Happy 10-Year Anniversary, Mars Rovers!

marsrover-800wJanuary marks the 10-year anniversary of the landings on Mars of rovers Spirit and Opportunity. These marvels of engineering have inspired students all over the world to continue in the quest for understanding of the solar system. We’ve produced a number of reports that have helped to define the scientific goals and objectives for exploration of Mars. All are free to download.

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the … [more]
Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life … [more]
Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars Recent spacecraft and robotic probes to Mars have yielded data that are changing our understanding significantly about the possibility of existing or past life on that planet. Coupled with advances in biology and life-detection techniques, these … [more]
Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016 The United States and the former Soviet Union have sent spacecraft to mars as early as 1966, with Mars’ exploration being priority for NASA spacecraft. Both sides, however, have failed as well as succeed. The inability to determine if life exists … [more]
Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions NASA maintains a planetary protection policy to avoid the forward biological contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms, and back biological contamination of Earth from the return of extraterrestrial materials by spaceflight missions. … [more]
Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities Within the Office of Space Science of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) special importance is attached to exploration of the planet Mars, because it is the most like Earth of the planets in the solar system and the place … [more]

Changes to NAP.edu: Citation Manager, Sharing, Embed Widget

We’re always looking for ways that we can improve the experience of browsing, reading, and researching on NAP.edu, so it’s great to hear from frequent visitors about how they use the site and changes they’d like to see. Recently, we took some feedback and moved a few things around on the catalog page (the primary page for each book on NAP.edu).


First up are the share tools, which allow you to share to social networks and other places around the web with a single click. They used to be at the very bottom of the page, but we were hearing that they were a little hard to find there, so they will now appear along the very right hand side of the page when you’re viewing the site on a desktop computer and as a grey “Share” bar at the bottom of the page when you’re looking at a tablet or smartphone.

Another move that we made were the links to embed a book into your website or to email the page to a friend. That also used to be in that hard-to-find share bar at the bottom of each page, but will now be at the top of the right column in each page.

Last but definitely not least is the citations, where you can quickly copy and paste a citation to a book or download the citation in BibTeX, EndNote, or RefMan formats. The link to this used to be in the upper right column, but its now lost its “manager” title (it’s a lateral move) and has been moved it into the bottom of the “Overview” tab of each book.

If you want to see these changes in action, check them out on one of our newer releases. And if you have any comments on the changes or other suggestions on ways we could improve the website, feel free to send us feedback about what you’d like to see.



The Top 20 Most Popular Titles Of 2013

As we approach the end of the year, we’re taking a quick look back at the best selling books that were released in 2013. In just the top 20 titles of the year, we can see the incredible variety of topics covered in the reports of the National Academies, including education, cancer care, preventing obesity, alternative vehicles and fuels, veterinary medicine, data, solar and space physics, veteran’s health, mathematical sciences, climate change and sports-related concussions.

Our list, ranked from our #1 top seller of 2013, is below. When you’re done looking through the list, take a little time to browse through all of the topics we cover.

1. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States

Next Generation Science Standards identifies the science all K-12 students should know. These new standards are based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The National Research Council, the … [more]

2. Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America

America’s health care system has become too complex and costly to continue business as usual. Best Care at Lower Cost explains that inefficiencies, an overwhelming amount of data, and other economic and quality barriers hinder progress … [more]

3. U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. Although life expectancy and survival rates in the United States have improved dramatically over the past century, Americans live shorter lives … [more]

4. Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis

In the United States, approximately 14 million people have had cancer and more than 1.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. However, more than a decade after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) first studied the quality of cancer care, the … [more]

5. Interprofessional Education for Collaboration: Learning How to Improve Health from Interprofessional Models Across the Continuum of Education to Practice: Workshop Summary

Every year, the Global Forum undertakes two workshops whose topics are selected by the more than 55 members of the Forum. It was decided in this first year of the Forum’s existence that the workshops should lay the foundation for future work of … [more]

6. Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach

Adolescence is a distinct, yet transient, period of development between childhood and adulthood characterized by increased experimentation and risk-taking, a tendency to discount long-term consequences, and heightened sensitivity to peers and … [more]

7. Alternatives for Managing the Nation’s Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites

Across the United States, thousands of hazardous waste sites are contaminated with chemicals that prevent the underlying groundwater from meeting drinking water standards. These include Superfund sites and other facilities that handle and dispose … [more]

8. Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress

Obesity poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, creating serious health, economic, and social consequences for individuals and society. Despite acceleration in efforts to characterize, comprehend, and act on this … [more]

9. Variation in Health Care Spending: Target Decision Making, Not Geography

Health care in the United States is more expensive than in other developed countries, costing $2.7 trillion in 2011, or 17.9 percent of the national gross domestic product. Increasing costs strain budgets at all levels of government and threaten … [more]

10. Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels

For a century, almost all light-duty vehicles (LDVs) have been powered by internal combustion engines operating on petroleum fuels. Energy security concerns about petroleum imports and the effect of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on global … [more]

11. Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis

Data mining of massive data sets is transforming the way we think about crisis response, marketing, entertainment, cybersecurity and national intelligence. Collections of documents, images, videos, and networks are being thought of not merely as … [more]

12. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School

Physical inactivity is a key determinant of health across the lifespan. A lack of activity increases the risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression and others diseases. … [more]

13. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society

From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun’s influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics–the … [more]

14. Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation

Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense … [more]

15. Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families

As of December 2012, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq have resulted in the deployment of about 2.2 million troops; there have been 2,222 US fatalities in OEF and Operation New Dawn (OND)1 … [more]

16. Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine

The U.S. veterinary medical profession contributes to society in diverse ways, from developing drugs and protecting the food supply to treating companion animals and investigating animal diseases in the wild. In a study of the issues related to … [more]

17. The Mathematical Sciences in 2025

The mathematical sciences are part of nearly all aspects of everyday life–the discipline has underpinned such beneficial modern capabilities as Internet search, medical imaging, computer animation, numerical weather predictions, and all types of … [more]

18. Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture

In the past decade, few subjects at the intersection of medicine and sports have generated as much public interest as sports-related concussions – especially among youth. Despite growing awareness of sports-related concussions and campaigns to … [more]

19. Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that … [more]

20. Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward

Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward reviews the science that underpins the Bureau of Land Management’s oversight of free-ranging horses and burros on federal public lands in the western United … [more]

Great Holiday Gifts For Science Enthusiasts

Happy holidays from NAP!

Believe it or not, we’re coming up on the holidays already, and NAP has gift ideas for the science-and-math-minded person in your life, from good reads to science and math fun. And best of all? You can take 25% off of the list price on all these great books and merchandise. Use the code GIFT13 at checkout for a 25% discount.

Women’s Adventures In Science

Women’s Adventures in Science, a biography set of 9 books about contemporary women scientists and their fascinating careers, shows that the path from intellectually curious girl to talented innovator is a unique as the personality and circumstances of each scientist.

Teacher FUNdamentals

Science Teacher FUNdamentals
Math Teacher FUNdamentals

A great gift set for your favorite teacher, our Science and Math FUNdamentals combine our cutting edge STEM education titles and fun items.


Fueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century

Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis

Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra

Fueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century
Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis
Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra

Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities

Math Mug

Prime Time Wrist Watch

Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities
Math Mug
Prime Time Wrist Watch


Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter

Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation

Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society

Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation
Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society

The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes

Einstein Finger Puppet

Higgs Boson Watch

The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes
Einstein Finger Puppet
Higgs Boson Watch


Messaging for Engineering: From Research to Action

Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels

Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age

Messaging for Engineering: From Research to Action
Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels
Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World

Edison Finger Puppet

Leonardo da Vinci Watch

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
Edison Finger Puppet
Leonardo da Vinci Watch

Life Sciences

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Food

Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere

Science, Evolution, and Creationism
Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Food
Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere

Darwin's Gift: To Science and Religion

Dinosaur Mug

Darwin Finger Puppet

Darwin’s Gift: To Science and Religion
Dinosaur Mug
Darwin Finger Puppet

For Science Teachers

Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States
A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

Announcing the Winners of the Next Generation Science Standards Give-away

The results are in for our first Next Generation Science Standards give-away. Congratulations to our grand prize winner: Kirsten P.! She will receive the Next Generation Science Standards Teacher Prize Pack.

Congratulations as well to our four additional winners, who will each receive their own copy of Next Generation Science Standards:

  • Roberta H.
  • Camilo S.
  • Glenda D. F.
  • Tonalee F.

If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry. There will be more opportunities to win a Teacher Prize Pack or a print copy of Next Generation Science Standards.

Growing Old on Planet Earth: Impacts of a Growing Elderly Population

According to a recent UN Population Fund/HelpAge International report, the population of planet Earth is aging quickly. The Global AgeWatch Index studies the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries and finds that, by the year 2050, seniors over the age of 60 will make up one fifth of the population. What are the implications of a growing elderly population? The National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine have produced studies that focus on economic, health care, and social challenges we can anticipate. All are free to download.

Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population (2012)

Paperback: $49.00
ISBN 978-0-309-26196-8

The United States is in the midst of a major demographic shift. In the coming decades, people aged 65 and over will make up an increasingly large percentage of the population: The ratio of people … [more]

The Future of the Sociology of Aging: An Agenda for Action (2013)

Paperback: $37.00
ISBN 978-0-309-29297-9

The aging of the population of the United States is occurring at a time of major economic and social changes. These economic changes include consideration of increases in the age of eligibility … [more]

Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis (2013)

Paperback: $74.00
ISBN 978-0-309-28660-2

In the United States, approximately 14 million people have had cancer and more than 1.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. However, more than a decade after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) … [more]

The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands? (2012)

Paperback: $69.00
ISBN 978-0-309-25665-0

At least 5.6 million to 8 million–nearly one in five–older adults in America have one or more mental health and substance use conditions, which present unique challenges for their care. With the … [more]

Fostering Independence, Participation, and Healthy Aging Through Technology: Workshop Summary (2013)

Paperback: $36.00
ISBN 978-0-309-28517-9

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) have had prominent roles in discussions of aging, disability, and technology for decades. In 1978, Aging and Medical … [more]

Nutrition and Healthy Aging in the Community: Workshop Summary (2012)

Paperback: $40.00
ISBN 978-0-309-25310-9

The U.S. population of older adults is predicted to grow rapidly as “baby boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964) begin to reach 65 years of age. Simultaneously, advancements in medical care … [more]

Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce (2008)

Hardcover: $29.95
ISBN 978-0-309-11587-2

As the first of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers begin reaching age 65 in 2011, they will face a health care workforce that is too small and woefully unprepared to meet their specific health … [more]

Enter to Win A Copy of the Next Generation Science Standards Book

Whether your state has already adopted the Next Generation Science Standards or is still waiting in line, you need to be prepared for the changes ahead. And we’re offering the chance to win a prize pack with all the resources you’ll need to implement the NGSS.

The first step is simple. Using the widget at the bottom of this post, tell us what inspired you to get involved in science education and you’ll instantly have three entries in the bag. You can earn extra entries by liking us on Facebook, tweeting, following our Pinterest boards, and more. The more you do, the better your chance of winning one of our five prizes.

One grand prize winner will receive the Next Generation Science Standards Teacher Prize Pack:


  • The print version of Next Generation Science Standards
  • A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
  • Ready, Set, Science!
  • A Disappearing Dinosaur Mug
  • Three finger puppets: Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and George Washington Carver
  • All included in a limited-edition 150th Anniversary National Academy of Sciences tote bag!

Plus, four more winners will receive their own copy of Next Generation Science Standards.

You only have two weeks to improve your chances. At midnight, October 19, the giveaway will end and we’ll randomly select the winners.

Don’t get left behind, start earning entries now. And good luck!

Enter National Academy Press’ NGSS Giveaway

What’s on Your Summer Reading List? See Our Top Picks!

Happy first day of summer!

Take this time to relax and indulge in inspiring vacation reads about innovation and scientific discovery. Recharge with this unique selection of titles that will set your mind soaring and take your imagination on new adventures.

Save 25% on ALL titles listed. Use discount code X3READ when you order online. Discount may not be combined with any other special or applied to previous purchase. Offer expires 9/21/13.

To get you started, we recommend these top titles:

The Grid

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The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World320 pages | Hardcover | Price: $25.15The electrical grid goes everywhere — it’s the largest and most complex machine ever made. Yet the system is built in such a way that the bigger it gets, the more inevitable its collapse.

Named the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century… [more]

Snooze... or Lose!

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Snooze… or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits256 pages | Hardcover | Price: $22.45Walk into any first-period high school classroom and it’s obvious: teenagers are exhausted. Sleep deprivation is an epidemic as widespread as obesity and just as damaging. Fortunately, science has answers and Dr. Helene Emsellem has solutions that all parents… [more]

Nobel Prize Women in Science

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Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries, Second Edition464 pages | Paperback | Price: $17.95Since 1901 there have been over three hundred recipients of the Nobel Prize in the sciences. Only ten of them — about 3 percent — have been women. Why? In this updated version of Nobel Prize Women in Science, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores… [more]

Struck by Lightning

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Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities270 pages | Paperback | Price: $20.65From terrorist attacks to big money jackpots, Struck by Lightning deconstructs the odds and oddities of chance, examining both the relevant and irreverent role of randomness in our everyday lives. Human beings have long been both fascinated and… [more]

Darwin's Gift

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Darwin’s Gift: To Science and Religion256 pages | Hardcover | Price: $22.45With the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature’s diversity. This was to be his gift to science and… [more]

America's Energy Future

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America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition184 pages | Paperback | Price: $22.45Energy production and use touch our lives in countless ways. We are reminded of the cost of energy every time we fill up at the gas pump, pay an electricity bill, or purchase an airline ticket. Energy use also has important indirect impacts, not all of which… [more]

America's Climate Choices

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America’s Climate Choices144 pages | Paperback | Price: $26.95Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further… [more]

Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System

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Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System146 pages | Paperback | Price: $44.10The electric power delivery system that carries electricity from large central generators to customers could be severely damaged by a small number of well-informed attackers. The system is inherently vulnerable because transmission lines may span hundreds of… [more]

U.S. Health in International Perspective

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U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health420 pages | Paperback | Price: $64.80The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. Although life expectancy and survival rates in the United States have improved dramatically over the past century, Americans live shorter lives and… [more]

Changing the Conversation

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Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering164 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.45Can the United States continue to lead the world in innovation? The answer may hinge in part on how well the public understands engineering, a key component of the ‘innovation engine’. A related concern is how to encourage young people–particularly girls and… [more]

Fueling Innovation and Discovery

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Fueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century57 pages | Paperback | Price: $17.95The mathematical sciences are part of everyday life. Modern communication, transportation, science, engineering, technology, medicine, manufacturing, security, and finance all depend on the mathematical sciences. Fueling Innovation and Discovery[more]

Gorilla Mountain

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Gorilla Mountain: The Story of Wildlife Biologist Amy Vedder128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Amy Vedder leads a wild life. How many people can say they were once a member of a mountain gorilla family? Amy Vedder is a wildlife biologist, a scientist who studies animals and their behavior. She uses her knowledge to save animals whose lives and habitats… [more]

Bone Detective

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Bone Detective: The Story of Forensic Anthropologist Diane France128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Diane France loves bones. Why? Because they talk to her. Every skeleton she meets whispers secrets about the life and death of its owner. Diane France can hear those secrets because she’s a forensic anthropologist, a bone detective. She has the science skills… [more]

Robo World

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Robo World: The Story of Robot Designer Cynthia Breazeal128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Cynthia Breazeal is a creature creator. Armed with electronic gadgets, software programs, and her endless imagination, she creates lifelike machines that can respond to the world around them. Cynthia Breazeal is a roboticist, a scientist who designs, builds, and… [more]

Space Rocks

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Space Rocks: The Story of Planetary Geologist Adriana Ocampo128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Adriana Ocampo grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dreaming about exploring planets. She never doubted that all her dreams would come true someday. How did Adriana land a job with NASA, the U.S. space agency, while still in her teens? How did a robot parked on… [more]

Beyond Jupiter

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Beyond Jupiter: The Story of Planetary Astronomer Heidi Hammel128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Heidi Hammel is an out-of-this world explorer. With her feet planted firmly on Earth, she takes trips millions of miles out into space. How does she do this? Heidi Hammel is a planetary astronomer, a scientist who uses the world’s most powerful telescopes to… [more]

Nature's Machines

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Nature’s Machines: The Story of Biomechanist Mimi Koehl128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Mimi Koehl tinkers with machines. Some are so tiny they can’t be seen by the naked eye, and some disappeared millions of years ago. But Mimi isn’t a mechanic. She’s a biomechanist. Mimi Koehl uses engineering and physics to study the designs of living things… [more]

Prime Obsession

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Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics448 pages | Hardcover | Price: $25.15In August 1859 Bernhard Riemann, a little-known 32-year old mathematician, presented a paper to the Berlin Academy titled: “On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity.” In the middle of that paper, Riemann made an incidental remark, a guess, a… [more]

Einstein Defiant

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Einstein Defiant: Genius Versus Genius in the Quantum Revolution356 pages | Hardcover | Price: $25.15“I find the idea quite intolerable that an electron exposed to radiation should choose of its own free will, not only its moment to jump off, but also its direction. In that case, I would rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a… [more]

Out of Thin Air

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Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere296 pages | Hardcover | Price: $25.15For 65 million years dinosaurs ruled the Earth–until a deadly asteroid forced their extinction. But what accounts for the incredible longevity of dinosaurs? A renowned scientist now provides a startling explanation that is rewriting the history of the Age of… [more]

Forecast Earth

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Forecast Earth: The Story of Climate Scientist Inez Fung128 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Inez Fung forecasts the future, a future when Earth could look and feel a lot different than it does now. Why care about climate change? Because it affects every living thing on Earth, including you. What if the climate where you live began to change… [more]

Empire of Light

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Empire of Light: A History of Discovery in Science and Art248 pages | Paperback | Price: $22.45In Empire of Light, Sidney Perkowitz combines the expertise of a physicist with the vision of an art connoisseur and the skill of an accomplished writer to offer a unique view of the most fundamental feature of the universe: light.

Empire of… [more]

Mendel in the Kitchen

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Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Food384 pages | Hardcover | Price: $22.45While European restaurants race to footnote menus, reassuring concerned gourmands that no genetically modified ingredients were used in the preparation of their food, starving populations around the world eagerly await the next harvest of scientifically… [more]

Mountains of Madness

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Mountains of Madness: A Scientist’s Odyssey in Antarctica270 pages | Hardcover | Price: $22.45This extraordinary book is the first-person account of John Long’s two unforgettable “summers” on the southern continent. Told in a highly accessible and entertaining style, Mountains of Madness is the account of his three-month long fossil hunt. As the… [more]

The Third Domain

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The Third Domain312 pages | Hardcover | Price: $25.15The Third Domain is the untold story of how the discovery of a new form of life — first ridiculed, then ignored for the past thirty years by mainstream scientists — is revolutionizing science, industry, and even our search for extraterrestrial… [more]

Educating the Student Body

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Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School420 pages | Paperback | Price: $67.50Physical inactivity is a key determinant of health across the lifespan. A lack of activity increases the risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression and others diseases. Emerging… [more]

Environmental Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty

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Environmental Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty258 pages | Paperback | Price: $45.90The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of several federal agencies responsible for protecting Americans against significant risks to human health and the environment. As part of that mission, EPA estimates the nature, magnitude, and likelihood… [more]

Continuing Innovation in Information Technology

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Continuing Innovation in Information Technology42 pages | Paperback | Price: $24.30Information technology (IT) is widely understood to be the enabling technology of the 21st century. IT has transformed, and continues to transform, all aspects of our lives: commerce and finance, education, employment, energy, health care, manufacturing,… [more]

NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities

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NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space122 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.20NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has begun to rebuild the advanced space technology program in the agency with plans laid out in 14 draft technology roadmaps. It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space… [more]

Frontiers of Engineering

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Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2012 Symposium169 pages | Paperback | Price: $40.50This volume highlights the papers presented at the National Academy of Engineering’s 2012 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. Every year, the symposium brings together 100 outstanding young leaders in engineering to share their cutting-edge research and… [more]

Delivering Affordable Cancer Care in the 21st Century

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Delivering Affordable Cancer Care in the 21st Century: Workshop Summary80 pages | Paperback | Price: $34.20Rising health care costs are a central fiscal challenge confronting the United States. National spending on health care currently accounts for 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), but is anticipated to increase to 25 percent of GDP by 2037. The… [more]

Research for a Future in Space

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Research for a Future in Space: The Role of Life and Physical Sciences32 pages | Paperback | Price: $0.90During its more than 50-year history, NASA’s success in human space exploration has depended on the agency’s ability to effectively address a wide range of biomedical, engineering, physical sciences, and related obstacles. This achievement is made possible by… [more]

Toward Precision Medicine

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Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease142 pages | Paperback | Price: $41.40Motivated by the explosion of molecular data on humans-particularly data associated with individual patients-and the sense that there are large, as-yet-untapped opportunities to use this data to improve health outcomes, Toward Precision Medicine[more]

Bill & Melinda Gates Speak to the NAS


At the 2013 National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting on April 27th-29th, Bill and Melinda Gates received the prestigious Public Welfare Medal for improving the lives of millions by applying science to some of the world’s most difficult global health challenges. In the words of Bill Gates, find out why he and Melinda were “talking to scientists about toilets” in his recap of the event on his website, a full transcript of the acceptance speeches he and Melinda gave, as well as a video of them delivering their speeches.

To view a video of Bill and Melinda’s acceptance speeches, click here.

For a recap of the event from Bill himself, click here.

For a full transcript of Bill and Melinda’s speeches, click here.

Visit the NAS website to learn more about the Public Welfare Medal and notable past winners.

President Barack Obama’s Speech to the National Academy of Sciences [Full Transcript]

Yesterday morning, the National Academy of Sciences had the honor of celebrating its 150th anniversary with a speech by President Barack Obama. The President reflected on Abraham Lincoln’s founding of the National Academy of Sciences 150 years ago and asserted the importance of setting priorities for research, continuing our nation’s scientific advance, and maintaining our cutting edge with a fidelity to facts, truth, and evidence. President Obama emphasized that investments made today in science, technology, engineering, and medicine are all critical to the nation’s prosperity, and are bound to pay off for many years to come

This visit continues a succession of Presidential milestones, beginning with the founding of the NAS by President Lincoln in 1863, President Coolidge’s participation in the dedication of the NAS Building in 1924, and President Kennedy’s address at the Academy’s centennial celebration in 1963, as well as speeches by Jimmy Carter in 1979 and by George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Below is President Obama’s full speech annotated with reports from the National Academies press that are available for free download to help keep us on the leading edge of science innovation. To watch a recording of the President’s address, visit: www.nap.edu/Obama

Remarks by the President on the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.
11:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Please, everybody have a seat.

Well, it’s good to be back. Good morning, everybody, and thank you, Dr. Cicerone, for the kind introduction and the great work that you do. The good doctor was reminding me that the first time I came here, apparently joking, I warned him and John Holdren not to age too much in their jobs. And it turns out I’m the guy who’s aged. (Laughter.) They look great.

But, as always, it’s an honor to join our nation’s preeminent scholars, including my own Science Advisor, John Holdren, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences. And since I did not do well enough in chemistry or physics to impress you much on those topics, let me instead tell a story.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the nation, as all of you know, was in the midst of the Civil War, and the Union had recently suffered a devastating defeat at Fredericksburg. The road ahead seemed long and uncertain. Confederate advances in weapons technology cast a dark shadow on the Union.

The previous spring, in the waters outside of Hampton Roads, the ironclad Confederate battleship Virginia had sunk two wooden Union ships and advanced on a third, and this endangered the Union blockade of Virginia and threatening Union forces along the Potomac River. And then, overnight, the USS Monitor, an ironclad herself, arrived and fought the Virginia to a draw in the world’s first battle between iron-sided ships.

There was no victor, but the era of ironclad warfare had begun. And it brought unexpected challenges for President Lincoln and his Navy as they expanded this fleet in early 1863, because aboard their new iron-side battleships, sailors found that the iron siding made the ships’ compasses unpredictable, so it skewed navigation, and they were bumping into things and going the wrong way. (Laughter.) So the basic physics of magnetism undermined the usefulness of the ironclad vessels, even as the Confederates were stocking up on them.

And that’s where your predecessors came in. Because in March of 1983 — 1863, rather — President Lincoln and Congress established the National Academy of Sciences as an independent and nonprofit institution charged with the mission to provide the government with the scientific advice that it needed. And this was advice that was particularly useful in the thick of battle.

The National Academy soon counted the nation’s top scientists as members. They quickly got to work. By the next year, they were inspecting the Union’s ironclads and installing an array of bar magnets around the compasses to correct their navigation. So right off the bat, you guys were really useful. (Laughter.) In fact, it’s fair to say we might not be here had you not — (laughter) — certainly I would not be here. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, political leaders have long recognized the connection between technology and warfare throughout our human history. Sadly, this is an element of the human condition. We take our wars very seriously and we’re always looking for new ways to engage in a war. But President Lincoln founded the Academy with a mandate that went far beyond the science and technology of war. Even as the nation was at war with itself, President Lincoln had the wisdom to look forward, and he recognized that finding a way to harness the highest caliber scientific advice for the government would serve a whole range of long-term goals for the nation.

It was the same foresight that led him to establish land-grant colleges and finish the Transcontinental Railroad — the idea that the essence of America is this hunger to innovate, this restlessness, this quest for the next big thing. And although much of this innovation would be generated by the powers of our free market, the investments and the convening power of the federal government could accelerate discovery in a way that would continually push the nation forward.

That’s our inheritance, and now the task falls to us. We, too, face significant challenges — obviously not of the magnitude that President Lincoln faced, but we’ve got severe economic and security and environmental challenges. And what we know from our past is that the investments we make today are bound to pay off many times over in the years to come.

So we will continue to pursue advances in science and engineering, in infrastructure and innovation, in education and environmental protection — especially science-based initiatives to help us minimize and adapt to global threats like climate change.

And I’m confident we’ll meet that task because we’ve got you — brilliant and committed scientists to help us guide the way. And part of what’s made the Academy so effective is that all the scientists elected to your elite ranks are volunteers — which is fortunate because we have no money anyway. (Laughter.) For 150 years, you’ve strived to answer big questions, solve tough problems, not for yourselves but for the benefit of the nation. And that legacy has endured from the Academy’s founding days. And when you look at our history, you’ve stepped up at times of enormous need and, in some cases, great peril.

When Woodrow Wilson needed help understanding the science of military preparedness, he asked the Academy’s eminent scientists to lay it out for him. When George W. Bush, more recently, wanted to study the long-term health effects of traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, he set your scholars to the task. Today, my administration relies on your expertise to answer critical questions like: How do we set our priorities for research? How can we get the most out of the nanotechnology revolution? What are the underlying causes of gun violence?

And more important than any single study or report, the members of this institution embody what is so necessary for us to continue our scientific advance and to maintain our cutting-edge, and that’s restless curiosity and boundless hope, but also a fidelity to facts and truth, and a willingness to follow where the evidence leads.

And I’d like to acknowledge the other organizations that have been obviously very important in this whole process — the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine — all who’ve contributed similar leadership in maintaining the tradition, upholding the highest standard of science.

And, by the way, we do have colleagues in Congress who believe in science and believe in evidence. One of them is here, Congress Rush Holt. We’re very grateful to him for his outstanding work. (Applause.) And I want to thank many of the members of my administration, as well as PCAST, my — I always forget what exactly it stands for but — (laughter) — it’s my smart science people — (laughter) — who have contributed enormously to the work that we’re doing on a whole range of issues, from energy to advanced manufacturing, have really been extraordinary. I want to thank the members of my administration who are here as well who all are invested in making sure that we keep American science the best in the world.

Now, the good news is America remains a world leader in patents and scientific discovery. Our university system is the crown jewel of our economy as well as our civilization. And that’s what’s allowing us to continually replenish our stock of people who are willing to dream big dreams and reach higher than anybody else.

And what I want to communicate to all of you is, is that as long as I’m President, we’re going to continue to be committed to investing in the promising ideas that are generated from you and your institutions, because they lead to innovative products, they help boost our economy, but also because that’s who we are. I’m committed to it because that’s what makes us special and ultimately what makes life worth living.
And that’s why we’re pursuing “grand challenges” like making solar energy as cheap as coal, and building electric vehicles as affordable as the ones that run on gas. And earlier this month, I unveiled the BRAIN initiative, which will give scientists the tools that they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action, and better understand how we think and learn and remember.

Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate damaged organs, creating new devices to enable brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, and sending sophisticated robots into space to search for signs of past life on Mars. That sense of wonder and that sense of discovery, it has practical application but it also nurtures what I believe is best in us.

And right now, we’re on the brink of amazing breakthroughs that have the chance, the potential to change life for the better — which is why we can’t afford to gut these investments in science and technology. Unfortunately, that’s what we’re facing right now. Because of the across-the-board cuts that Congress put in place — the sequester, as it’s known in Washington-speak — it’s hitting our scientific research. Instead of racing ahead on the next cutting-edge discovery, our scientists are left wondering if they’ll get to start any new projects, any new research projects at all over the next few years, which means that we could lose a year, two years of scientific research as a practical matter because of misguided priorities here in this town.

With the pace of technological innovation today, we can’t afford to stand still for a year or two years or three years. We’ve got to seize every opportunity we have to stay ahead. And we can’t let other countries win the race for ideas and technology of the future. And I say that, by the way, not out of just any nationalistic pride — although, obviously, that’s part of it — but it’s also because nobody does it better than we do when it’s adequately funded, when it’s adequately supported. And what we produce here ends up having benefits worldwide. We should be reaching for a level of private and public research and development investment that we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. That’s my goal.

And it’s not just resources. I mean, one of the things that I’ve tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science — all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review — but in all the sciences, we’ve got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they’re not subject to politics, that they’re not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that’s why we’ve got to keep investing in these sciences.

And what’s true of all sciences is that in order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars. And I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process. That’s what’s going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come.

That’s why, by the way, one of the things that I’ve focused on as President is an all-hands-on-deck approach to the sciences, as well as technology and engineering and math. And that’s why we’re spending a lot of time focused on the next generation. With the help of John Holdren and everybody who’s working with my administration, we want to make sure that we are exciting young people around math and science and technology and computer science. We don’t want our kids just to be consumers of the amazing things that science generates; we want them to be producers as well. And we want to make sure that those who historically have not participated in the sciences as robustly — girls, members of minority groups here in this country — that they are encouraged as well.

We’ve got to make sure that we’re training great calculus and biology teachers, and encouraging students to keep up with their physics and chemistry classes. That includes Malia and Sasha. (Laughter.) It means teaching proper research methods and encouraging young people to challenge accepted knowledge. It means expanding and maintaining critical investments in biomedical research and helping innovators turn their discoveries into new businesses and products. And it means maintaining that spirit of discovery.

Last week, I got a chance to do one of my favorite things as President and that is — we started these White House Science Fairs. And these kids are remarkable. I mean, I know you guys were smart when you were their age, but — (laughter) — I might give them the edge. (Laughter.) I mean, you had young people who were converting algae into sustainable biofuels — that was one of my favorites because the young lady had — she kept the algae under her bed — and she had a whole lab, which meant that she had really supportive parents. (Laughter.) I pictured it bubbling out and starting to creep into the hallways. (Laughter.)
You had young people who were purifying water with bicycle-power-generated batteries. You had young people who had already devised faster and cheaper tests for cancer. These are 15, 16-year-olds.

They were all dreaming to grow up and be just like you — maybe with a little less gray hair — (laughter) — but they shared your passion. They shared that excitement. And what was interesting was not only did they share that sense of wonder and discovery, but they also shared this fundamental optimism that if you figured this stuff out, people’s lives would be better; that there were no inherent barriers to us solving the big problems that we face as long as we were diligent and focused and observant and curious.

And we’ve got to make sure that we’re supporting that next generation of dreamers and risk-takers — because if we are, things will be good. They leave me with extraordinary optimism. They leave me hopeful. They put a smile on my face. And I’m absolutely convinced that if this Academy and the successors who become members of this Academy are there at the center and the heart of our public debate, that we’ll be able to continue to use the innovation that powers our economy and improves our health, protects our environment and security, that makes us the envy of the world.

So I want to thank you on behalf of the American people. And I want to make sure that you know that you’ve got a strong supporter in the White House.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)

11:50 A.M. EDT