National Institute of Standards and Technology
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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth and opportunity. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for bu ...
whose mission is to promote American innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST's activities are organized into
physical science Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies 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". Definition Phy ...
laboratory programs that include nanoscale science and technology, engineering,
information technology Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of data . and information. IT forms part of information and communications technology (ICT). An information technology system (I ...
,
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 beh ...
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, 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 of the United States of America. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, in 1789. Originally comprising seven articles, it delineates the natio ...
, 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) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of th ...
, in his first annual message to Congress, 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 Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
to prepare a
Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States The "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, from 1825 to 1829. He previously served as the eighth United States S ...
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
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey The United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (abbreviated USC&GS), known from 1807 to 1836 as the Survey of the Coast and from 1836 until 1878 as the United States Coast Survey, was the first scientific agency of the United States Government. It ...
in the Department of the Treasury.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 federal agency of the United States government within the executive branch", charged with the preservation and documentation of government and historical records. It ...
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 (1901–1988)

In 1901, in response to a bill proposed by Congressman James H. Southard (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 by his initials, T. R., was an American politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26t ...
appointed Samuel W. Stratton 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 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, Logan Circle, Jefferson Memorial, White House, Adams Morgan ...
, 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 who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the Republican Party, holding office during the onset of the Gr ...
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 for cold environments. Common antifreezes also increase the boiling point of the liquid, all ...
, and electrical safety. During
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, and the Ottoman Empire, with fightin ...
, the Bureau worked on multiple problems related to war production, even operating its own facility to produce optical glass 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 waves as they travel, or are propagated, from one point to another in vacuum, or into various parts of the atmosphere. As a form of electromagnetic radiation, like light waves, radio waves are affect ...
forecast methods, the proximity fuze and the standardized airframe used originally for
Project Pigeon During World War II, Project Pigeon (later Project Orcon, for "organic control") was American behaviorist B. F. Skinner's attempt to develop a pigeon-controlled guided bomb. Overview The testbed was the same National Bureau of Standards-de ...
, and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided
Bat Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera.''cheir'', "hand" and πτερόν''pteron'', "wing". With their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more agile in flight than most ...
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 The SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer) was an early electronic digital computer built in 1950 by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in Los Angeles, California. It was designed by Harry Huskey. Overview Like the SEAC which w ...
, 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 bache ...
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 built by the National Bureau of Standards for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. It was housed in a truck, making it one of the first m ...
, was built for the Signal Corps in 1954.


National Institute of Standards and Technology (from 1988)

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 collapse of the World Trade Center occurred during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, after the Twin Towers were struck by two hijacked commercial airliners. One World Trade Center (WTC 1, or the North Tower) was hit at 8:46&nb ...
buildings. Following the 2021 Surfside condominium building collapse, NIST sent engineers to the site to investigate the cause of the collapse. In 2019, NIST launched a program named NIST on a Chip to decrease the size of instruments from lab machines to chip size. Applications include aircraft testing, communication with satellites for navigation purposes, and temperature and pressure.


Constitution

NIST, known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a
measurement standards laboratory Metrology is the scientific study of measurement. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial in linking human activities. Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution's political motivation to standardise units in Fra ...
, 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 of the U.S. federal government concerned with creating the conditions for economic growth and opportunity. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for bu ...
. The institute's official mission is to: NIST had an operating 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 reporting by businesses and other organizations. Laws in many ...
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 American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the "United States" or "America" ** Americans, citizens and nationals of the United States of America ** American ancestry, p ...
. 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 legislation that legally protected use of the metric system in commerce from lawsuit, and provided an official conversion table from U.S. customary units. History ...
. 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, through which its 59 member-states act together on measurement standards in four areas: chemistry ...
under the control of an international committee elected by the General Conference on Weights and Measures.


Organization

NIST is headquartered in
Gaithersburg, Maryland Gaithersburg ( ), officially the City of Gaithersburg, is a city in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. At the time of the 2020 U.S. Census, Gaithersburg had a population of 69,657, making it the ninth-largest location in the state. Gai ...
, and operates a facility in
Boulder, Colorado Boulder is a home rule city that is the county seat and most populous municipality of Boulder County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 108,250 at the 2020 United States census, making it the 12th most populous city in Color ...
, which was dedicated by
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, ...
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 highest formal recognition of the performance excellen ...
, 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 that measures time by monitoring the resonant frequency of atoms. It is based on atoms having different energy levels. Electron states in an atom are associated with different energy levels, and in transitions betwee ...
. 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) (or cesium in American English) is a chemical element with the symbol Cs and atomic number 55. It is a soft, silvery-golden alkali metal with a melting point of , which makes it one of only five elemental metals that ar ...
—which defines the
second The second (symbol: s) is the unit of time in the International System of Units (SI), historically defined as of a day – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 hours, then to 60 minutes and finally to 60 seconds ...
—NIST broadcasts
time signal A time signal is a visible, audible, mechanical, or electronic signal used as a reference to determine the time of day. Church bells or voices announcing hours of prayer gave way to automatically operated chimes on public clocks; however, a ...
s via
longwave In radio, longwave, long wave or long-wave, and commonly abbreviated LW, refers to parts of the radio spectrum with wavelengths longer than what was originally called the medium-wave broadcasting band. The term is historic, dating from the e ...
radio station
WWVB WWVB is a time signal radio station near Fort Collins, Colorado and is operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Most radio-controlled clocks in North America use WWVB's transmissions to set the correct time. The 70 ...
near
Fort Collins A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
, Colorado, and shortwave
radio station Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves to radio receivers belonging to a public audience. In terrestrial radio broadcasting the radio waves are broadcast by a land-based radio ...
s WWV and
WWVH WWVH is the callsign of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's shortwave radio time signal station located at the Barking Sands Missile Range, in Kekaha, on the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii. WWVH is the Pacific si ...
, located near Fort Collins and
Kekaha, Hawaii Kekaha (literally, "the place" in Hawaiian) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kauai County, Hawaii, United States. The population was 3,715 at the 2020 census, up from 3,175 at the 2000 census. History For most of the 20th century, the K ...
, 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 beh ...
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. Th ...
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, 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 agency of the US federal government responsible for the civil space program, aeronautics research, and space research. NASA was established in 1958, succeeding t ...
-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. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) performs research in nanotechnology, both through internal research efforts and by running a user-accessible
cleanroom A cleanroom or clean room is an engineered space, which maintains a very low concentration of airborne particulates. It is well isolated, well-controlled from contamination, and actively cleansed. Such rooms are commonly needed for scientif ...
nanomanufacturing Nanomanufacturing is both the production of nanoscaled materials, which can be powders or fluids, and the manufacturing of parts "bottom up" from nanoscaled materials or "top down" in smallest steps for high precision, used in several technologies s ...
facility. This "NanoFab" is equipped with tools for
lithographic Lithography () is a planographic 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 the German a ...
patterning and imaging (e.g.,
electron microscopes An electron microscope is a microscope that uses a beam of accelerated electrons as a source of illumination. As the wavelength of an electron can be up to 100,000 times shorter than that of visible light photons, electron microscopes have a hi ...
and
atomic force microscope Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the op ...
s).


Committees

NIST has seven standing committees: *
Technical Guidelines Development Committee 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 voluntary standards and guidelines related ...
(TGDC) *
Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction The 2004 re-authorization of National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) directed that the Director of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) establish the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACE ...
(ACEHR) * National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST Advisory Committee) *
Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board Information is an abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to inform. At the most fundamental level information pertains to the interpretation of that which may be sensed. Any natural process that is not completely random, ...
(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 1,300
Standard Reference Material Certified reference materials (CRMs) are 'controls' or standards used to check the quality and metrological traceability of products, to validate analytical measurement methods, or for the calibration of instruments. A certified reference materi ...
s (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 Measures The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to developing the United States technical standards for weights and measures in commerce. The organization's official mission is "Ensuring Equity and ...
(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 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 The National Construction Safety Team Act (H.R. 4687), signed into law October 1, 2002, authorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish investigative teams to assess building performance and emergency response and e ...
mandated NIST to conduct an investigation into the
collapse of the World Trade Center The collapse of the World Trade Center occurred during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, after the Twin Towers were struck by two hijacked commercial airliners. One World Trade Center (WTC 1, or the North Tower) was hit at 8:46&nb ...
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 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 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 voluntary standards and guidelines related ...
of the Election Assistance Commission 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 in an election without paper. The first voting machines were mechanical but it is increasingly more common to use '' electronic voting machines''. Traditionally, a voting machine has been defi ...
s and other election technology.


Cybersecurity Framework

In February 2014 NIST published the
NIST Cybersecurity Framework NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines for mitigating organizational cybersecurity risks, published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices. The framewor ...
that serves as voluntary guidance for organizations to manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. It was later amended and Version 1.1 was published in April 2018.
Executive Order In the United States, an executive order is a directive by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of t ...
13800, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, made the Framework mandatory for U.S. federal government agencies.


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's will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind." Alfr ...
s for work in
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that department of knowledge which r ...
:
William Daniel Phillips William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948) is an American physicist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1997, with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. Biography Phillips was born to William Cornelius Phillips of Juniata, Pennsylvan ...
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 1995. For their efforts, Cornell, Wieman, and Wolfgang Ketterle shared the Nobe ...
in 2001,
John Lewis Hall John Lewis "Jan" Hall (born August 21, 1934) is an American physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics. He shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics with Theodor W. Hänsch and Roy Glauber for his work in precision spectroscopy. Biography Born ...
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 includes a number of techniques in which atoms, molecules, and small mechanical systems are cooled, often approaching temperatures near absolute zero. Laser cooling techniques rely on the fact that when an object (usually an atom) a ...
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). Retri ...
was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on
quasicrystal A quasiperiodic crystal, or quasicrystal, is a structure that is ordered but not periodic. A quasicrystalline pattern can continuously fill all available space, but it lacks translational symmetry. While crystals, according to the classical ...
s in the
Metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are known as alloys. Metallurgy encompasses both the sc ...
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 and social scienc ...
has been awarded to NIST researchers Cahn (1998) and Wineland (2007). Other notable people who have worked at NBS or NIST include: *
Milton Abramowitz Milton Abramowitz (19 February 1915 in Brooklyn, New York – 5 July 1958) was a Jewish American mathematician at the National Bureau of Standards who, with Irene Stegun, edited a classic book of mathematical tables called '' Handbook of Mathemati ...
*
James Sacra Albus James Sacra Albus (May 4, 1935 – April 17, 2011) was an American engineer, Senior NIST Fellow and founder and former chief of the Intelligent Systems Division of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards an ...
* David W. Allan * Kathryn Beers * Norman Bekkedahl * Julie Borchers *
Ferdinand Graft Brickwedde Ferdinand Graft Brickwedde (26 March 1903 – 29 March 1989), a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology), in 1931 produced the first sample of hydrogen in which the spectrum of its ...
*
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 Bureau of Standards during the Great Depression and chairman of the Uranium Committee before America e ...
*
Edgar Buckingham Edgar Buckingham (July 8, 1867 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – April 29, 1940 in Washington DC) was an American physicist. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in physics in 1887. He did graduate work at Strasbourg ...
* John M. Butler *
William Weber Coblentz William is a male given name of Germanic origin.Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'', Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, , p. 276. It became very popular in the English language after the Norman conquest of Engl ...
* Ronald Collé *
Philip J. Davis Philip J. Davis (January 2, 1923 – March 14, 2018) was an American academic applied mathematician. Davis was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was known for his work in numerical analysis and approximation theory, as well as his investigati ...
* Marla Dowell *
Hugh Latimer Dryden Hugh Latimer Dryden (July 2, 1898 – December 2, 1965) was an American aeronautical scientist and civil servant. He served as NASA Deputy Administrator from August 19, 1958, until his death. Biography Early life and education Dryden was born i ...
* 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 professo ...
* Charlotte Froese Fischer * Tim Foecke * John Cantius Garand * Katharine Blodgett Gebbie *
Nada Golmie Nada Taleb Golmie is an American computer scientist and engineer. She is chief of the wireless networks division in the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Career and education Golmie joi ...
* Douglas Rayner Hartree *
Magnus Rudolph Hestenes Magnus Rudolph Hestenes (February 13, 1906 – May 31, 1991) was an American mathematician best known for his contributions to calculus of variations and optimal control. As a pioneer in computer science, he devised the conjugate gradient method, ...
* Marcia Huber * Marilyn E. Jacox * Deborah S. Jin * John Kelsey *
Russell A. Kirsch Russell A. Kirsch (June 20, 1929August 11, 2020) was an American engineer at the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology). He was recognized as the developer of the first digital image scanne ...
*
Cornelius Lanczos __NOTOC__ Cornelius (Cornel) Lanczos ( hu, Lánczos Kornél, ; born as Kornél Lőwy, until 1906: ''Löwy (Lőwy) Kornél''; February 2, 1893 – June 25, 1974) was a Hungarian-American and later Hungarian-Irish mathematician and physicist. Accor ...
* Wilfrid Basil Mann * William Clyde Martin * Willie E. May *
William Frederick Meggers William Frederick Meggers (July 13, 1888 – November 19, 1966) was an American physicist specialising in spectroscopy. Born in Clintonville, Wisconsin, he had to combine his early schooling with working on the family farm, but earned a scholar ...
* Christopher Roy Monroe * James G. Nell *
Frank William John Olver Frank William John Olver (December 15, 1924 – April 23, 2013) was a professor of mathematics at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology and Department of Mathematics at the University of Maryland who worked on asymptotic analysis, speci ...
* Anne Plant * E. Ward Plummer *
Jacob Rabinow Jacob Rabinow (January 8, 1910 – September 11, 1999) was an engineer and inventor. He earned a total of 229 U.S. patents on a variety of mechanical, optical and electrical devices. Biography Rabinow was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on January 8, 1 ...
*
Ana Maria Rey Ana Maria Rey is a Colombian theoretical physicist, professor at University of Colorado at Boulder, a JILA fellow, a fellow at National Institute of Standards and Technology and a fellow of the American Physical Society. Rey was the first Hispan ...
* Richard J. Saykally * Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly * Irene Ann Stegun * William C. Stone * Sheldon M. Wiederhorn * Winnie Wong-Ng * Helen M. Wood *
Ellen Voorhees Ellen Marie Voorhees (born March 13, 1958) is an American computer scientist known for her work in document retrieval, information retrieval, and natural language processing. She works in the retrieval group at the National Institute of Standards ...


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, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States. The composition and pow ...
, 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 that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of the invention."A p ...
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, a federal republic located primarily in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a fede ...
, 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 (MEMS) and incorporating a low-power semiconductor laser as the light source. The first CSAC physics package was d ...
, 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 Adv ...
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'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
'' and ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid ...
'' reported that NIST allowed the
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collecti ...
(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 (PRNG) with properties that make it suitable for use in cryptography. It is also loosely kno ...
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 ...
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 A back door is a door in the rear of a building. Back door may also refer to: Arts and media * Back Door (jazz trio), a British group * Porta dos Fundos (literally “Back Door” in Portuguese) Brazilian comedy YouTube channel. * Works so titl ...
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 for generating a sequence of numbers whose properties approximate the properties of sequences of random numbers. The PRNG-generate ...
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 refers to the use of cryptography to devise particularly powerful malware, such as ransomware and asymmetric backdoors. Traditionally, cryptography and its applications are defensive in nature, and provide privacy, authentication, ...
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 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It has been published since 1904. Its former name was ''Jour ...
'' 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 scientific journal published by AIP Publishing on behalf of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The objective of the journal is to provide critical ...
'', 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 corpora ...
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 ...
*
Digital Library of Mathematical Functions The Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) is an online project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a database of mathematical reference data for special functions and their applications. It is inte ...
(DLMF) *
Inorganic Crystal Structure Database Inorganic 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 I ...
*
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. Membership requirements are given in Ar ...
(ISO) ** ISO/IEC 17025used 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 pleonastically as the SI system, is the modern form of the metric system and the world's most widely used system of measurement. E ...
, 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, through which its 59 member-states act together on measurement standards in four areas: chemistry ...
*
Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge 300px Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge (MBGC) is a biometric project. Its primary goal is to improve performance of face and iris recognition technology on both still and video imagery with a series of challenge problems and evaluation. Backgr ...
*
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 mainta ...
* National Software Reference Library *
NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions The Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) is an online project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a database of mathematical reference data for special functions and their applications. It is intend ...
*
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 an ...
* Samuel Wesley Stratton Award *
Scientific Working Group Since the early 1990s, American and International forensic science laboratories and practitioners have collaborated in Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) to improve discipline practices and build consensus standards. In 2014, the SWGs are being ...
* Smart Grid Interoperability Panel *
Technical Report Archive & Image Library Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL) is a national collaborative project initiated by the University of Arizona and the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA). It is now part of the Global Resources Network of the Center for Research L ...
for NIS-digitized series *
WWV (radio station) WWV is a shortwave ("high frequency" or HF) radio station, located near Fort Collins, Colorado. It has broadcast a continuous time signal since 1945, and implements United States government frequency standards, with transmitters operating on 2.5, ...
*
Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed The Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed (VCBT) is a whole building emulator located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It is designed with enough flexibility to be capable of reproducibly simulating n ...
*
VAMAS VAMAS is the Versailles project on advanced materials and standards that aim to establish the scientific foundation for Metrology, standardised measurements, testing, specifications, and standards through international collaborative projects. VAMA ...


References


External links


Main NIST website

NIST
in the
Federal Register The ''Federal Register'' (FR or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal of the federal government of the United States that contains government agency rules, proposed rules, and public notices. It is published every weekday, except on feder ...

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

NIST on a chip

SI Redefinition

Scientific and Technical Research and Services
account on
USAspending.gov ttp://www.usaspending.gov USASpending.govis a database of spending by the United States federal government. History Around the time of the Act's passage, OMB Watch, a government watchdog group, was developing a site that would do essentially eve ...
* 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