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About the National Academies

About the National Academies

“The Academy shall, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art…”

With those words, Congress established the National Academy of Sciences in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The Academy expanded to include the National Research Council in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964 and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.
The combined institutions now are called the National Academies, whose headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Study facilities are in Irvine, Calif., and Woods Hole, Mass.
 Most of the Academies’ work, executed primarily through the National Research Council, includes hundreds of policy studies each year on a wide range of subjects that include health, technology, education, welfare, the environment, national security and transportation.
Their reports have resulted in major national policy developments. Among them:
l The National Parks system
l Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
l Recommended dietary allowances
l Policies governing atomic radiation and the nuclear industry
l Changes in the licensing and distribution of prescription drugs
l The Human Genome Project
l Technology studies and projects include “Global Networks and Local Values,” and “Information Systems Trustworthiness.”
l Current projects on education and environmental issues include  “Appropriate Use of Educational Testing,”  “Abrupt Climate Change: Implications for Science and Public Policy,” and “Attracting Science and Mathematics Ph.D.s to Secondary School Teaching.”
Information on the National Academies may be obtained by visiting their Web site at

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