Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

Because membership is achieved by election, there is no membership application process. Although many names are suggested informally, only Academy members may submit formal nominations. Consideration of a candidate begins with his or her nomination, followed by an extensive and careful vetting process that results in a final ballot at the Academy's annual meeting in April each year.  Currently, a maximum of 100 members may be elected annually. Members must be U.S. citizens; non-citizens are elected as foreign associates, with a maximum of 25 elected annually.

There are approximately 2,380 members and 480 foreign associates, of whom nearly 200 have received Nobel prizes.

Members and foreign associates are affiliated with a section (scientific discipline) in one of six Classes:

  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Visit these resources to learn more about our members, their work, and their contributions to science:

  • Member Profiles – Search the profiles of Academy members by name, institution, scientific discipline, and keyword.
  • InterViews – Audio podcasts that provide first-person accounts of the lives and work of Academy members. Members talk about what inspired them to choose a career in science and describe some of the most fascinating aspects of their research.
  • Biographical Memoirs – Accounts of the personal and scholarly lives of deceased Academy members, which provide a unique view of the history of science in America.
  • Historical Highlights – 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 Ralph J. Cicerone.

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