|Formation||March 3, 1863|
|Founders||Alexander Dallas Bache|
|Founded at||2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C., U.S. 20418|
|Endowment||$553.9 million (2020)|
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a United States nonprofit, non-governmental organization. NAS is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academy is one of the highest honors in the scientific field. Members of the National Academy of Sciences serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation" on science, engineering, and medicine. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.
Founded in 1863 as a result of an Act of Congress that was approved by Abraham Lincoln, the NAS is charged with "providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. … to provide scientific advice to the government 'whenever called upon' by any government department."
The Academy receives no compensation from the government for its services.
As of 2016 [update] , the National Academy of Sciences includes about 2,350 NAS members and 450 international members. It employed about 1,100 staff in 2005. The current members annually elect new members for life. Up to 84 members who are US citizens are elected every year; up to 21 foreign citizens may be elected as international members annually. Approximately 190 members have won a Nobel Prize. By its own admission in 1989, the addition of women to the Academy "continues at a dismal trickle", at which time there were 1,516 male members and 57 female members.
The National Academy of Sciences is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The ICSU Advisory Committee, which is in the Research Council's Office of International Affairs, facilitates the participation of members in international scientific unions and serves as a liaison for U.S. national committees for individual scientific unions. Although there is no formal relationship with state and local academies of science, there often is informal dialogue. The National Academy is governed by a 17-member Council, made up of five officers (president, vice president, home secretary, international secretary, and treasurer) and 12 Councilors, all of whom are elected from among the Academy membership.Agencies of the United States government fund about 85 percent of the Academy's activities. Further funding comes from state governments, private foundations, and industrial organizations.
The Council has the ability ad-hoc to delegate certain tasks to committees. For example, the Committee on Animal Nutrition has produced a series of Nutrient requirements of domestic animals reports since at least 1944, each one being initiated by a different sub-committee of experts in the field for example on dairy cattle.
The National Academy of Sciences meets annually in Washington, D.C., which is documented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , its scholarly journal. The National Academies Press is the publisher for the National Academies, and makes more than 5,000 publications freely available on its website.
From 2004 to 2017, the National Academy of Sciences administered the Marian Koshland Science Museum to provide public exhibits and programming related to its policy work. The museum's exhibits focused on climate change and infectious disease. In 2017 the museum closed and made way for a new science outreach program called LabX.
The National Academy of Sciences maintains multiple buildings around the United States.
The National Academy of Sciences Building is located at 2101 Constitution Avenue, in northwest Washington, D.C.; it sits on the National Mall, adjacent to the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building and in front of the headquarters of the U.S. State Department. The building has a neoclassical architectural style and was built by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. The building was dedicated in 1924and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Goodhue engaged a team of artists and architectural sculptors including Albert Herter, Lee Lawrie, and Hildreth Meiere to design interior embellishments celebrating the history and significance of science. The building is used for lectures, symposia, exhibitions, and concerts, in addition to annual meetings of the NAS, NAE, and NAM. The 2012 Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching ceremony was held here on March 5, 2014. Approximately 150 staff members work at the NAS Building. In June 2012, it reopened to visitors after a major two-year restoration project which restored and improved the building's historic spaces, increased accessibility, and brought the building's aging infrastructure and facilities up to date.
More than 1,000 National Academies staff members work at The Keck Center of the National Academies at 500 Fifth Street in northwest Washington, D.C. The Keck Center provides meeting space and houses the National Academies Press Bookstore.The Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences – formerly located at 525 E St., N.W. – hosted visits from the public, school field trips, traveling exhibits, and permanent science exhibits.
The NAS also maintains conference centers in California and Massachusetts.The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center is located on 100 Academy Drive in Irvine, California, near the campus of the University of California, Irvine; it offers a conference center and houses several NAS programs. The J. Erik Jonsson Conference Center located at 314 Quissett Avenue in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is another conference facility.
The Act of Incorporation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1863, created the National Academy of Sciences and named 50 charter members. Many of the original NAS members came from the so-called "Scientific Lazzaroni," an informal network of mostly physical scientists working in the vicinity of Cambridge, Massachusetts (c. 1850).
In 1863, enlisting the support of Alexander Dallas Bache and Charles Henry Davis, a professional astronomer who had been recently recalled from the Navy to Washington to head the Bureau of Navigation. They also elicited support from Swiss-American geologist Louis Agassiz and American mathematician Peirce, who together planned the steps whereby the National Academy of Sciences was to be established. Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts was to name Agassiz to the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.
Agassiz was to come to Washington at the government's expense to plan the organization with the others. This bypassed Joseph Henry, who was reluctant to have a bill for such an academy presented to Congress. This was in the belief that such a resolution would be "opposed as something at variance with our democratic institutions". Nevertheless, Henry soon became the second President of NAS. 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".
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.
Although hailed as a great step forward in government recognition of the role of science in American society, at the time, the National Academy of Sciences created enormous ill-feelings among scientists,whether or not they were named as incorporators.
The Act states:
[T]he Academy shall, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art, the actual expense of such investigations, examinations, experiments, and reports to be paid from appropriations which may be made for the purpose, but the Academy shall receive no compensation whatever for any services to the Government of the United States.
The National Academies did not solve the problems facing a nation in Civil War as the Lazzaroni had hoped, nor did it centralize American scientific efforts. 30However, election to the National Academy did come to be considered "the pinnacle of scientific achievement for Americans" until the establishment of the Nobel Prize at the end of the 19th Century. :
In 1870, the congressional charter was amended to remove the limitation on the number of members.
In 2013, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked to write a speech for the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in which he made the point that one of Lincoln's greatest legacies was establishing the National Academy of Sciences in that same year, which had the long-term effect of "setting our Nation on a course of scientifically enlightened governance, without which we all may perish from this Earth".
The president is the head of the Academy, 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 22 presidents since its foundation. The current president is geophysicist Marcia K. McNutt, the first woman to hold this position. Her term expires on June 30, 2022.
The Academy gives a number of different awards:
In 2005, the national science academies of the G8 forum (including the National Academy of Sciences) and science academies of Brazil, China, and 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.
On May 7, 2010, a letter signed by 255 Academy members was published in Science magazine, decrying "political assaults" against climate change scientists.This was in response to a civil investigative demand on the University of Virginia (UVA) by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, seeking a broad range of documents from Michael E. Mann, a former UVA professor from 1999-2005. Mann, who currently works at Penn State, is a climate change researcher, and Cuccinelli alleges that Mann may have defrauded Virginia taxpayers in the course of his environmental research. Investigations had cleared Mann of charges that he falsified or suppressed data.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the collective scientific national academy of the United States. The name is used interchangeably in two senses: (1) as an umbrella term for its three quasi-independent honorific member organizations the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM); and (2) as the brand for studies and reports issued by the operating arm of the three academies, the National Research Council (NRC). The NRC was first formed in 1916 as an activity of the NAS. Now jointly governed by all three academies, it produces some 200 publications annually which are published by the National Academies Press.
Alexander Dallas Bache was an American physicist, scientist, and surveyor who erected coastal fortifications and conducted a detailed survey to map the mideastern United States coastline. Originally an army engineer, he later became Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, and built it into the foremost scientific institution in the country before the Civil War.
Michael Evan Mann is an American climatologist and geophysicist. He is the director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Mann has contributed to the scientific understanding of historic climate change based on the temperature record of the past thousand years. He has pioneered techniques to find patterns in past climate change and to isolate climate signals from noisy data.
The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia; a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation; and additional scientific and social units such as libraries, publishing units, and hospitals.
An academician is a full member of an artistic, literary, engineering, or scientific academy. In many countries, it is an honorific title used to denote a full member of an academy that has a strong influence on national scientific life. In systems such as the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the title grants privileges and administrative responsibilities for funding allocation and research priorities.
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly called the Institute of Medicine (IoM) until 2015, is an American nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The National Academy of Medicine is a part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the National Research Council (NRC).
The Royal Society of Canada, also known as the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada, is the senior national, bilingual council of distinguished Canadian scholars, humanists, scientists and artists. The primary objective of the RSC is to promote learning and research in the arts, the humanities and the sciences. The RSC is Canada's National Academy and exists to promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment in both official languages, to recognize academic and artistic excellence, and to advise governments, non-governmental organizations and Canadians on matters of public interest.
Robert McCredie May, Baron May of Oxford, HonFAIB was an Australian scientist who was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, President of the Royal Society, and a professor at the University of Sydney and Princeton University. He held joint professorships at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. He was also a crossbench member of the House of Lords from 2001 until his retirement in 2017.
The German National Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina, short Leopoldina, is the national academy of Germany, and is located in Halle (Saale). Founded on January 1, 1652, based on academic models in Italy, it was originally named the Academia Naturae Curiosorum until 1687 when Emperor Leopold I raised it to an academy and named it after himself. It was since known under the German name Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina until 2007, when it was declared to be Germany's National Academy of Sciences. The Leopoldina has a claim to be the oldest continuously existing learned society in the world. The validity of the claim depends in part on how certain definitional and historical questions are answered.
The Alexander Agassiz Medal is awarded every three years by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences for an original contribution in the science of oceanography. It was established in 1911 by Sir John Murray in honor of his friend, the scientist Alexander Agassiz.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is an American nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The National Academy of Engineering is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is a council, chartered in each administration with a broad mandate to advise the President of the United States on science and technology. The current PCAST was established by Executive Order 13226 on September 30, 2001, by President George W. Bush, was re-chartered by President Obama's April 21, 2010, Executive Order 13539, and was most recently re-chartered by President Trump's October 22, 2019, Executive Order 13895.
Sallie Watson "Penny" Chisholm is a U.S. biological oceanographer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an expert in the ecology and evolution of ocean microbes. Penny's research focuses particularly on the most abundant marine phytoplankton, Prochlorococcus, that she discovered in the 1980s with Rob Olson and other collaborators. She has a TED talk about their discovery and importance called "The tiny creature that secretly powers the planet."
Walter Clarkson Pitman III is an American geophysicist and a professor emeritus at Columbia University. His measurements of magnetic anomalies on the ocean floor supported the Morley–Vine–Matthews hypothesis explaining seafloor spreading. With William Ryan, he developed the Black Sea deluge theory. Among his major awards are the Alexander Agassiz Medal and the Vetlesen Prize.
The Scientific Lazzaroni is a self-mocking name adopted by Alexander Dallas Bache and his group of scientists who flourished before and up to the American Civil War. These scientists then gained greater support and laid the foundation for the National Academy of Sciences. However, the National Academy did not solve the problems facing a nation plunged in Civil War – as the Lazzaroni had hoped, nor did it centralize American scientific efforts.
Satya Atluri is a world-renowned Indian-American engineer, educator, researcher and scientist in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering and computational sciences, who is currently the Presidential Chair & University Distinguished Professor at Texas Tech University. Since 1966, he made fundamental contributions to the development of finite element methods, boundary element methods, Meshless Local Petrov-Galerkin (MLPG) methods, Fragile Points Methods (FPM), Local Variational Iteration Methods, for general problems of engineering, solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, flexoelectricity, ferromagnetics, gradient and nonlocal theories, nonlinear dynamics, shell theories, micromechanics of materials, structural integrity and damage tolerance, Orbital mechanics, Astrodynamics, etc.
Eric J. Rignot is a Chancellor Professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, and Senior Research Scientist for the Radar Science and Engineering Section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Warren Morton Washington is an American atmospheric scientist, a former chair of the National Science Board, and currently senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.
The Attorney General of Virginia's climate science investigation was a civil investigative demand initiated in April 2010 by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, for a wide range of records held by the University of Virginia related to five grant applications for research work by a leading climate scientist Michael E. Mann, who was an assistant professor at the university from 1999 to 2005. The demand was issued under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act in connection with claims by Cuccinnelli that Mann had possibly violated state fraud laws in relation to five research grants, by allegedly manipulating data. No evidence of wrongdoing was presented to support the claim. Mann's earlier work had been targeted by climate change deniers attacking the hockey stick graph, and allegations against him were renewed in late 2009 in the Climatic Research Unit email controversy but found to be groundless in a series of investigations.
Membership of the National Academy of Sciences is an award granted to scientists that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of the United States judges to have made “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research”. Membership is a mark of excellence in science and one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
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