The Brazilian Academy of Sciences founded on May 3, 1916 in Rio de Janeiro comprised three sections: Mathematics, Physicochemical Sciences and Biological Sciences, and was modeled on the French Academy of Sciences. The main objectives of the Society were to pursue scientific research, to develop nationally based research, and to diffuse the notion of science as a factor promoting prosperity and the technological development of the country. The Academy was a private, legally independent organization, appointing its own administrative officers and drawing up its own rules, though members expected some financial help from the government. In its early years, several of its members contributed significantly to the advancement of other scientific and cultural activities, such as radio broadcasting in Brazil (1923) and the creation of the Brazilian Society for Education (1924).
Since 1952 the sections of the Academy grew to five: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Earth Sciences and Biological Sciences. In 1996, for its 80th anniversary, the Academy added the area of Engineering Sciences. In 1999, four new areas began: Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences, Agrarian Sciences and Human Sciences. These comprise the current ten sections of the Academy. Throughout its history, 42 Boards of Directors and16 presidents have headed and provided direction for the Academy.
The Academy currently has 73 female members of the total of 643 members, which corresponds to approximately 11.4%. Nowadays, about 52% of the Brazilian researchers linked to the area of innovation are females. Three types of member categories include Full Member, Foreign Member, and Collaborating Members. Full Members are well-known Brazilian scientists. Foreign Members have aided in the advancement of science in Brazil and are well-known to the scientific community. Collaborating Membership comes by way of a proposal of the Board and the approval of the General Assembly. Collaborating Members have provided worthy services to the Academy or helped in the development of science in Brazil. Twenty scientists elected every year help in the selection process for the Academy.
The Annuals of Brazilian Academy of Sciences showcase original research findings in the fields covered by the Academy, as well as abstracts of communications presented in its regular sessions. Since 1999 the Academy haspublished the Annals in English giving them more exposure in the scientific community.
The Brazilian Academy of Sciences gives scientific awards such as the Einstein Award, the Mello Leitao Award, the Costa Lima Award, and Arthur Moses Award. The Academy only gives these awards to the very best and not on an annual basis.
The Brazilian Academy of Sciences is an international organization that tries to create goodwill between Brazilian and international scientists. Agreements between Asian, French, Czech Republic, and London reveal their desire to cooperate with foreign lands.