About the Academies

The U.S. government's need for an independent adviser on science and technology matters became evident by the height of the Civil War. On March 3, 1863, President Lincoln approved the congressional charter which created that adviser, the National Academy of Sciences.

The private, nonprofit Academy has counseled the federal government in wartime and peacetime ever since. As science and technology issues have grown in complexity and scope, so too has the Academy.


The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES was established in 1863 by an act of Congress as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. In addition to its role as adviser to the federal government, the Academy sponsors symposia, monitors human rights abuses against scientists worldwide, promotes the public understanding of science, and publishes a research journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ralph J. Cicerone, President
Bruce Darling, Executive Officer
James Hinchman, Deputy Executive Officer


The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Its members are distinguished scholars and practitioners of engineering from academia, industry, and government elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. It also conducts studies of policy issues in engineering and technology, encourages education and research, and grants awards to outstanding engineers.

C.D. Mote Jr., President
Alton D. Romig Jr., Executive Officer


The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE was established under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 to advise the nation on medical and health issues. An association of eminent health care professionals and experts in related fields, Academy members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health.

Victor J. Dzau, President
J. Michael McGinnis, Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer


The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.