Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

Because membership is achieved by election, there is no membership application process. Although many names are suggested informally, only Academy members may submit formal nominations. Consideration of a candidate begins with his or her nomination, followed by an extensive and careful vetting process that results in a final ballot at the Academy's annual meeting in April each year.  Currently, a maximum of 84 members may be elected annually. Members must be U.S. citizens; non-citizens are elected as foreign associates, with a maximum of 21 elected annually. 

Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,380 members and nearly 470 foreign associates, of whom approximately 185 have received Nobel prizes.

Visit these online resources to learn more about our members, their work, and their contributions to science: 

    • Member Profiles – Search the profiles of Academy members by name, institution, scientific discipline, and keyword.
    • InterViews – Audio podcasts that provide first-person accounts of the lives and work of Academy members. Members talk about what inspired them to choose a career in science and describe some of the most fascinating aspects of their research.
    • Biographical Memoirs – Accounts of the personal and scholarly lives of deceased Academy members, which provide a unique view of the history of science in America.
    • Historical Highlights – This work relates selected events in the history of the National Academy of Sciences focusing on the terms of the various presidents, from the first, Alexander D. Bache—the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin—to Ralph J. Cicerone.

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