NAS Celebrates 150 Years

The National Academy of Sciences has turned 150 and will celebrate with several activities throughout the year.

The NAS was created when President Abraham Lincoln signed a congressional charter on March 3, 1863. Since then, the Academy has focused on matters relating to science, medicine, and engineering. The Academy has worked through two world wars, the Great Depression, and many other national crises.

"Even in the midst of the Civil War, Congress and President Lincoln understood the value of science and the importance of an independent, nonprofit organization that could advise the government on scientific and technical matters," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the NAS. "As a result, the National Academy of Sciences has been able to both encourage and draw upon the best that science, engineering, and medicine have to offer to help the nation achieve unprecedented prosperity and security. The Academy is committed to continuing and expanding on that success for many years to come."

Throughout its lifetime, the NAS has been the foundation for some of the most significant accomplishments for the U.S. Some of these include forming the U.S. Geological Survey, creating a national forest system and the National Park Service, building a national highway system, opening the Panama Canal, launching the U.S.’s first earth-orbiting satellite, developing ways to mass-produce antibiotics, and many more.

To help celebrate this amazing milestone, the NAS has created a new website that features historical facts, lectures, and highlights from a variety of Academy accomplishments.