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7Che ;NA7LIOJ~AL ACADEMY of SCIENCES by REXMOND C. COCHRANE
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Title page photograph by David Blume Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Cochrane, Rexomond Canning, 1912- The National Academy of Sciences Includes bibliographical references. 1. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D. C. I. Title. II. Title: The first hundred years, 1863-1963. Qll.N2862C6 506'.1'73 77-21605 ISBN 0-309-02518-4 Ava~lablefrom Printing and Publishing Office National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America
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Foreword Among the oldest and most enduring of American institutions are those that have been devoted to the encouragement of the arts and the sciences. The eighteenth century saw the establishment of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in ~ 743 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston in ~80. During the nineteenth century, a great many scientific societies came and went, and a few in individual disciplines achieved permanence. But the century also witnessed the founding of three major organizations with broadly interdisciplinary interests: the Smithsonian Institution in ~846; the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists, which in ~848 became the American Association for the Promotion (later, Advancement) of Science; and the National Academy of Sciences in 863. The desirability of producing a history of the first hundred years of the National Academy was first discussed in a Council meeting in ~ 96 ~ and revived again in ~ 966, with the ultimate result that Rexmond C. Cochrane was commissioned to prepare such a history. He would be building upon Frederick True's history, written to commemorate the Academy's Semicentennial in ~9~3. v
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vie / Foreword A word about the consolidation and reordering of the Academy's records into systematic archives is essential to an understanding of the circumstances under which the history was written. Having been without a permanent home from its inception until it occupied its present site in ~<~4, the Academy was t`,rcec! t`, `'perate with widely scattered and incomplete records. In ~9~6, with the establishment of the National Research Council, a Central File for its records was organized. This file, together with the accumulated records and documents of more than a half century of Academy history, which had long been stored at the Smithsonian Institution, was in ~4 brought to the new Academy building on Constitution Avenue a week before its dedication. By ~963 the volume of source materials for a hundred-year history was awesome; but the records were stored in various areas in the Academy building and, to some extent, not readily and uniformly accessible. The Academy's archives were established late in ~966. A small staff was mobilized, and the work of collecting and organizing the records of the Academy and the National Research Council began under the direction of Jean R. St. Clair, Archivist, who since ~946 had been in charge of the records of the executive office of the Research Council and, later, of the Academy as well. The Centennial history and the archives program were begun at the same time, so that in some instances the records were organized and became available just in time for the historian's next chapter. The present volume therefore reflects, to some extent, the scope of the material now in the archives. Because only a few of our Academy members have the time and the opportunity to examine our archival material in any detail, it was thought that a historical account, pre- sented in narrative form, would make it possible for members and other interested persons to become acquainted with some of the milestones in the Academy's history, as well as with the individuals who have contributed significantly to our institution since its incep- tion more than a century ago. The time and effort of a great many people have gone into the preparation of a work of this scope and magnitude. On behalf of the Academy, I wish to thank Mr. Cochrane, who prepared the manu- script; Lee Anna Thick, who served as general editor; and Patricia W. Wakefield, who not only performed much of the research but who has had the longest service with the project and has contributed in innumerable ways to its ultimate realization.
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Foreword I vii The work of Jean St. Clair as Archivist has already been acknowl- edged and thanks are due, also, to the Deputy Archivist, Paul K. McClure, and Thomas E. Mirabile of the archives staff, whose inti- mate knowledge of the Academy collections was a major factor in the documentation of the history. Janice F. Goldblum, also of the archives staff, was of great assistance in locating the unusual collection of photographs that illustrates the book. Rita M. Bruin of the Executive Office performed an indispensable task in typing and retyping some twelve hundred pages of manuscript. James L. Olsen, Librarian of the Academy, furnished the kind of guidance and assistance upon which both historians and researchers depend so greatly. At several stages in the preparation of the manuscript, chapters were sent to the following distinguished members of the Academy, who were asked to read them and comment in the light of relevance to their fields of special interest: Roger Adams, Allen V. Astin, Robert F. Bacher, Philip Bard, Detlev W. Bronk, Harrison Brown, Vannevar Bush, Leonard Carmichael, James B. Conant, Lee A. DuBridge, William A. Fowler, Philip Handler, Caryl P. Haskins, Sterling B. Hendricks, Joel H. Hildebrand, Alexander Hollaender, George B. Kistiakowsky, Robert F. Loeb, Alfred L. Loomis, Walsh McDermott, Saunders Mac Lane, Marston Morse, W. Albert Noyes, fir., I. 1. Rabi, Roger Revelle, William I Robbins, William W. Rubey, Carl F. Schmidt, Frederick Seitz, Charles Donald Shane (and Mrs. Shane), Harlow Shapley, Julius A. Stratton, Merle A. Tuve, Harold C. Urey, Alexander Wetmore, Benjamin H. Willier, and Abel Wolman. Other highly qualified scholars and staff members who were con- sulted include: Harold l. Coolidge, George B. Darling, Charles C. Dunham, L. R. Hafstad, Frederick L. Hovde, Hugh Odishaw, Irvin Stewart, and Carroll Wilson. To all of these who took the time and trouble to offer their detailed counsel and suggestions, critical and otherwise, we are most grateful. To the extent possible, these contributions are reflected in the present text. FREDERICK SEITZ Past President
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Contents 1 THE ACADEMY S ANTECEDENTS SCIENTISTS AND SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATIONS IN MID- CENTURY AMERICA THE INCORPORATION AND ORGANIZATION OF THE ACADEMY THE GOVERNMENT CALLS UPON THE ACADEMY Alexander Dallas Bache (1863- 1867), 79 5 POSTBELLUM YEARS AND THE CRISIS WITHIN THE ACADEMY Joseph Henry (1868- 1878), 1 oo 6 THE END OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY William Barton Rogers (1879-1882), 134 Othniel Charles Marsh (1883-1895),139 Wolcott Gibbs (1895- 1 goo), 157 THE ACADEMY MARKS ITS SEMICENTENNIAL Alexander Agassiz ( l go 1 - 1907), 165 Ira Remsen (1907-1913),179 1X 1 16 43 79 100 34 65
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X / Contents 8 WORLD WAR I AND THE CREATION OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL William Henry Welch (1913- 1917), 200 Charles Doolittle Walcott (1917- 1923), 218 THE RESEARCH COUNCIL S PERMANENT STATUS AND THE ACADEMY S NEW HOME 10 THE TWENTIES: NEW HORIZONS IN SCIENCE Albert Abraham Michelson (1923-1927),281 Thomas Hunt Morgan (1927-1931),3oo 11 THE ACADEMY DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION William Wallace Campbell (1931 - 1935), 317 12 THE NEW DEAL AND THE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD Frank Rattray Lillie (1935- 1939), 369 13 THE ACADEMY IN WORLD WAR II Frank Baldwin Jewett (1939- 1947), 382 14 THE POSTWAR ORGANIZATION OF SCIENCE 15 THE YEARS BETWEEN THE WARS Alfred] Newton Richards (1947-1950),475 6 THE ACADEMY IN THE FIFTIES—BEGINNINGS OF THE SPACE AGE Detlev Wulf Bronk (1950- 1962), 517 17 ACADEMY CENTENNIAL Frederick Seitz (1962- 1969), 565 APPEN D IXES A Act of Incorporation: National Academy of Sciences B Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences at the Meeting Held for Organization, April ~ 863 C Constitution and By-Laws of the National Academy of Sciences, Adopted January ~864 D Members and Foreign Associates of the National Academy of Sciences, ~ 863- ~ 963, and Year of Election 200 242 28~ 3~7 347 382 433 475 5~7 565 595 598 606 614
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Contents / Xi E Officers and Members of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 1863-1963 F Executive Orders Defining the Duties and Functions of the National Research Council G Chairmen of the National Research Council H Executive Secretaries and Executive Officers of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council I Executive Orders Relating to the Science Advisory Board NAME INDEX SUBJECT INDEX 634 644 648 650 652 657 671
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Illustrations The Smithsonian Institution cat ~ 860, 20 Louis Agassiz lecturing at Penikese, 37 Civil War review on Pennsylvania Avenue, 48 The city of Washington in ~869, 49 Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, so The original Act of Incorporation of the National Academy of Sciences, 54 Letter from Louis Agassiz to Alexander D. Bache, March 6, ~ 863, 57 The founders of the Academy portrayed with President Abraham Lincoln in painting by Albert Herter, 59 Two newspaper accounts of the first meeting of the Academy, 70 The membership diploma of the Academy, 72 Alexander Dallas Bache, President of the Academy, ~863-~867, 80 Letter from Secretary of the Treasury Chase requesting a com- mittee on weights, measures, and coins, 82 Joseph Henry, President of the Academy, ~ 868- ~ 878, ~ 0 ~ The steamer Polaris at the Washington Navy Yard in ~ 87 I, ~ ~ 2 · — X11
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Contents I xiii Joseph Henry presiding over meeting of the Academy in the spring of ~874 at the Smithsonian Institution, ~23 Ferdinand V. Hayden conducting U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey, ~29 William Barton Rogers, President of the Academy, ~879-~882, ~35 Othniel Charles Marsh, President of the Academy, ~ 883-~ 895, Wolcott Gibbs, President of the Academy, ~8gs-~goo, ~58 Alexander Agassiz, President of the Academy, ~ go ~ - ~ 907, ~ 66 Ira Remsen, President of the Academy, ~ 907- ~ 9 ~ 3, ~ 80 Edwin Bidwell Wilson, Managing Editor of the Academy's Proceedings for fifty years, ~98 William Henry Welch, President of the Academy, ~ 9 ~ 3- ~ 9 ~ 7, 20 Laborers excavating a ditch through Cucaracha slide, Panama Canal, 205 George Ellery Hale, Chairman of the National Research Council ~9~6-~9~9, 2~0 George E. Hale, Arthur A. Noyes, and Robert A. Millikan,2 ~ 6 Charles Doolittle Walcott, President of the Academy, 97-93, 2~9 Robert A. Millikan and members of the NRC staff during World War I, 224 Eighteen-foot horns for locating invisible aircraft, 230 John Campbell Merriam, Chairman of the National Research Council, ~ 9 ~ 8- ~ 9 ~ 9, and Chairman of the National Research Council Executive Board, ~ 92 ~ - ~ 923, 247 James Roland Angell, Chairman of the National Research Council i9~9-~920, 25~ Henry Andrews Bumstead, Chairman of the National Research Council, July-December, ~920, ~53 Vernon Lyman Kellogg, Permanent Secretary of the National Research Council, ~ 920- ~ 93 I, 254 National Research Council staff in ~923, 270 Cornerstone ceremonies for the Academy building, 273 The Academy building under construction, 274 1, The completed Academy building, 275 Albert A. Michelson, Charles D. Walcott, Vernon L. Kellogg, President Coolidge, John C. Merriam, Bishop James E. Freeman, and Gano Dunn at the dedication of the Academy building, 278 The Great Hall of the Academy, 279 Albert Abraham Michelson, President of the Academy, ~923-~927, 282 Albert A. Michelson, Albert Einstein, and Robert A. Millikan, 283