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


This informal history of the National Academy of Sciences could not have been produced without the very gracious and efficient professional help provided by Archivist Janice Goldblum of the Academy staff. My gratitude to her is unbounded.

In addition to emphasizing my great indebtedness to Janice Goldblum, it is a pleasure to recognize several other individuals who have been of help in the preparation of this specialized history of the Academy. John S. Coleman who served as executive officer of the Academy during part of my term in office read an early version of the manuscript and offered important suggestions. My long-time friend Dr. Robert N. Varney, a physicist and a fellow San Franciscan, read through large portions of the manuscript and, among many other things, provided me with very valuable information concerning Dr. Campbell's research at the Lick Observatory, as well as historical details in the development of the University of California at Berkeley where he completed his doctoral studies. Beyond this, he pointed out numerous errors and  suggested additions that have been incorporated in the text. Dr. Marc Rothenberg, who is director-editor for the organization and publication of the collected papers of Joseph Henry at the Smithsonian Institution, read through the first half of the manuscript with great care and offered major improvements of the text out of his own highly expert knowledge. It has been a rare pleasure to follow the excellent work of Rothenberg and his staff. Ten of eleven volumes have been published so far. Dr. Thomas Lassman, a professional  historian of science then involved in a special project at the American Institute of Physics, scoured through the nearly completed manuscript and offered many improvements in the text that have been incorporated in it. Dr. Spencer Weart and Ms. Heather Lindsay of the staff of the American Institute of Physics generously provided photographs of Henry Rowland and Albert Einstein from the AIP archives. I am also indebted to Drs. Alexander Bearn and Frederick Wall, as well as Mrs. Lucie Marshall, for critical comments made after reading the text. Dr. Albert Adams, the current headmaster of Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, reviewed some of the history of both the school and James Lick with me personally. He and his staff generously gave me the copy of the photograph of Lick that appears in this document. I am particularly indebted to Dr. and Mrs. Qinghong Yang for consistently valuable advice during the development of the entire manuscript as well as acquisition of the right to use photographs of Albert Einstein and Hideyo Noguchi. Rodney W. Nichols carried out a careful reading of the entire text and offered numerous valuable suggestions, which were adopted. Last but not least, I am, as usual, very grateful to Mrs. Florence Arwade, who manages my office, for her great help at all stages during the preparation of this manuscript.

I must here make special mention of the service I received from Dr. Carol Moberg, my colleague at The Rockefeller University who has a deep appreciation of the world of science. As a personal favor, she carried through a detailed reading of the accompanying text and made many useful suggestions.

We are particularly grateful to the staff of the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C. for crucial advice in acquiring a suitable publisher for this text. I am especially grateful to Jeff Kueter for his detailed help along the way and for forming close links with the staff of the publisher.

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