Anniversary Highlights

December 2013

The National Academy of Sciences Building:
A Home for Science in America

A Home for Science in America recounts the history of the National Academy of Sciences Building, which was dedicated in 1924, richly illustrating its architecture and ornamentation, and describing its restoration and renewal for the 21st century. This book is available for purchase online from the National Academies Press.


November 2013

Sackler Colloquia - The NAS at 150: Celebrating Service to the Nation

Videos from the Sackler Colloquium The NAS at 150: Celebrating Service to the Nation, which took place in Washington on October 16-18, can be viewed on the Sackler Colloquia's YouTube channel. Nine videos are available, including the 2013 Sackler Lecture by Daniel J. Kevles of Yale University on The National Academy in the American Democracy. The colloquium program, which lists the moderator and panelists for each of the eight sessions, is available online.


October 2013

50th Anniversary of JFK's Address on the Importance of Science to Society

Fifty years ago on October 22, 1963, at a convocation celebrating the centennial of the National Academy of Sciences, President John F. Kennedy spoke movingly about science's importance to society and the Academy's role as adviser to the nation. In celebration of the Academy's 150 anniversary, we are pleased to provide the audio of President Kennedy's speech and images from the event. (Audio courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.)

Historical Highlights - A Selection of Highlights from the History of the National Academy of Sciences, 1863-2005, by Frederick Seitz

NAS President Emeritus Frederick Seitz's book is now published online. This work relates selected events in the history of the National Academy of Sciences focusing on the terms of the various presidents, from the first, Alexander D. Bache—the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin—to the most recent, Ralph J. Cicerone. Special attention is given to roles played by the Academy and Academy members in three great wars, as well as side developments made possible through wartime ventures and advances in technology.


September 2013

Symposium Video Online - The NAS at 150: Celebrating Service to the Nation and Excellence in Science

The video of the symposium commemorating the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences is now available online. Originally held on Saturday, August 3, 2013, this video features talks by historians Daniel Kevles, Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Peter Westwick, NAS members Lewis Branscomb, Jane Lubchenco, and Peter Raven, and Constance Citro of the National Research Council.


August 2013

NAS Dome Explorer App Now Available

The National Academy of Sciences has recently released the NAS Dome Explorer app. Explore the history of science through a virtual tour of the Great Hall ceiling at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Download the NAS Dome Explorer app on your iPad prior to visiting the building.


July 2013

The NAS at 150: Celebrating Service to the Nation and Excellence in Science

This symposium—which was organized and led by historians Daniel Kevles, Ruth Schwartz Cowan, and Peter Westwick—commemorated the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences. Daniel Kevles provided an overview of the founding of the Academy and its place in American democracy, Peter Westwick spoke about how the Academy has served national interests while striving to maintain its independence, and Ruth Schwartz Cowan discussed the expanded meaning of the sciences in the Academy’s history. The talks by Drs. Westwick and Cowan were each followed by roundtable discussions with panelists familiar with the work of the Academy and with the issues raised in the talks. Originally held on Saturday, August 3, 2013.


June 2013

NAS Releases iPad App for Biographical Memoirs

The National Academy of Sciences has recently released the Biographical Memoirs app. NAS Biographical Memoirs provide the life histories and selected bibliographies of deceased National Academy of Sciences members, including famed naturalist Louis Agassiz; Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Thomas Edison; Alexander Graham Bell; noted anthropologist Margaret Mead; and psychologist and philosopher John Dewey. Election to the NAS is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Download the Biographical Memoirs app to easily access the online collection of more than 1,500 biographies of some of the nation's most renowned scientists directly on your iPad.


May 2013

A Biographical History of Science in America

To celebrate the Academy's 150 years of recognizing excellence in science, a special focus has been placed on our Biographical Memoirs series. Published since 1877, Biographical Memoirs provide the life histories and selected bibliographies of deceased National Academy of Sciences members. Colleagues familiar with the subject's work write these memoirs and as such, the series provides a biographical history of science in America. The Online Collection includes more than 1,600 memoirs, including those of famed naturalist Louis Agassiz; Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Thomas Edison; Alexander Graham Bell; noted anthropologist Margaret Mead; and psychologist and philosopher John Dewey.

This year, special efforts are being made to make the series available to the widest possible audience, including free online reading on our web site and a new iPad App to read, bookmark, and share memoirs.  Academy members are participating in “150 for 150” – a special effort to identify at least 150 new authors for unwritten memoirs and publish at least 150 new memoirs.


April 2013

Address by President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama reiterated his strong support for science and technology in a speech to members of the National Academy of Sciences at its 150th annual meeting. Science, technology, engineering, and medicine are critical to the nation's prosperity, Obama said, noting that investments made today are bound to pay off for many years to come.


March 2013

Editorial in PNAS by NAS President Ralph Cicerone

On the occasion of the Academy's 150th anniversary, NAS President Ralph Cicerone discusses the missions and work of the Academy and not only its historical significance but also its value in the future. Read this editorial online, to appear in the March 19 print edition of PNAS.

Discussion on the Founding of the NAS Now Available on C-SPAN

In this 2012 discussion held at the Library of Congress, panelists talk about the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences in 1863 and look at how the U.S. government has supported science and education. This conference was hosted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in cooperation with the Association of Public Land Grant Universities and the National Academy of Sciences. Watch the video of this discussion on the CSPAN.org web site.


February 2013

"Not A Hundred Millionaires" — The Founding of the NAS

"The creation of the National Academy of Sciences was one sign of the expanding government support of science and engineering that began during the Civil War and continued to grow in the decades that followed." Thus begins Not A Hundred Millionaires: The National Academy and the Expansion of Federal Science in the Gilded Age, a paper by leading historian Daniel J. Kevles that sets the stage for the founding of the NAS. Kevles is collaborating with fellow historians Ruth Schwartz Cowan and Peter Westwick on an updated history of the Academy. His article appears in the winter issue of Issues in Science and Technology.

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