Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

The Accademia dei Lincei was founded in Rome on 17 August 1603 by Prince Federico Cesi and three other scholars: Johannes Eck, Francesco Stelluti and Count Anastasio De Filiis. Historical sources report that the arms and the name «Lyncei» arose from their love of science and the desire to see into the secrets of nature with a perception as acute as that of the lynx. Their dedication to the study of natural sciences and their approach to science based on the new experimental methods made the Accademia dei Lincei the first scientific academy in the world. One of the first illustrious members was Galileo Galilei, whose most important scientific works were published by the Academy during the first part of the XVII century.

After various phases of its history, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is today the Italian national academy. It is a non-governmental, independent body within the sphere of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, regulated by a Statute and By-laws established by its members. Its autonomy is recognized by an ad hoc state law.

In accordance with its Statute, the aim of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is to «promote, coordinate, integrate and spread scientific knowledge in its highest expression, in the unity and universality of culture». As a learned society, the role of the Lincei Academy is principally one of promotion and endorsement of scientific initiatives; it is not usually directly involved in applied research.

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei provides scientific and science policy advice, upon request or on its own initiative, to the Italian Government. It is the institutional adviser of the President of the Italian Republic regarding scientific matters. The Academy deals with science policy and the scientific aspects of public policy at the national and international level of advice. The advisory activity of the Academy is carried out free of charge as it is among its institutional functions. It is perceived as the expression of an independent high level point of view.

The Academy is regulated by its Statutes of August 2, 2001 and its By-laws of February 14, 1987; with the latest modifications on June 22, 2000, both established by its members.

The Academy is divided into two Classes: “Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences” and “Moral, Historical and Philological Sciences” (Humanities). Each of the two Classes comprises 90 national members, 90 corresponding members and 90 foreign members. There is a by-law that allows a maximum of 105 national members for each Class under certain circumstances.

The Class of Physical Sciences is subdivided into 5 Categories (each of which is subdivided into Sections): I. Mathematics and Mechanics (21 national members, 21 corresponding members, 21 foreign members); II. Astronomy, Geodesy and Geophysics (10 national members, 10 corresponding members, 10 foreign members); III. Physics and Chemistry (21 national members, 21 corresponding members, 21 foreign members); IV. Geology, Paleontology and Mineralogy (11 national members, 11 corresponding members, 11 foreign members); V. Biological Sciences (27 national members, 27 corresponding members, 27 foreign members).

The Class of Moral Sciences is subdivided into 7 categories: I. Philology and Linguistics (18 national members, 18 corresponding members, 18 foreign members); II. Archaeology (11 national members, 11 corresponding members, 11 foreign members); III. Criticism of Art and Poetry (12 national members, 12 corresponding members, 12 foreign members); IV. History and Historic and Anthropic Geography (12 national members, 12 corresponding members, 12 foreign members); V. Philosophical Sciences (8 national members, 8 corresponding members, 8 foreign members); VI. Juridical Sciences (14 national members, 14 corresponding members, 14 foreign members); VII. Political and Social Sciences (15 national members, 15 corresponding members, 15 foreign members).

Only the national members participate in the Assembly of the two Classes and in the Assemblies of each Class and have the right to vote and elect new members. Corresponding and foreign members can participate in non-voting meetings of the Classes (“Adunanze”).

New members (all three types) are elected on the basis of their scientific merit by the national members of the Academy. Early each year the President informs all national members of the vacant membership positions. National members submit motivated proposals when positions are vacant in their Category. All proposals are discussed during ad hoc Category meetings and then approved by each Class (Sciences and Humanities). Candidates are finally voted by all national members.

There is no academic policy in favor of young scientists and female members. Women members are 15 out of 523 (2.86 %).

The organs of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei are the following:

  • the President and the Vice President
  • the Academic Administrator and the assistant Academic Administrator
  • the Academic Secretaries (one for each of the two Classes) and the Assistant Academic Secretaries (one for each of the two Classes)
  • the President's Council
  • the General Assembly of the two Classes
  • the Assembly of each Class in its competent fields
  • the College of Auditors
  • and the Chancellor

The President represents the Academy; the President and the Vice President are the Presidents of their respective Classes. They are elected by the national members in the General Assembly for a three year period and can be immediately re-elected only once.

The President’s Council is the deliberating organ of the Academy; it comprises President and Vice President, the Academic Administrators and the Academic Secretaries. The Council meets each month. Its resolutions are applied by the Academic Administrator. The Chancellor assists the President and the Council and is the Director General of the Academy. The General Assembly and the Assemblies of the two Classes hold monthly meetings during the academic year (November to June). Only the national members participate in the Assembly of the two Classes and in the Assemblies of each Class and have the right to vote and elect new members. Corresponding and foreign members can participate in non-voting meetings of the Classes (Adunanze).

The Accademia dei Lincei publishes the following journals:
Rendiconti Lincei. Matematica e Applicazioni (vol. IX, 1990)
Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali (vol. IX, 1990)
Rendiconti Lincei. Supplemento (1990)
Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità (1877)
Rendiconti della Classe di Scienze Morali, Storiche e Filologiche (1875)
Memorie della Classe di Scienze Morali, Storiche e Filologiche (1875)
Rendiconti delle Adunanze Solenni (1892)
Annuario (1882)
Monumenti Antichi. Serie Monografica (1892)
Monumenti Antichi. Serie Miscellanea (1892)
Adunanze straordinarie per il conferimento dei Premi «A. Feltrinelli» (1962)
Atti dei Convegni Lincei (1974)
Contributi del Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare «Beniamino Segre» (1974)
Fondazione Donegani (1950)
Fondazione Caetani (1905)

The total amount of the budget of the Academy is about Euro 5,500,000, in part from income derived from the Foundations and Funds controlled by the Academy, in part coming from State subsidies. The Academy also receives private funds from various sources to support its cultural initiatives or with the particular aim of instituting scientific awards and study grants, a number of which are granted every year by the Academy.

Cooperation agreements are maintained with several foreign academies and scientific institutions. The Accademia dei Lincei represents Italy in the most important international academic organizations, such as the Global Network of Academies of Sciences (IAP), the Inter Academy Medical Panel (IAMP), the All European Academies Network (ALLEA), the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The Accademia dei Lincei is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies.