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National Academy of Sciences

medal, awarded and science

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. An organization incorporated by act of Congress on INIarch 3, 1863, to investigate. experiment. and report on any subject. of science or art. when called upon to do so by any department of the t nited States Government. The membership was limited to fifty till 1870, sinee when it has never had more than one hundred members at a time; and at the annual elections no more than five names are con.side•ed. The members are grouped into committees on : ( 1 ) mathematics and astronomy; (2) physics and engine?ring; (3) chemistry; (4) geology and paleontology.; (5) biology; and (6) anthropology. Admission to the Academy is through the recommendation of the committee on the subject in which the nominee is a specialist. There are also fifty foreign associates. Two animal meetings are held. The Academy has prepared a number of official reports on subjects that call for special scientific advice, among which may be mentioned: On the Protection of the Bottoms of Iron Ves sels (1864); On the Preservation of the Writ ing of the Original Declaration of Independence (1879) ; On the Forest Policy for the Forested Lands of the United States (1897) ; and Con cerning the Value of the Metric System (1902).

Several of the members have left funds to the Academy for use in research in various branches of science, and also for medals, of \Illicit there are now four that are awarded at intervals. Of these the Draper medal is awarded every two years for the most important discovery in as tronomical ribysies. The Watson medal is given for any astronomical discovery or any astronomi cal work worthy of special reward; the J. Law rence Smith medal is awarded to students of meteoric bodies; the Barnard medal is given for discoveries in physical science. The publications of the Academy include seven quarto volumes of memoirs and four octavo volumes of biological memoirs and annual reports made to the t;ov e•nnent. The presidents, who are chosen for the term of six years, have been Alexander Dallas Bache (1863-67), Joseph Henry ( 1867 78). William B. Rogers (1879-82), O. C. Marsh (1853-95), 'Wolcott Gibbs (1895-1900), and Alex ander Agassiz (1901—).