The precursor to the actual Pontifical Academy of Sciences was the Linceorum Academia, which was founded in Rome in 1603 and which, after some vicissitudes, was named Pontificia Academia dei Nuovi Lincei by Pius IX in 1847. It was enlarged by Leo XIII in 1887, and in 1936 it received its current name from Pius XI. Currently it is the only academy of sciences of a supranational character which exists in the world. It has as its scope: to pay honor to pure science, wherever it is found, and to assure its freedom and to promote its research, which constitute the indispensable basis for progress in science. This academy is directly responsible to the Holy Father. It is composed of 80 academicians who are named by the pope. The academic body selects names, without discriminating in any way, among the most illustrious devotees of mathematical and experimental sciences of every country, and then proposes them to the pope. Added to these 80 academicians are the “perdurante munere” academicians, chosen by reason of their office, and honorary academicians, by reason of their merits towards the academy.