California Legislature to Recognize National Academy of Sciences Sesquicentennial

June 22, 2013 |   | Contact: M. Daniel DeCillis

This 1924 mural by Albert Herter imagines a scene with President Abraham Lincoln signing the National Academy of Sciences charter in the presence of its founders on March 3, 1863. The mural hangs in the Academy’s Board Room. Image courtesy of the NAS.

The California Senate and Assembly are honoring the National Academy of Science’s sesquicentennial anniversary with a resolution recognizing the service and contributions of the Academies.

“The Legislature takes great pleasure in honoring the National Academy of Sciences for its 150 years of commitment to providing unbiased, peer-reviewed advice on science, technology, and medicine to our nation,” says the resolution, Senate Concurrent Resolution 46, which was co-authored by Senators Jerry Hill and Steve Knight and Assembly Members Beth Gaines and Bill Quirk.

The National Academy of Sciences was incorporated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, charged initially with advising the federal government on “any subject of science or art”. It was later expanded by President Woodrow Wilson to include the National Research Council, for the purpose of supporting the institution’s science policy and technical work by working outside the framework of government to ensure unbiased, credible advice on matters of science, technology, and medicine. The rapidly expanding fields of science and technology later led to the founding of the National Academy of Engineering (1964) and the Institute of Medicine (1970). Collectively, the National Academies today number more than 6,000 of the nation’s most accomplished scientists, engineers, and health professionals.

California, one of the nation’s leading science and technology states, has strong connections with the National Academies; more members reside and work in California than in any other state. There is also considerable overlap between the Academies and the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), which numbers 84 National Academies’ members among its Board, Council, and Senior Fellows.

“Behind nearly every study and report we use to guide California policy is a National Academies report,” said Senator Hill. “It is my honor to carry the resolution that honors them on this, their 150th anniversary.”

Senator Hill and the California Science and Technology Policy Fellow Alumni Network are hosting a reception on Monday June 24 for the representatives from the National Academies who are scheduled to be present for the presentation of the resolution. These include the National Academy Foreign Secretary Michael Clegg; Home Secretary Susan Wessler; and Executive Director Kenneth Fulton. (Clegg is a former CCST Council member.)

“The Academies bring together the country’s brightest minds to tackle seemingly intractable policy questions,” said Senator Hill. “They are fundamental.”

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