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Published on Oct 6, 2012
At the Lincoln Memorial, Richard Alley tells the little-known story of how Lincoln and his advisors founded the National Academy of Sciences to address scientific problems during the Civil War. One of NAS's first tasks was to figure out how to keep magnetic compasses working properly on board the new "ironclad" battleships. They solved that, and successive presidents, such as Wilson and George W. Bush have turned to the Academy for impartial advice on matters of critical national significance ever since. In fact, a panel including a prominent climate skeptic endorsed the findings of the third IPCC report on human involvement in global warming. More recently still, the Academy has charted the most sustainable path towards America's Energy Future.