This article needs to be updated.January 2021)(
|Motto||Per terras, per celestis, per aerum, per maria (Latin)|
|Type||Nonprofit professional society|
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)
|Purpose||Science, education, and public policy|
|Headquarters||New York, New York, United States|
|Method||Donations and grants|
|Nicholas Dirks, incoming CEO and president|
Eunice Miner, executive director, 1935-1967
Samuel L. Mitchill, founder
The New York Academy of Sciences (originally the Lyceum of Natural History) was founded in January 1817. It is one of the oldest scientific societies in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization with more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the academy's mission is "to advance scientific research and knowledge; to support scientific literacy; and to promote the resolution of society's global challenges through science-based solutions". The incoming president and CEO is Nicholas Dirks; the current chair of the board of governors of the academy is NYU professor and longtime senior vice president of all research for IBM, Paul Horn. He succeeds Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, The State University of New York (SUNY).
Founded on January 29, 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences was originally called the Lyceum of Natural History. Convened by the Academy's founder and first President, Samuel L. Mitchill, the first meeting of the Lyceum took place at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, located on Barclay Street near Broadway in lower Manhattan. The principal activities of the early Lyceum focused on hosting lectures, collecting natural history specimens, and establishing a library. In 1823, the Lyceum began publishing its own scientific journal, then the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York, now the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. By 1826 the Lyceum owned "the richest collection of reptiles and fish in the country," however a fire in 1866 destroyed the collection completely. Following the fire, the Academy turned its focus away from collecting and instead to research, scientific publishing, and disseminating scientific information.
From the outset, the New York Academy of Sciences membership was unique among scientific societies, with a democratic structure that allowed anyone to become a member, from laymen to respected professional scientists. For that reason, the membership has always included a mix of scientists, business people, academics, those working in government, and public citizens with an interest in science. Prominent members have included two United States Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as numerous well-known scientists such as Asa Gray (who served as the Superintendent of the Academy starting in 1836),John James Audubon,Alexander Graham Bell,Thomas Edison,Louis Pasteur,Charles Darwin, and Margaret Mead (who served for a time as the Vice President of the Academy). Prior to 1877, the Academy only admitted men, but on November 5, 1877, they elected Erminnie A. Smith the first female member. Membership has also included numerous Nobel Prize winners over the years.
The Academy has made significant contributions to the scientific community during the course of its history, including publishing one of the first studies on environmental pollution in 1876; conducting a scientific survey of Puerto Rico from 1907 to 1934; the first conference on antibiotics on 21 July 1948; hosting an important gathering and publishing the first volume on the cardiovascular effects of smoking in 1960; the founding of a Women in science Committee in 1977; the world's first major scientific conference on AIDS in 1983; and a conference on SARS in 2003.
In 2006, the Academy moved into its current home on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center.
Published since 1823, the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (first published as the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York) is one of the oldest continuously published scientific serials in the United States.
The Sciences was a popular science magazine published by the Academy from 1961 to 2001. It worked to bridge the sciences and culture, winning seven National Magazine Awards during its history.
The Junior Academy is a community under the New York Academy of the Sciences that aims to connect students ages 13 to 17. Each year, 1,000 students from around the world are selected to be a part of the program and compete in 10-week long challenges. Students work together on an online platform, Launchpad, to collaborate with students from around the world and a mentor. The Junior Academy currently has an acceptance rate of 10%.
The Committee on 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 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. Awardees have included: Andrei Sakharov (1979); Man-Yee Betty Tsang (2000); Óscar Elías Biscet (2008); and Kamiar and Arash Alaei (2009).
The New York Academy of Sciences presents a number of awards to support scientists and their research. As of 2020, those awards were:
Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. Blavatnik awards are for select postdoctoral scientists in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and for young faculty from research institutions based in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel. These unrestricted cash grants for all the Blavatnik Awards are provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
Innovators in Science Award celebrates promising early-career scientists' and senior scientists' contributions to biomedical science and is intended to support their continued innovative research.
James McKeen Cattell Award is to recognize outstanding doctoral dissertations in psychology.
Travel Fellowships are awarded to qualified early- career researchers who are underrepresented on science careers in order to help defray the cost of travel to Academy symposia.
Previous Academy awards include the A. Cressy Morrison Prize ( also known as the Morrison Astronomy Prize) named for the chemist and former president of the Academy. The prize was established in 1926 was presented until at least 1945. Notable recipients were Hans Bethe (1938),John Archibald Wheeler (1945), Max J. Herzberger (1945),Donald H. Menzel (1926), H. von Zeipel (1930), R. E. Marshak (1940).