|Formed||March 3, 1901(as National Bureau of Standards), became NIST in 1988|
|Headquarters|| Gaithersburg, Maryland, U.S.|
|Annual budget||$1.2 billion (2018)|
|Parent agency||Department of Commerce|
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences laboratory, and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST's activities are organized into laboratory programs that include nanoscale science and technology, engineering, information technology, neutron research, material measurement, and physical measurement.
In the United States, the Department of Commerce is an executive department of the federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, and helping to set industrial standards. This organization's main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and block harmful trade practices of other nations. The Department of Commerce headquarters is the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. Wilbur Ross is the current Commerce secretary.
Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data, or information, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. IT is considered to be a subset of information and communications technology (ICT). An information technology system is generally an information system, a communications system or, more specifically speaking, a computer system – including all hardware, software and peripheral equipment – operated by a limited group of users.
The Articles of Confederation, ratified by the colonies in 1781, contained the clause, "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 (1789), transferred this power to 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".
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate, by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, and sent to the states for ratification. The Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states. The weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the president ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.
In January 1790, President George Washington, in his first annual message to Congress stated that, "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", and ordered Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to prepare a plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States, afterwards referred to as the Jefferson report. On October 25, 1791, Washington appealed a third time to 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", but it was not until 1838, that a uniform set of standards was worked out.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
The State of the UnionAddress is an annual message delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress at the beginning of each calendar year in office. The message typically includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to propose a legislative agenda and national priorities.
In 1821, John Quincy Adams had declared "Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society".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 Department of the Treasury.
John Quincy Adams 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 Secretary of State from 1817 to 1825. During his long diplomatic and political career, Adams also served as an ambassador, and represented Massachusetts as a United States Senator and as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was the eldest son of John Adams, who served as the second US president from 1797 to 1801, and First Lady Abigail Adams. Initially a Federalist like his father, he won election to the presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, and in the mid-1830s became affiliated with the Whig Party.
The Department of the Treasury (USDT) is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively; collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service; manages U.S. government debt instruments; licenses and supervises banks and thrift institutions; and advises the legislative and executive branches on matters of fiscal policy.
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.)
James Harding Southard was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.
President Theodore Roosevelt 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, 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".
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He served as the 25th vice president from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. He is generally ranked in polls of historians and political scientists as one of the five best presidents.
Samuel Wesley Stratton was an administrator in the American government, physicist, and educator.
Metrology is the science 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 France, when a length standard taken from a natural source was proposed. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing a set of standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure conformity between the countries, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. This has evolved into the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) in 1960.
Initially conceived as purely a metrology agency, the Bureau of Standards was directed by 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, and electrical safety. During World War I, 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 forecast methods, the proximity fuze and the standardized airframe used originally for Project Pigeon, and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided Bat 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 and used for research there. A mobile version, DYSEAC, 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 buildings.
NIST, known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a measurement standards laboratory, also known as a National Metrological Institute (NMI), which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. The institute's official mission is to:
Promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.— NIST
NIST had an operating budget for fiscal year 2007 (October 1, 2006 –September 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. 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".
The Congress of 1866 made use of the metric system in commerce a legally protected activity through the passage of Metric Act of 1866.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 under the control of an international committee elected by the General Conference on Weights and Measures.
NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates a facility in Boulder, Colorado. 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:
Extramural programs include:
NIST's Boulder laboratories are best known for NIST‑F1, which houses an atomic clock. NIST‑F1 serves as the source of the nation's official time. From its measurement of the natural resonance frequency of cesium—which defines the second—NIST broadcasts time signals via longwave radio station WWVB near Fort Collins, Colorado, and shortwave radio stations WWV and WWVH, located near Fort Collins and Kekaha, Hawaii, respectively.
NIST also operates a neutron science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The NCNR provides scientists access to a variety of neutron scattering 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-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 nanomanufacturing facility. This "NanoFab" is equipped with tools for lithographic patterning and imaging (e.g., electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes).
NIST has seven standing committees:
As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,300 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.
NIST publishes the Handbook 44 each year after the annual meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (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.
This section needs to be updated.December 2015)(
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.
In 2002, the National Construction Safety Team Act mandated NIST to conduct an investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center 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.
NIST works in conjunction with the Technical Guidelines Development Committee of the Election Assistance Commission to develop the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines for voting machines and other election technology.
Four scientific researchers at NIST have been awarded Nobel Prizes for work in physics: William Daniel Phillips in 1997, 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 of atoms, which is directly related to the development and advancement of the atomic clock. In 2011, Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel in chemistry for his work on quasicrystals in the Metallurgy 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 has been awarded to NIST researchers Cahn (1998) and Wineland (2007). Other notable people who have worked at NBS or NIST include:
Since 1989, the director of NIST has been a Presidential appointee and is confirmed by the United States Senate,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).
The Guardian and The New York Times reported that NIST allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to insert a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator called Dual EC DRBG into NIST standard SP 800-90 that had a kleptographic backdoor that the NSA can use to covertly predict the future outputs of this pseudorandom number generator 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 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 attack, NIST rescinded the EC-DRBG algorithm from the NIST SP 800-90 standard.
Conversion of units is the conversion between different units of measurement for the same quantity, typically through multiplicative conversion factors.
Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the United States federal government for use in computer systems by non-military government agencies and government contractors.
The kilogram is the base unit of mass in the metric system, formally the International System of Units (SI), having the unit symbol kg. It is a widely used measure in science, engineering, and commerce worldwide, and is often called a kilo. The kilogram is almost exactly the mass of one litre of water.
The litre or liter is an SI accepted metric system unit of volume equal to 1 cubic decimetre (dm3), 1,000 cubic centimetres (cm3) or 1/1,000 cubic metre. A cubic decimetre occupies a volume of 10 cm×10 cm×10 cm and is thus equal to one-thousandth of a cubic metre.
The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system, and is the most widely used system of measurement. It comprises a coherent system of units of measurement built on seven base units, which are the second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole, candela, and a set of twenty prefixes to the unit names and unit symbols that may be used when specifying multiples and fractions of the units. The system also specifies names for 22 derived units, such as lumen and watt, for other common physical quantities.
The tonne, commonly referred to as the metric ton in the United States and Canada, is a non-SI metric unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms or one megagram. It is equivalent to approximately 2,204.6 pounds, 1.102 short tons (US) or 0.984 long tons (UK). Although not part of the SI, the tonne is accepted for use with SI units and prefixes by the International Committee for Weights and Measures.
The gram is a metric system unit of mass.
RSA Security LLC, formerly RSA Security, Inc. and doing business as RSA, is an American computer and network security company with a focus on encryption and encryption standards. RSA was named after the initials of its co-founders, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, after whom the RSA public key cryptography algorithm was also named. Among its products are the RSA BSAFE cryptography libraries and the SecurID authentication token. RSA is known for allegedly incorporating backdoors developed by the NSA in its products. It also organizes the annual RSA Conference, an information security conference.
The bar is a metric unit of pressure, but is not approved as part of the International System of Units (SI). It is defined as exactly equal to 100,000 Pa, which is slightly less than the current average atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level.
The Secure Hash Algorithms are a family of cryptographic hash functions published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS), including:
The International Committee for Weights and Measures consists of eighteen persons, each of a different nationality, from Member States of the Metre Convention appointed by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) whose principal task is to promote worldwide uniformity in units of measurement by taking direct action or by submitting proposals to the CGPM.
The rad is a unit of absorbed radiation dose, defined as 1 rad = 0.01 Gy = 0.01 J/kg. It was originally defined in CGS units in 1953 as the dose causing 100 ergs of energy to be absorbed by one gram of matter. The material absorbing the radiation can be human tissue or silicon microchips or any other medium.
FIPS 201 is a United States federal government standard that specifies Personal Identity Verification (PIV) requirements for Federal employees and contractors.
Ronald Collé is a specialist in nuclear and radiochemistry, radionuclidic metrology, and the development of standards. He has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1976 to 2003 and from 2005 to present, and currently serves as a Research Chemist in the Radioactivity Group of the NIST Physics Laboratory.
Dual_EC_DRBG is an algorithm that was presented as a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator (CSPRNG) using methods in elliptic curve cryptography. Despite wide public criticism, including a potential backdoor, for seven years it was one of the four CSPRNGs standardized in NIST SP 800-90A as originally published circa June 2006, until it was withdrawn in 2014.
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 to advance a healthy business and consumer climate through the development and implementation of uniform and equitable weights and measures standards using a consensus building process.
In metrology, a standard is an object, system, or experiment that bears a defined relationship to a unit of measurement of a physical quantity. Standards are the fundamental reference for a system of weights and measures, against which all other measuring devices are compared. Historical standards for length, volume, and mass were defined by many different authorities, which resulted in confusion and inaccuracy of measurements. Modern measurements are defined in relationship to internationally standardized reference objects, which are used under carefully controlled laboratory conditions to define the units of length, mass, electrical potential, and other physical quantities.
Patrick David Gallagher is an American physicist and the eighteenth chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. He was formerly the 14th director of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and had served as the Acting United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce. On February 8, 2014, he was named the Chancellor-elect of the University of Pittsburgh and assumed the position of Chancellor on August 1, 2014.
Katharine Blodgett Gebbie was an American astrophysicist and civil servant. She was the founding Director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and of its two immediate predecessors, the Physics Laboratory and the Center for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, both for which she was the only Director. During her 22 years of management of these institutions, four of its scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 2015, the NIST Katharine Blodgett Gebbie Laboratory Building in Boulder, Colorado was named in her honor.
Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988
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