Who We AreAdvancing Science, Engineering and Medicine

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The Academies

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was created in 1863 by a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Under this charter, the NAS provides advice to the federal government “whenever called upon” in any area of science and technology. To broaden the resources available to the NAS, it established the National Research Council in 1916. Two other organizations established under the NAS charter collaborate in conducting policy studies and advancing science, engineering, and medicine—the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), founded in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), founded in 1970. The NAS, NAE, and IOM are honorific societies; new members are elected annually, and membership is considered a high honor.

The NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC share in the responsibility for advising the federal government, upon request and without fee, on questions of science, technology, and health policy. Today these organizations produce groundbreaking reports that help shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. Read more about the organization and its history.

Dr. Arnold O. BeckmanArnold and Mabel Beckman

Arnold O. Beckman was a leader in establishing the modern instrumentation industry. In 1935 he founded Beckman Instruments with the invention of the acidimeter, a forerunner of the modern pH meter. This indispensable tool in analytical chemistry earned Dr. Beckman a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside Edison, Bell, Ford, and Pasteur.

Dr. Beckman was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and he was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the National Medal of Science, and the Presidential Citizens Medal. He received the National Academy of Sciences' Public Welfare Medal—its most prestigious award—for his leadership in analytical instrumentation and his deep and abiding concern for the vitality of the nation's scientific enterprise.

Deeply grateful to the scientific community that nurtured his success, Dr. Beckman directed his philanthropic efforts to the sciences. In September 1977, Dr. and Mrs. Beckman established the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Their generous gifts have benefitted many medical and scientific institutions.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center

As a scientist and a businessman, Dr. Beckman envisioned a West Coast center where experts could discuss matters of science and technology, comparable to the headquarters of the NAS and the NAE in Washington, DC. A grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, and The Irvine Company's donation of seven acres on the crest of a hill adjacent to the campus of the University of California, Irvine made this vision a reality. Designed by the renowned architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering opened its doors in April, 1988, and the Beckman Center continues to be operated by the academies as their West Coast location for both program activity and conferences.