A Message From the Presidents

"Science is a collaborative effort. The combined results of several people working together [are] often much more effective than …that of an individual scientist working alone."

These words of the late John Bardeen -- the only two-time Nobel Prize winner in physics and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering -- describe the core of our work at the Academies. On almost every working day of the year, we convene the nation's premier scientists, engineers, health professionals, and policy experts to take on critical national and global issues. These collaborations take many different forms, but the goal is always the same: to share expertise, work across disciplines, and address tough challenges in innovative ways.

In this Report to Congress you'll read about some of the more than 400 reports produced by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council in 2013. They are the result of experts coming together without compensation over many months to gather information, review evidence, and ultimately provide peer-reviewed findings on important national and international issues. Our committees proposed an ambitious research agenda for combating gun violence, examined the consequences of abrupt climate change, and called for adequate and timely care for soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, among the multitude of subjects tackled.

In addition to convening experts to serve on study committees, in 2013 the Academies held dozens of public workshops, forums, and colloquia to explore cutting-edge, sometimes controversial issues in science, technology, and health. We also established new roundtables to spur conversation and positive momentum on subjects as varied as obesity prevention and the care and use of laboratory animals in research. Moreover, ongoing initiatives such as the Frontiers of Science and Frontiers of Engineering encourage future leaders in these professions to work across disciplinary and international boundaries.

Sadly, 2013 also marked the loss of a great leader, our friend and colleague former NAE President Charles Vest. Throughout his career, Chuck's vision inspired thousands across professions and disciplines to join forces and do their part to make the world a better place. We offer our work as a tribute to his enduring legacy.

Ralph J. Cicerone
C.D. Mote Jr.
Harvey V. Fineberg
Ralph J. Cicerone
President, National Academy of Sciences
Chair, National Research Council
C.D. Mote Jr.
President, National Academy of Engineering
Vice Chair, National Research Council
Harvey V. Fineberg
President, Institute of Medicine