HOME

TheInfoList




The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a
physical sciences Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies abiotic component, non-living systems, in contrast to life science. It in turn has many branches, each referred to as a "physical science", together called the "physical sciences". ...
laboratory and non-regulatory agency of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
. Its mission is to promote American innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST's activities are organized into laboratory programs that include
nanoscale science and technology
nanoscale science and technology
, engineering, information technology,
neutron The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , which has a neutral (not positive or negative) charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a proton. Protons and neutrons constitute the nuclei of atoms. Since protons and neutrons behav ...

neutron
research, material measurement, and physical measurement. From 1901 to 1988, the agency was named the National Bureau of Standards.


History


Background

The
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, ...
, ratified by the colonies in 1781, provided:
The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States.
Article 1, section 8, of the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
, ratified in 1789, granted these powers to the new Congress: "The Congress shall have power ... To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures". In January 1790,
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

President
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, in his first , said, "Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to." Washington ordered Secretary of State
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
to prepare a
Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United StatesThe "Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States" was a report submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13, 1790, by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. At the First United States Con ...
, later referred to informally as the Jefferson Report. On October 25, 1791, Washington again appealed Congress:
A uniformity of the weights and measures of the country is among the important objects submitted to you by the Constitution and if it can be derived from a standard at once invariable and universal, must be no less honorable to the public council than conducive to the public convenience.
In 1821, President
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

John Quincy Adams
declared, "Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society.". Nevertheless, it was not until 1838 that the United States government adopted a uniform set of standards.NBS special publication 447
-Retrieved September 28, 2011
From 1830 until 1901, the role of overseeing weights and measures was carried out by the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, which was part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the
Department of the Treasury Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
.Records of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
,
National Archives and Records Administration The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government charged with the preservation and documentation of government and historical ...
website, (Record Group 167), 1830–1987.
Theberge, Captain Albert E., ''The Coast Survey 1807–1867: Volume I of the History of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration'', "THE HASSLER LEGACY: FERDINAND RUDOLPH HASSLER and the UNITED STATES COAST SURVEY: THE REBIRTH OF THE SURVEY," no publisher listed, NOAA History, 1998.


Bureau of Standards

In 1901, in response to a bill proposed by Congressman (R, Ohio), the National Bureau of Standards was founded with the mandate to provide standard weights and measures, and to serve as the national physical laboratory for the United States. (Southard had previously sponsored a bill for metric conversion of the United States.) John Perry, ''The Story of Standards'', Funk and Wagnalls, 1953, Library of Congress Cat. No. 55-11094, p. 123 President
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
appointed
Samuel W. Stratton Samuel Wesley Stratton (July 18, 1861 – October 18, 1931) was an administrator in the American government, physicist, and educator. Life and work Stratton was born on farm in Litchfield, Illinois on July 18, 1861. In his youth he kept farm mac ...
as the first director. The budget for the first year of operation was $40,000. The Bureau took custody of the copies of the kilogram and meter bars that were the standards for US measures, and set up a program to provide
metrology Metrology is the scientific study of measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be used to compare with oth ...

metrology
services for United States scientific and commercial users. A laboratory site was constructed in
Washington, DC ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, United States Capitol, Washington Metro, National Air and Space Museum, Air and Spac ...
, and instruments were acquired from the national physical laboratories of Europe. In addition to weights and measures, the Bureau developed instruments for electrical units and for measurement of light. In 1905 a meeting was called that would be the first "National Conference on Weights and Measures". Initially conceived as purely a metrology agency, the Bureau of Standards was directed by
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
to set up divisions to develop commercial standards for materials and products.page 133 Some of these standards were for products intended for government use, but product standards also affected private-sector consumption. Quality standards were developed for products including some types of clothing, automobile brake systems and headlamps,
antifreeze An antifreeze is an additive which lowers the freezing point of a water-based liquid. An antifreeze mixture is used to achieve freezing-point depression Freezing-point depression is a drop in the temperature at which a substance freezing, free ...

antifreeze
, and electrical safety. During
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the Bureau worked on multiple problems related to war production, even operating its own facility to produce
optical glass Glass is a non-Crystallinity, crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent amorphous solid, that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optics. Glass is most of ...
when European supplies were cut off. Between the wars, Harry Diamond of the Bureau developed a blind approach radio aircraft landing system. During World War II, military research and development was carried out, including development of
radio propagation Radio propagation is the behavior of radio wave Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ' ...
forecast methods, the
proximity fuze Image:MK53 fuze.jpg, 300px, Proximity fuze MK53 removed from shell, circa 1950s A proximity fuze (or fuse) is a Fuze (munitions), fuze that detonates an Explosive material, explosive device automatically when the distance to the target becomes sma ...
and the standardized airframe used originally for
Project Pigeon During World War II, Project Pigeon (later Project Orcon, for "organic control") was American Behaviorism, behaviorist B. F. Skinner's attempt to develop a Columbidae, pigeon-controlled guided bomb. Overview The Airframe, testbed was the sam ...
, and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided
Bat Bats are mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the po ...
anti-ship guided bomb and the Kingfisher family of torpedo-carrying missiles. In 1948, financed by the United States Air Force, the Bureau began design and construction of SEAC, the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer. The computer went into operation in May 1950 using a combination of vacuum tubes and solid-state diode logic. About the same time the Standards Western Automatic Computer, was built at the Los Angeles office of the NBS by
Harry Huskey Harry Douglas Huskey (January 19, 1916 – April 9, 2017) was an American computer design pioneer. Early life and career Huskey was born in Whittier, in the Smoky Mountains region of North Carolina and grew up in Idaho. He received his bachelor' ...
and used for research there. A mobile version,
DYSEAC DYSEAC was the second Standards Electronic Automatic Computer. (See SEAC.) DYSEAC was a first-generation computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Mod ...
, was built for the Signal Corps in 1954. Due to a changing mission, the "National Bureau of Standards" became the "National Institute of Standards and Technology" in 1988. Following September 11, 2001, NIST conducted the official investigation into the
collapse of the World Trade Center The original World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York City was destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, after being struck by two hijacked commercial airliners. One World Trade Center (WTC 1) (the North Tower) w ...
buildings. Following the 2021 Surfside condominium building collapse, NIST sent engineers to the site to investigate the cause of the collapse.


Constitution

NIST, known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a measurement standards laboratory, also known as the National Metrological Institute (NMI), which is a non-regulatory agency of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
. The institute's official mission is to: NIST had an operating
budget A budget is a financial plan In general usage, a financial plan is a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's current pay and future financial state by using current known variables to predict future income, asset values and withdrawal p ...

budget
for
fiscal year A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is used in government accounting, which varies between countries, and for budget purposes. It is also used for financial report Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal ...
2007 (October 1, 2006September 30, 2007) of about $843.3 million. NIST's 2009 budget was $992 million, and it also received $610 million as part of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (), nicknamed the Recovery Act, was a Stimulus (economics), stimulus package enacted by the 111th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Developed i ...
. NIST employs about 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. About 1,800 NIST associates (guest researchers and engineers from American companies and foreign countries) complement the staff. In addition, NIST partners with 1,400 manufacturing specialists and staff at nearly 350 affiliated centers around the country. NIST publishes the '' Handbook 44'' that provides the "Specifications, tolerances, and other technical requirements for weighing and measuring devices".


Metric system

The Congress of 1866 made use of the metric system in commerce a legally protected activity through the passage of
Metric Act of 1866 The Metric Act of 1866, also known as the Kasson Act, is a piece of United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in ...
. On May 20, 1875, 17 out of 20 countries signed a document known as the ''Metric Convention'' or the ''Treaty of the Meter'', which established the
International Bureau of Weights and Measures The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (french: Bureau international des poids et mesures, BIPM) is an intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign state ...
under the control of an international committee elected by the
General Conference on Weights and Measures The General Conference on Weights and Measures (GCWM; french: Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures, CGPM) is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (fr ...
.


Organization

NIST is headquartered in
Gaithersburg, Maryland Gaithersburg ( ), officially the City of Gaithersburg, is a city in Montgomery CountyMontgomery County may refer to: Australia * The former name of Montgomery Land District, Tasmania United Kingdom * The historic county of Montgomeryshire, Wa ...

Gaithersburg, Maryland
, and operates a facility in
Boulder, Colorado The City of Boulder is the Home Rule Municipality Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gover ...

Boulder, Colorado
, which was dedicated by
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

President
Eisenhower in 1954. NIST's activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs. Effective October 1, 2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six. NIST Laboratories include: * Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) * Engineering Laboratory (EL) * Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) * Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) * Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) * Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) Extramural programs include: * Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a nationwide network of centers to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers to create and retain jobs, improve efficiencies, and minimize waste through process improvements and to increase market penetration with innovation and growth strategies; * Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a grant program where NIST and industry partners cost share the early-stage development of innovative but high-risk technologies; * Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which administers the
Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes U.S. organizations in the business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors for performance excellence. The Baldrige Award is the only formal recognition of the performance excellence of ...

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
, the nation's highest award for performance and business excellence. NIST's Boulder laboratories are best known for NIST‑F1, which houses an
atomic clock An atomic clock is a clock A clock is a device used to measure, verify, keep, and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day, t ...

atomic clock
. NIST‑F1 serves as the source of the nation's official time. From its measurement of the natural resonance frequency of
cesium Caesium (IUPAC spelling) (American and British English spelling differences, also spelled cesium in American English) is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cs and atomic number 55. It is a soft, silvery-golden alkali ...

cesium
—which defines the
second The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, th ...
—NIST broadcasts
time signal A time signal is a visible, audible, mechanical, or electronic signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal proc ...
s via
longwave In radio, longwave, long wave or long-wave, and commonly abbreviated LW, refers to parts of the radio spectrum The radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies (th ...
radio station
WWVB WWVB is a time signal A time signal is a visible, audible, mechanical, or electronic signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals ...
near
Fort Collins A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, w ...
, Colorado, and
shortwave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (100 ...

shortwave
radio station Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. In terrestrial radio broadcasting the radio waves are broadcast by a land-based radio stati ...

radio station
s WWV and
WWVH WWVH is the callsign of the U.S. 's station located at the , in , on the island of in the state of . WWVH is the Pacific sister station to , and has a similar broadcast format. Like WWV, WWVH's main function is the dissemination of offici ...
, located near Fort Collins and
Kekaha, Hawaii Kekaha (literally, "the place" in Hawaiian) is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes onl ...
, respectively. NIST also operates a
neutron The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , which has a neutral (not positive or negative) charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a proton. Protons and neutrons constitute the nuclei of atoms. Since protons and neutrons behav ...
science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The NCNR provides scientists access to a variety of
neutron scattering Neutron scattering, the irregular dispersal of free neutrons by matter, can refer to either the naturally occurring physical process itself or to the man-made experimental techniques that use the natural process for investigating materials. The ...
instruments, which they use in many research fields (materials science, fuel cells, biotechnology, etc.). The SURF III Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility is a source of
synchrotron radiation Synchrotron radiation (also known as magnetobremsstrahlung radiation) is the electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physic ...
, in continuous operation since 1961. SURF III now serves as the US national standard for source-based radiometry throughout the generalized optical spectrum. All
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian Li ...

NASA
-borne, extreme-ultraviolet observation instruments have been calibrated at SURF since the 1970s, and SURF is used for measurement and characterization of systems for
extreme ultraviolet lithography Extreme may refer to: Science and mathematics Mathematics * Extreme point, a point in a convex set which does not lie in any open line segment joining two points in the set * Maxima and minima, extremes on a mathematical function Science * Extrem ...
. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) performs research in
nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havi ...

nanotechnology
, both through internal research efforts and by running a user-accessible
cleanroom Cleanroom from outside A cleanroom or clean room is a facility ordinarily utilized as a part of specialized industrial production or scientific research, including the manufacture of pharmaceutical items, integrated circuits, LCD, OLED and m ...

cleanroom
nanomanufacturing facility. This "NanoFab" is equipped with tools for
lithographic Lithography () is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone ( lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor ...
patterning and imaging (e.g.,
electron microscopes An electron microscope is a microscope A microscope (from the grc, μικρός, ''mikrós'', "small" and , ''skopeîn'', "to look" or "see") is a laboratory instrument used to examine objects that are too small to be seen by the naked ...

electron microscopes
and
atomic force microscope Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a branch of microscopy that forms images of surfaces using a physical probe that scans ...
s).


Committees

NIST has seven standing committees: *
Technical Guidelines Development Committee{{Update, inaccurate=y, date=November 2010 The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology supports the Election Assistance Commission in the United States by providing recommendations on v ...
(TGDC) * Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) * National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST Advisory Committee) * Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology
(VCAT) * Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA Board of Overseers) * Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board (MEPNAB)


Projects


Measurements and standards

As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,30
Standard Reference Materials
(SRMs). These artifacts are certified as having specific characteristics or component content, used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.


''Handbook 44''

NIST publishes the ''Handbook 44'' each year after the annual meeting of the
National Conference on Weights and MeasuresThe National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) is a not-for-profit corporation A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and oper ...
(NCWM). Each edition is developed through cooperation of the Committee on Specifications and Tolerances of the NCWM and the Weights and Measures Division (WMD) of the NIST. The purpose of the book is a partial fulfillment of the statutory responsibility for "cooperation with the states in securing uniformity of weights and measures laws and methods of inspection". NIST has been publishing various forms of what is now the ''Handbook 44'' since 1918 and began publication under the current name in 1949. The 2010 edition conforms to the concept of the primary use of the SI (metric) measurements recommended by the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.


Homeland security

NIST is developing government-wide
identity document An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as papers) is any that may be used to prove a person's identity. If issued in a small, standard credit card size form, it is usually called an identity card (I ...
standards for federal employees and contractors to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to government buildings and computer systems.


World Trade Center collapse investigation

In 2002, the National Construction Safety Team Act mandated NIST to conduct an investigation into the
collapse of the World Trade Center The original World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York City was destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, after being struck by two hijacked commercial airliners. One World Trade Center (WTC 1) (the North Tower) w ...
buildings 1 and 2 and the 47-story 7 World Trade Center. The "World Trade Center Collapse Investigation", directed by lead investigator Shyam Sunder, covered three aspects, including a technical building and
fire safety#REDIRECT Fire safety Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various ...
investigation to study the factors contributing to the probable cause of the collapses of the WTC Towers (WTC 1 and 2) and WTC 7. NIST also established a research and development program to provide the technical basis for improved building and fire codes, standards, and practices, and a dissemination and technical assistance program to engage leaders of the construction and building community in implementing proposed changes to practices, standards, and codes. NIST also is providing practical guidance and tools to better prepare facility owners, contractors, architects, engineers, emergency responders, and regulatory authorities to respond to future disasters. The investigation portion of the response plan was completed with the release of the final report on 7 World Trade Center on November 20, 2008. The final report on the WTC Towers—including 30 recommendations for improving building and occupant safety—was released on October 26, 2005.


Election technology

NIST works in conjunction with the
Technical Guidelines Development Committee{{Update, inaccurate=y, date=November 2010 The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology supports the Election Assistance Commission in the United States by providing recommendations on v ...
of the
Election Assistance Commission The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is an independent agency of the United States government created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The Commission serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding elect ...
to develop the
Voluntary Voting System Guidelines The Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) are guidelines adopted by the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for the certification of voting systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Technical Guidelines Develo ...
for
voting machine A voting machine is a machine used to record votes without paper. The first voting machines were mechanical but it is increasingly more common to use machines. Traditionally, a voting machine has been defined by its mechanism, and whether the ...

voting machine
s and other election technology.


People

Four scientific researchers at NIST have been awarded
Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, busines ...
s for work in
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
:
William Daniel Phillips William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948) is an American physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. ...
in 1997,
Eric Allin Cornell Eric Allin Cornell (born December 19, 1961) is an American physicist who, along with Carl E. Wieman, was able to synthesize the first Bose–Einstein condensate In condensed matter physics, a Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of ...

Eric Allin Cornell
in 2001, John Lewis Hall in 2005 and David Jeffrey Wineland in 2012, which is the largest number for any US government laboratory. All four were recognized for their work related to
laser cooling Laser cooling and laser trapping include a number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled down to near absolute zero Absolute zero is the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature Thermodynamic temperature is the m ...
of atoms, which is directly related to the development and advancement of the atomic clock. In 2011,
Dan Shechtman Dan Shechtman ( he, דן שכטמן; born January 24, 1941)Dan Shechtman
. (PDF). Retriev ...

Dan Shechtman
was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on
quasicrystal A quasiperiodic crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all dire ...

quasicrystal
s in the
Metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering ''Materials Science and Engineering'' may refer to several journals in the field of materials science and engineering: * '' Materials Science and Engineering A'' * '' Materials Science ...
Division from 1982 to 1984. In addition, John Werner Cahn was awarded the 2011 Kyoto Prize for Materials Science, and the
National Medal of Science The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral science, behavior ...

National Medal of Science
has been awarded to NIST researchers Cahn (1998) and Wineland (2007). Other notable people who have worked at NBS or NIST include: * Milton Abramowitz * * * Norman Bekkedahl * Ferdinand Graft Brickwedde *
Lyman James Briggs Lyman James Briggs (May 7, 1874 – March 25, 1963) was an American engineer, physicist and administrator. He was a director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Bureau of Standards during the Great Depression and chair ...

Lyman James Briggs
*
Edgar Buckingham Edgar Buckingham (July 8, 1867 in Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state o ...
* John M. Butler * William Weber Coblentz * Ronald Collé * Philip J. Davis *
Hugh Latimer Dryden Hugh Latimer Dryden (July 2, 1898 – December 2, 1965) was an American Aeronautics, aeronautical scientist and civil servant. He served as NASA Deputy Administrator from August 19, 1958, until his death. Biography Dryden was born in Pocomoke City ...
* Jack R. Edmonds *
Ugo Fano Ugo Fano (July 28, 1912 – February 13, 2001) was an Italian American physicist, notable for contributions to theoretical physics. Biography Ugo Fano was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Turin, Italy. His father was Gino Fano, a professor ...

Ugo Fano
* Charlotte Froese Fischer * Tim Foecke * John Cantius Garand * * Douglas Rayner Hartree * Magnus Rudolph Hestenes * Deborah S. Jin * John Kelsey * Russell A. Kirsch *
Cornelius Lanczos __NOTOC__ Cornelius (Cornel) Lanczos ( hu, Lánczos Kornél, , born as Kornél Lőwy, until 1906: ''Löwy (Lőwy) Kornél'') was a Hungarian mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathemati ...
* * William Clyde Martin * William Frederick Meggers * Christopher Roy Monroe * James G. Nell * Frank William John Olver * E. Ward Plummer *
Jacob Rabinow Jacob Rabinow (January 8, 1910 – September 11, 1999) was an engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex systems, archit ...
* Richard J. Saykally * Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly * Irene Ann Stegun * William C. Stone


Directors

Since 1989, the director of NIST has been a Presidential appointee and is confirmed by the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politi ...
, and since that year the average tenure of NIST directors has fallen from 11 years to 2 years in duration. Since the 2011 reorganization of NIST, the director also holds the title of Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. Fifteen individuals have officially held the position (in addition to four acting directors who have served on a temporary basis).


Patents

The NIST holds
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s on behalf of the
Federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or U ...
, with at least one of them being custodial to protect public domain use, such as one for a
Chip-scale atomic clock A chip scale atomic clock (CSAC) is a compact, low-power atomic clock fabricated using techniques of microelectromechanical systems Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), also written as micro-electro-mechanical systems (or microelectronic and m ...
, developed by a NIST team as part of a
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
competition.


Controversy regarding NIST standard SP 800-90

In September 2013, both ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' and ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' reported that NIST allowed the
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, Intelligence analysis, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforce ...

National Security Agency
(NSA) to insert a
cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator A cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator (CSPRNG) or cryptographic pseudorandom number generator (CPRNG) is a pseudorandom number generator A pseudorandom number generator (PRNG), also known as a deterministic random bit generator ...
called
Dual EC DRBG Dual_EC_DRBG (Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator) is an algorithm that was presented as a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator (CSPRNG) using methods in elliptic curve cryptography. Despite wide public crit ...

Dual EC DRBG
into NIST standard SP 800-90 that had a
kleptographic Kleptography is the study of stealing information securely and subliminally. The term was introduced by Adam Young and Moti Yung in the Proceedings of Advances in Cryptology—Crypto '96.A. Young, M. Yung, "The Dark Side of Black-Box Cryptography, ...
backdoor that the NSA can use to covertly predict the future outputs of this
pseudorandom number generator A pseudorandom number generator (PRNG), also known as a deterministic random bit generator (DRBG), is an algorithm In and , an algorithm () is a finite sequence of , computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of proble ...
thereby allowing the surreptitious decryption of data. Both papers report that the NSA worked covertly to get its own version of SP 800-90 approved for worldwide use in 2006. The whistle-blowing document states that "eventually, NSA became the sole editor". The reports confirm suspicions and technical grounds publicly raised by cryptographers in 2007 that the EC-DRBG could contain a
kleptographic Kleptography is the study of stealing information securely and subliminally. The term was introduced by Adam Young and Moti Yung in the Proceedings of Advances in Cryptology—Crypto '96.A. Young, M. Yung, "The Dark Side of Black-Box Cryptography, ...
backdoor (perhaps placed in the standard by NSA). NIST responded to the allegations, stating that "NIST works to publish the strongest cryptographic standards possible" and that it uses "a transparent, public process to rigorously vet our recommended standards". The agency stated that "there has been some confusion about the standards development process and the role of different organizations in it...The National Security Agency (NSA) participates in the NIST cryptography process because of its recognized expertise. NIST is also required by statute to consult with the NSA." Recognizing the concerns expressed, the agency reopened the public comment period for the SP800-90 publications, promising that "if vulnerabilities are found in these or any other NIST standards, we will work with the cryptographic community to address them as quickly as possible”. Due to public concern of this
cryptovirology Cryptovirology is a field that studies how to use cryptography to design powerful malicious software. The field was born with the observation that public-key cryptography can be used to break the symmetry between what an antivirus analyst sees ...
attack, NIST rescinded the EC-DRBG algorithm from the NIST SP 800-90 standard.


Publications

* The ''
Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology The ''Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology'' is the flagship peer-reviewed scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing Publishing is the activity of mak ...
'' is the flagship scientific journal at NIST. It has been published since 1904. * First published in 1972, the ''
Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data The ''Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-r ...
'', is a joint venture of the
American Institute of Physics The American Institute of Physics (AIP) promotes science and the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies. Its corporate ...
and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


See also

* AD-X2 *
Advanced Encryption Standard process The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), the symmetric block cipher ratified as a standard by National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States (NIST), was chosen using a process lasting from 1997 to 2000 that was markedly more o ...
*
Digital Library of Mathematical Functions The Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) is an online project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agen ...
(DLMF) *
Inorganic Crystal Structure DatabaseInorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD) is a chemical database founded in 1978 by Günter Bergerhoff (University of Bonn) and I. D. Brown (University of McMaster, Canada). It is now produced by FIZ Karlsruhe in Europe and the U.S. National Insti ...
*
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization develops and publish ...
(ISO) **
ISO/IEC 17025 ISO/IEC 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories is the main List of International Organization for Standardization standards, ISO standard used by testing and calibration laboratories. In most countrie ...
used by testing and calibration laboratories *
International System of Units The International System of Units, known by the international abbreviation SI in all languages and sometimes Pleonasm#Acronyms_and_initialisms, pleonastically as the SI system, is the modern form of the metric system and the world's most wi ...
, see
International Bureau of Weights and Measures The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (french: Bureau international des poids et mesures, BIPM) is an intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign state ...
* Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge *
National Physical Laboratory (United Kingdom) The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the national measurement standards laboratory of the United Kingdom. It is one of the most extensive government laboratories in the UK and has a prestigious reputation for its role in setting and maintai ...
*
National Software Reference Library The National Software Reference Library (NSRL), is a project of the National Institute of Standards and Technology The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the Un ...
* NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions *
NIST hash function competition The NIST hash function competition was an open competition held by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a new hash function called SHA-3 to complement the older SHA-1 and SHA-2. The competition was formally ann ...
* Smart Grid Interoperability Panel * Technical Report Archive & Image Library for NIS-digitized series *
WWV (radio station) WWV is a shortwave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from ...
* Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed * Samuel Wesley Stratton Award


References


External links


Main NIST website

NIST
in the
Federal Register The ''Federal Register'' (FR or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal A government gazette (also known as official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that h ...

NIST Publications Portal

The Official US Time

NIST Standard Reference Data

NIST Standard Reference Materials

NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST)

Manufacturing Extension Partnership
* Historic technical reports from the National Bureau of Standards (and other Federal agencies) are available in th
Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL)
* Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978, Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology, Number 40
United States Standards of Weights and Measures, Their Creation and Creators, by Arthur H. Frazier
{{Authority control Buildings and structures in Gaithersburg, Maryland United States Department of Commerce agencies Government agencies established in 1901 Cryptography organizations 1901 establishments in the United States