United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 whose members serve pro bono
Pro bono
Pro bono publico is a Latin phrase generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms...

as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy
National academy
A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research activities and standards for academic disciplines, most frequently in the sciences but also the humanities. Typically the country's learned societies in...

, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The National Academy of Sciences is part of the National Academies
United States National Academies
The United States National Academies comprises four organizations:* National Academy of Sciences * National Academy of Engineering * Institute of Medicine * National Research Council...

, which also includes:
  • National Academy of Engineering
    National Academy of Engineering
    The National Academy of Engineering is a government-created non-profit institution in the United States, that was founded in 1964 under the same congressional act that led to the founding of the National Academy of Sciences...

  • Institute of Medicine
    Institute of Medicine
    The Institute of Medicine is a not-for-profit, non-governmental American organization founded in 1970, under the congressional charter of the National Academy of Sciences...

  • National Research Council
    United States National Research Council
    The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...


The group holds a congressional charter
Congressional charter
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code....

 under Title 36 of the United States Code
Title 36 of the United States Code
Title 36 of the United States Code outlines the role of Patriotic Societies and Observances in the United States Code.*Subtitle I—Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies*Subtitle II—Patriotic and National Organizations...

The Act of Incorporation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 on March 3, 1863, created the National Academy of Sciences and named 50 charter members.