New York Academy of Sciences

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The New York Academy of Sciences
New York Academy of Sciences logo.gif
Motto Per terras, per celestis, per aerum, per maria (Latin)
Established 1817[1]
Type Non-profit Professional Society
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)[2]
Purpose Science, Education, and Public Policy
Headquarters New York, NY, United States
Area served
Method Donations and Grants
Key people
Ellis Rubinstein, CEO and President
Eunice Miner, Executive Director, 1935-1867
NYAS 40th floor lobby

The New York Academy of Sciences is the third-oldest scientific society and among the most prestigious in the United States. An independent, non-profit organization with more than 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy’s mission is to advance understanding of science and technology. It identifies and promotes scientific advances across disciplines and professional and geographic boundaries, and builds bridges and synergies between institutions and individuals. It helps to expand scientific knowledge by convening leading experts in meetings, seminars, and interdisciplinary conferences, and by disseminating information through both print and electronic media. The president and CEO is Ellis Rubinstein; the current chair of the board of governors of the Academy is Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, The State University of New York (SUNY).


The Academy’s wide range of programs include its internationally acclaimed annual schedule of major interdisciplinary symposia on basic or applied frontier research fields; its robust publishing and dissemination initiatives; its efforts to improve science literacy; and its work in support of the human rights of scientists.

Since 2002, under the leadership of President Ellis Rubinstein, the Academy has undertaken new programs to better serve its constituencies by fostering the creation of mini-communities of common interest. These include the Frontiers of Science Program of interdisciplinary discussion groups at the cutting edge of emerging areas in biological sciences; the Science Alliance program, which encompasses 30 higher education institutions from throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia and offers career-oriented programming for graduate students and postdocs; and the Physical Sciences and Engineering program, which provides a novel and critical forum for the exchange of new ideas and data in emerging interdisciplinary areas. Areas of particular emphasis at the Academy in recent years include fields like systems biology, genome integrity, emerging infectious diseases, nanobiotechnology, cosmology, green science and sustainability, string theory, and quantitative finance, among others.

The Academy has an extensive publishing program, anchored by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the oldest (since 1823) continuously published scientific series in the U.S. In recent years, the Academy also has developed an innovative and extensive series of electronic briefings, online multimedia postings that offer overviews of NYAS and partner events for worldwide scientific audiences.

One of the Academy’s initiatives is Scientists Without Borders, a collaborative program with the United Nations Millennium Project and other key partners. Launched on May 12, 2008, Scientists Without Borders is designed to establish a global network of scientists, institutions, academies, industry experts and funding agencies that will address health and other crucial needs of the developing world.

The Academy’s most recent initiative is The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science. The institute is generating a coordinated network across sectors, disciplines, and geographies that promotes open communication; encourages exchange of information and resources; nurtures the next generation of scientists; and drives community intervention design and public policy changes related to the future of food and nutrition.


Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences (originally called the Lyceum of Natural History) has evolved from a notable institution in the greater New York area to one of the most significant organizations in the international scientific community. Since its beginnings, Academy membership has included prominent leaders in the sciences, business, academia and government, including Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, Margaret Mead, and Albert Einstein. Prior to 1877 the Academy only admitted men, but on November 5, 1877, they elected Erminnie A. Smith the first female member. [3] In 2007, members included an unprecedented number of Nobel Laureates (23) on its advisory President’s Council alone and other luminaries from all walks of life.

Academy accomplishments include many historic “firsts,” such as publication of the first studies on environmental pollution (1876)[citation needed]; the first conference on antibiotics (1946)[citation needed]; a groundbreaking gathering on the cardiovascular effects of smoking (1960)[citation needed]; and the world’s first major conferences on AIDS (1983)[citation needed] and SARS (2003)[citation needed]. The Academy also held landmark conferences on the special challenges facing women in science (1998)[citation needed]; music and neuroscience (2000)[citation needed]; and a conference in China on the Frontiers of Biomedical Science (2005)[citation needed]. NYAS members also played prominent roles in the establishment of New York University (1831)[citation needed] and the American Museum of Natural History (1858)[citation needed].

In 2006, the Academy moved into a new home on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center, one of the world’s most technologically advanced “green” buildings in New York. With state-of-the-art meeting facilities, the 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) space better meets the needs of the Academy’s growing membership and expanding programs.[citation needed]

Human Rights of Scientists Award[edit]

The Committee on the Human Rights of Scientists was created in 1978 to support and promote the human rights of scientists, health professionals, engineers, and educators around the world. The committee intervenes on behalf of colleagues in the sciences who have been detained, imprisoned, exiled, or deprived of the rights to pursue science, communicate their findings to their peers and the general public, and travel freely.

The full name is "Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award", it is given to scientists for their contributions to safeguard or advance the human rights of scientists all across the world. It was retitled in 1986.[4]


  1. ^ New York Academy of Sciences, accessed October 28, 2015
  2. ^ New York Academy of Sciences, accessed October 28, 2015
  3. ^ Fairchild, Herman Le Roy (1887). A History of the New York Academy of Sciences, Formerly the Lyceum of Natural History. New York Academy of Sciences. p. 133. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  4. ^


  • 'About the New York Academy of Sciences',, 2005. Retrieved December 21, 2005.
  • D. Sloan, 'Science in New York City, 1867-1907', Isis 71 (March 1980), pp. 35–76.
  • Simon Baatz, Knowledge, Culture, and Science in the Metropolis: The New York Academy of Sciences, 1817–1970, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, New York, NY, 1990, Volume 584
  • About the New York Academy of Sciences,
  • For Science Academy, Move to World Trade Center Is Like Going Home, The New York Times, October 30, 2006
  • Building Tomorrow Today, The New York Academy of Sciences Annual Report, 2006–07,

External links[edit]