The National Academy of Sciences (ANC) was founded on August 3, 1938 as the Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, by a special 6-man Commission appointed by the Peruvian Government and charged with the task of organizing the Academy. There were 7 sections: Exact Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geology, Biology, Archaeology and Anthropology and Botany comprising 37 members in all.
Most of the members, if not all, came from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (arguably the oldest institution of its kind in the Western Hemisphere) the Escuela de Ingenieros and the Escuela de Agricultura. Among them there were a few European scholars of international repute that had been persecuted well before the start of the Second World War.
Dr. Godofredo García was elected First President of the Academy. He was a professor of Mathematics at the University of San Marcos dealing with tensorial calculus for Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity applications. The Academy became an advisory body to the Government, but in fact it was seldom consulted. It met regularly, at least once a month, to hear progress reports from its members, mainly on mathematical, biological and medical research topics.
Dr. García was followed by Dr. José Tola Pasquel, also a mathematician who worried much about the future, particularly in connection with the education of new research scientists, something he shared with Dr. César Camacho, a Peruvian now Director of IMPA, the Instituto de Matemáticas Puras y Aplicadas in Rio de Janeiro. From this origin eventually the Instituto de Matemáticas y Ciencias Afines (IMCA) developed in Lima, staffed and supported by two local universities, one private, the other of the state, and helped by IMPA, and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. Its building came from Eng. Alberto Benavides, leader of the Peruvian mining industry, a former student and by then a professor in those two universities. The land came from the Peruvian Education Ministry.
Our current President, Eng. Alberto Giesecke is an electrical engineer, but his life task was the building up of the Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IPG), starting back in the Fifties with seismic research and satellite tracking with US help. The Jicamarca Radar Observatory, part of the Institute, became a world leading observatory for this kind of work. Mr. Giesecke was also quite active in promoting and coordinating the Centro Regional de Sismología para América del Sur (CERESIS) with headquarters in Lima
The last few years have seen an almost complete revamping of the Academy with the writing and legal approval in 2005 of a foundation record and new by-laws, the election of new members in 2008, and the discussion of new goals and programs. The Academy is now a civil association as defined by Peruvian law.
Since the By-laws does not completely regulate the election of new members and the Rules and Regulations are still to be written, new members were elected by the Directive Council according to a special procedure comprising the nomination of candidates (all belonging to one particular group of disciplines) by a corresponding group of members of the Council, followed by the election of some or all of the nominees by the Council voting in full. Nominations were made on the basis of scientific production, science building experience and demonstrated vocation and general ability to fulfill the aims and goals of the Academy. Presently there are only 48 Active members. By-laws allow for Emeriti, Honorary, Corresponding and Corporative members, but the Rules and Regulations dealing with their characterization and election does not exist yet.