recently recalled from the Navy to Washington to head the Bureau of Navigation, Louis Agassizand Benjamin Peirceplanned the steps whereby the National Academy of Sciences was to be established. Senator Henry Wilsonof Massachusetts was to name Agassiz to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian.
On the pretext of desiring to discuss his new duties, Agassiz was to come to Washington at government expense to plan the organization with the others. So it was done, bypassing
Joseph Henry, who had already made known his reluctance to have a bill for such an academy presented to Congress in the belief that such a resolution would be “opposed as something at variance with our democratic institutions;” (Henry nevertheless soon became the second NAS President). Agassiz, Davis, Peirce, Benjamin Gould, and Senator Wilson met at Bache's house and "hurriedly wrote the bill incorporating the Academy, including in it the name of fifty incorporators."Fact|date=August 2008
During the last hours of the session, when the Senate was immersed in the rush of last minute business before its adjournment, Senator Wilson introduced the bill. Without examining it or debating its provisions, both the Senate and House approved it, and President Lincoln signed it. [cite book
last = Miller
first = Lillian
authorlink = David Mumford
title = The Lazzaroni: science and scientists in mid-nineteenth-century America
publisher = Smithsonian Institution Press
url = http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=76824285
accessdate = 2007-10-26
year = 1972
pages = 121 ]
Although hailed as a great step forward in government recognition of the role of science in American civilization, the National Academy of Sciences at the time created enormous ill-feelings among scientists, whether or not they were named as incorporators. Later, Agassiz admitted that they had “started on the wrong track.”
The Act states:The National Academy did not solve the problems facing a nation in Civil War as the Lazzaroni had hoped, nor did it centralize American scientific efforts.Fact|date=August 2008
As of spring 2003, the National Academy of Sciences included about 1,922 members, 93 members emeritus, 341 foreign associates, and employed about 1,100 staff.Fact|date=August 2008 The current members annually elect new members for life. Election to membership is one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist and recognizes scientists who have made distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. More than 170 members have won a
Nobel Prize.Fact|date=August 2008
The National Academy of Sciences is an institutional member of the
International Council for Science(ICSU). The ICSU Advisory Committee, which is in the Research Council's Office of International Affairs, facilitates participation of members in international scientific unions and is a liaison for U.S. national committees for the individual scientific unions. Although there is no formal relationship with state and local academies of science, there often is informal dialogue.
The National Academy of Sciences meets annually in
Washington, D.C., documented in the " Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", the scholarly journal of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academies Pressis the publisher for the National Academies, and makes 3600+ publications available for free reading on its website.
Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences
The President is the elected head of the Academy. An Academy member is elected by a majority vote of the membership to serve in this position for a term to be determined by the governing Council, not to exceed six years, and may be re-elected for a second term. The Academy has had twenty-one presidents since its foundation. The current president is atmospheric chemist,
Ralph J. Ciceroneof the University of California, Irvine.
Alexander Dallas Bache
William Barton Rogers
Othniel Charles Marsh
*1895-1900 Wolcott Gibbs
William Henry Welch
Charles Doolittle Walcott
Albert Abraham Michelson
Thomas Hunt Morgan
William Wallace Campbell
Frank Rattray Lillie
Frank Baldwin Jewett
Alfred Newton Richards
Detlev Wulf Bronk
Ralph J. Cicerone
David Blackwellwas the first African-Americanelected (1965).
Edward C. Pickering(1846-1919) was the youngest scientist elected.
Joint declaration on global warming
In 2005 the national science academies of the
G8nations (including the National Academy of Sciences) plus science academies of Brazil, Chinaand India(three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world) signed a statement on the global response to climate change. The statement stresses that the scientific understanding of climate change had become sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. [ [http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/document.asp?latest=1&id=3222 Joint academies statement on climate change] ] [ [http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/displaypagedoc.asp?id=20742 Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change (Adobe PDF File)] ]
The Academy gives a number of different awards:
NAS Award for Initiatives in Research
Public Welfare Medal
Henry Draper Medal
J. Lawrence Smith Medal
James Craig Watson Medal
* Behavioral/Social Sciences
NAS Award for Behavior Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War
Troland Research Awards
* Biology and Medicine
Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics
Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal
Richard Lounsbery Award
NAS Award in Molecular Biology
NAS Award in the Neurosciences
Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal
Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology
NAS Award in Chemical Sciences
NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society
* Earth and Environmental Sciences
Alexander Agassiz Medal
Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship
Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal
Mary Clark Thompson Medal
Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal
G. K. Warren Prize
NAS Award of Scientific Reviewing
* Engineering and Applied Sciences
NAS Award in Aeronautical Engineering- aeronautical engineering
Gibbs Brothers Medal- naval architecture, marine engineering
NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science
* Mathematics and Computer Science
NAS Award in Mathematics
John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science
Comstock Prize in Physics
Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics
List of members of the National Academy of Sciences
Library of Congress Digital Library project
National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program
National Science Foundation
Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences"
National Academies Press
US National Academy of Sciences' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
* [http://www.nasonline.org "National Academy of Sciences"]
* [http://www.nap.edu/books/0309071445/html/ LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress]
* [http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html The Library of Congress, Digital Collections and Programs]
* [http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ The Library of Congress, Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program]
* [http://feinstein.senate.gov/04Releases/r-df-boxer-perch.htm "Boxer And Feinstein Concerned About Impartiality Of National Academy Of Sciences Perchlorate Committee"] ,
14 May 2004
* [http://www.vega.org.uk/video/programme/119 Freeview Video Interview 2006] Sherwood Rowland, NL, discusses Climate Change. This and other programmes on members of the National Academy of Sciences can be found on the Vega Science Trust's website.
* [http://www.nationalacademies.org/arts National Academy of Sciences' Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs]
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