National Academy of Sciences: National Academy of Sciences Home
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. The NAS has, since 1863, served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.
Scientific issues would become even more contentious and complex in the years following the war. The institution eventually expanded to include the National Research Council, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine to keep pace with the growing roles that science and technology would play in public life. Collectively, the four organizations are known as the National Academies. The nation's leaders have often turned to the National Academies for advice on the scientific and technological issues that frequently pervade policy decisions. Most of the institution's science policy and technical work is conducted by its operating arm, the National Research Council. These non-profit organizations provide a public service by working outside the framework of government to ensure independent advice on matters of science, technology, and medicine. They enlist committees of the nation's top scientists, engineers, and other experts, all of whom volunteer their time to study specific concerns. The Academy membership is composed of approximately 2,100 members and 380 foreign associates, of whom nearly 200 have won Nobel Prizes. Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.