It was founded to promote learning and research in all areas of sciences by conferring membership and preferential treatment to those who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of sciences and learning. The Academy consists of 150 Fellows who are selected by their peers for their contributions to the sciences and education.
The National Academy of Sciences was inaugurated on July 17, 1954, and entrusted with the duty of promoting the development of sciences, and of facilitating the development of national culture. Founded on the legal basis of Culture Protection Act promulgated on August 7, 1952, the National Academy of Sciences initially comprised 50 members.
On March 25, 1954, fifty members were selected from around the nation : twenty-five from the humanities and social sciences, and twenty-five from the natural sciences. Thirty-four years later, on December 31, 1988, the Culture Protection Act of 1952 was replaced by the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Korea Act. The ceiling of membership is 150. The present Academy members total 134 as of June, 2006. These include 62 in the Humanities and Social Science Division and 72 in the Natural Science Division. The members are assigned to 11 sections.
The stated mission of the National Academy of Science is to contribute to the development of science; through the recognition and support of scientists with achievements in the fields of humanities as well as social and natural sciences on a national level; and also through the promotion of research and support for related research programs.