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Overview:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the Department of Commerce, charged with advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. The agency conducts research and development in four key areas: biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. The NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and runs its laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. The laboratory also runs NIST-F1, one of the world's two atomic clocks, which serves as the source of the nation's official time. The current NIST Director and Commerce Under Secretary for Standards and Technology is Patrick Gallagher.

more
History:

The earliest precursor to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), which was created by Congress in 1901 at the lobbying of leading scientists who pushed for authoritative national standards for quantities and products. Although the Office of Standard Weights and Measures had already been in existence since 1830, it did not adequately meet the needs of electrical instrument makers and manufacturers, and was merged with the newly formed agency.

 

The NBS was initially an agency in the Treasury Department, but was soon placed in the Commerce and Labor Department in 1903, which became simply the Commerce Department in 1913. At its start, the NBS had only 12 staff members and the office served as the federal government’s first physical science research laboratory which worked to improve the standards for electrical measurement, length, mass, temperature, light, and time. The office also prepared and maintained hundreds of standard samples of materials that helped introduce quality control to U.S. industry.

 

The agency played an important role in early government testing, contributing to wartime and military technological developments. However, in 1953, its defense programs were transferred to other laboratories in the Department of Defense, resulting in a loss of over one-third of the staff and more than one-half of its budget. This left the agency devoted primarily to standards, civilian technology and science. In 1960, the agency created NBS II, a clock that kept more accurate time than it’s prior 1949 atomic clock. The NBS II was based the natural frequency of the cesium atom, and became the national standard of frequency, supplanting a set of quartz crystal oscillators. The clock has been upgraded several times since then and now has an accuracy of one second in nearly 20 million years. Two important university collaborations also shaped the agency. The Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) was created in 1962 by a memorandum of understanding between NBS and the University of Colorado, and the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB), which was founded with the University of Maryland in 1984.

 

In 1988, the agency changed its name to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, which added the Advanced Technology Program that encouraged private investment in innovative and profitable technologies and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid small U.S. manufacturers. The Advanced Technology Program was closed in 2007.

 

Since it was founded, NIST research has contributed to a wide variety of technological developments including image processing, DNA diagnostic chips, smoke detectors, and pollution control. NIST scientists have also been awarded three Nobel Prizes for their work in physics: Jan Hall Shares in 2005, Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in 2001, and William Phillips in 1997.

NIST at 100: Foundations for Progress

History of the NIST Time and Frequency Division

more
What it Does:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology, which aid everything from automated teller machines, to mammograms, and semiconductors. NIST Laboratories conduct research needed by U.S. industry to continually improve products and services. There are six laboratories that are devoted to specific research areas:

 

Engineering Laboratory: Conducts measurement science research, performance metrics, tools and methodologies for engineering applications, and critical technical contributions to standards and codes development.

Physical Measurement Laboratory: Develops the national standards of length, mass, force and shock, acceleration, time and frequency, electricity, temperature, humidity, pressure and vacuum, liquid and gas flow, and electromagnetic, optical, microwave, acoustic, ultrasonic, and ionizing radiation.

Information Technology Laboratory: Develops standards, measurements, and testing for interoperability, security, usability, and reliability of information systems, including cybersecurity standards and guidelines for federal agencies and U.S. industry.

Material Measurement Laboratory: Develops research, standards, and data in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences.

Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology: Supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise from discovery to production by providing access to world-class nanoscale measurement and fabrication methods and technology. The CNST is the only national nanocenter with a focus on commerce.

Center for Neutron Research: Provides neutron measurement capabilities to the U.S. research community.

 

The agency also runs five major programs:

 

Smart Grid: Aids in the development of interoperable standards that will make to make the Smart Grid possible.

Baldrige Performance Excellence Program: Aids and outreaches to U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations and runs the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement.

Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership: A nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers.

Technology Innovation Program: Provides cost-shared awards to industry, universities, and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies that address critical national and societal needs.

Law Enforcement Standards Office: Aids criminal justice, public safety, emergency responder, and homeland security agencies make informed procurement, deployment, applications, operating, and training decisions, by developing performance standards, measurement tools, operating procedures, and equipment guidelines.

 

From the Web Site of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Atomic Clock

Boulder Laboratories Page

Budget, Planning and Economic Studies

Careers

Chemistry WebBook

Computer Security Resource Center

Congressional Testimony

Contact Information

Did You Know…

Educational Activities

Events

Fact Sheets

FAQs

Funding Opportunities

Image Gallery

Index by Subject

Kids Page

Laboratories and Programs

News

Newsletter – Tech Beat

NIST Locations

Office of Financial Resource Management

Office of Information Systems Management

Office of the Director

Office of Workforce Management

Organizational Chart

Physical Measurement Laboratory

Programs and Projects

Publications

Quotes about NIST

Speeches

Staff Directory

Standard Reference Data

Technology Partnerships Office

Time

Tours

User Facilities

Video

Virtual Library

Visitor Information

Work with NIST

more
Where Does the Money Go:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funding and aid helps many industries including those involved in science, technology, military, and intelligence. NIST grants also aid a number of colleges and universities. From 2002-2012, the agency spent more than $2.3 billion on contracting, according to a query of USAspending.gov.

 

Top contractor recipients, and their percentage of all contracting include:

1. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company           $91,958,694    (4%) 

2. Pepco Holdings, Inc.                                               $72,498,598    (3%) 

3. KT Consulting, Inc.                                                $68,120,236    (3%) 

4. WGL Holdings, Inc.                                                $55,783,123    (2%) 

5. Northern Taiga Ventures, Inc.                                $49,736,839    (2%)

 

From 2002-2012, the agency also gave away more than $2.9 billion in grants, according to USAspending.gov.

 

Top recipients include:

1. California Manufacturing Technology Consulting             $74,714,193    (3%) 

2. University of Maryland                                                     $74,446,907    (3%) 

3. University of Maryland College Park                                $70,433,134    (2%) 

4. University of Colorado Boulder                                         $69,609,340    (2%) 

5. Board of Trustees of University of Alabama                     $60,000,000    (2%)

more
Controversies:

NIST and 9/11 Investigation

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a three-year building fire and safety investigation to study factors contributing to the probable causes of the post-impact collapse of the World Trade Center towers in the September 11 terrorist attack. It concluded that the towers collapsed due to the impact of the plane crashes, which severed and damaged support columns and dislodged fireproofing insulation, allowing the fires to weaken the floors and support columns until they buckled. In the wake of the attacks, several conspiracy-theory books have been published that have claimed that NIST’s explanation for the rapid collapse is physically impossible without additional external forces. Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan, the authors of the book 9/11 Revealed, allege that the buildings were intentionally demolished and rigged with explosives. The U.S. government maintains that exhaustive investigations, including the one performed by NIST, have explained the damage and vehemently refutes any alternative hypotheses.

NIST and the World Trade Center (NIST explanation)        

NIST Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster FAQ

Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century  (by Jim Hoffman)

Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report (Popular Mechanics)

 

NIST Employees Use Taxpayer-funded Email Lobbying

In 1995, Washington Technology magazine found that several federal agencies were using taxpayer-financed email and Internet accounts to defend government technology subsidy programs from budget cuts advocated by the Republican Congress. The most prominent cyber lobbyists came from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Energy Department and, most recently, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. According to observers, the content, tone and method of delivery of the messages are unprecedented. And they could stray close to violating laws that prevent the use of appropriated agency funds for lobbying Congress.

Several federal agencies may be close to violating laws that prevent the use of appropriated agency funds for lobbying Congress (Washington Technology)

 

NIST’s Role in Controversial Cryptography Science

In 2007, the NIST released a new official standard for random-number generators that are critical for cryptography and Internet encryption keys. The new standard is based on existing standards including one called Dual_EC_DRBG, which one critic has said is slower than its peers, badly designed, and could contain a backdoor for spying by the National Security Agency. In 1995, the NIST also introduced a proposal to relax restrictions on the export of cryptographic software. The agency would allow Americans to add cryptographic locks on electronic data, provided that the keys be made available to law enforcement agencies if needed. The proposal was met with divisive debate over the degree to which businesses and individuals have the right to keep secrets when using telephones, computers and other forms of electronic communications.

The Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG (by Bruce Schneier)

Privacy for computers? Clinton sets the stage for a debate on data encryption (by Peter H. Lewis, New York Times)

 

Electronic Voting Concerns

In 2002, the NIST was tasked with overseeing the standards development and certification processes of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines as part of the Help America Vote Act. Since then, many have questioned the security and reliability of DREs as they have not faced full scientific scrutiny because they are proprietary machines and manufacturers require confidentiality agreements of those who wish to acquire them. Although testing by NIST and other agencies are done as part of federal and state certification processes, detailed results are not publicly available.

The Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine (DRE) Controversy: FAQs and Misperceptions (by Eric A. Fischer and Kevin J. Coleman, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

E-voting faces a test at the polls: NIST works on standards as debate continues over systems’ reliability (by Wilson P. Dizard III, Government Computer News)

more
Former Directors:

Patrick D. Gallagher, 2008-2009 (as Deputy Director)

James M. Turner, 2007-2008 (as Deputy Director)

William A. Jeffrey, 2005-2007

Hratch Semerjian, 2004-2005 (Acting Director)

Arden L. Bement Jr., 2001-2004

Karen Brown, 2000-2001 (Acting Director)

Ray Kammer, 1997-2000

Arati Prabhakar, 1993-1997

John W. Lyons, 1990-1993

Ernest Ambler, 1975-1989

Richard W. Roberts, 1973-1975

Lewis M. Branscomb, 1969-1972

Allen V. Astin, 1951-1969

Edward U. Condon, 1945-1951

Lyman J. Briggs, 1932-1945

George K. Burgess, 1923-1932

Samuel W. Stratton, 1901-1922

 

List of NIST directors since 1901

more

Comments

Fred Cook 5 years ago
I was travelling through western Kansas and noticed that some of the counties that border Colorado are in the Mountain Time Zone, but, most of the counties that bordered Colorado were in the Central Time Zone. How is it determined which time zone an area is in when it is "on the line" between the two time zones? If it were strictly "latitudinal" there would be a straight line and no variance.

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1901
Annual Budget: $857 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 3,256 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: http://www.nist.gov/
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gallagher, Patrick
Acting Director

Patrick M. Gallagher has spent virtually his entire career at the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is best known for setting America’s clock by providing the nation’s standard time service. Gallagher has been the de facto head of NIST since the last year of the Bush administration while serving as deputy director, but was officially sworn in as director on November 20, 2009.

 
Gallagher’s father, John, worked at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and Pat was raised in Albuquerque. He graduated from Saint Pius High School and spent summers working on public health and sanitation projects in Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico with the group Amigos de las Américas.
 
Gallagher earned his bachelor’s degree in 1985 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, majoring in physics and philosophy. After teaching high school math and science for a year in St. Joseph, Missouri, he returned to university, earing a Ph.D in physics at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
 
He spent two years doing post-doctoral research at Boston University, and then joined NIST as an instrument scientist for the Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) at the NIST Gaithersburg campus in Maryland. The NCNR focuses on providing neutron measurement capabilities for researchers. Gallagher concentrated on research on neutron and X-ray instrumentation and soft condensed matter systems, such as liquids, polymers and gels.
 
Gallagher gradually worked his way up at NIST, serving as the agency’s representative at the National Science and Technology Council from 1999-2000. He also chaired the Interagency Working Group on neutron and light source facilities in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 2004, Gallagher became director of the NCNR.
 
In 2008, Commerce Secretary Carlos Guttierrez selected Gallagher to be deputy director of NIST. With the director’s position vacant, he ran the agency, overseeing a budget of $1.6 billion and a staff of 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrative personnel.
 
Gallagher has been a member of numerous advisory, study and review committees including the Math and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation; the Committee of Visitors for Basic Energy Science in the Department of Energy for the Division of Materials Science and Engineering and the Division of Scientific User Facilities; the Solid State Sciences Committee, the Neutrino Advisory Committee and the New Materials Growth and Synthesis Committee of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council; the Neutron Sciences Advisory Board of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Advanced Photon Source for Argonne National Laboratory.
 
Gallagher and his wife, Karen, have three sons.
 

Patrick D. Gallagher (WhoRunsGov)    

more
Turner, James
Previous Acting Director

Dr. James M. Turner became the agency’s Acting Director on September 3, 2007. A native of Washington, D.C., Turner received his B.A. and PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins and M.I.T., respectively. He taught for five years as an Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering at Morehouse College.

 
Turner has held several senior management positions at the Department of Energy, primarily concerned with laboratory oversight, nuclear safety and safeguarding nuclear weapons both in the U.S. and internationally. He has worked with foreign governments and international agencies to build their response capabilities to nuclear emergencies. Prior to joining NIST in April 2007, Turner served as the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Risk Reduction in the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for major projects concerning Russia’s permanent shutdown of its last three weapons-grade plutonium-production reactors.
 
Turner is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Nuclear Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ASTM, the Council on Foreign Relations, IEEE, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the World Affairs Council. He is also on the Election Assistance Committee (EAC)’s Technical Guidelines and Development Committee.

more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the Department of Commerce, charged with advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. The agency conducts research and development in four key areas: biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. The NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and runs its laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. The laboratory also runs NIST-F1, one of the world's two atomic clocks, which serves as the source of the nation's official time. The current NIST Director and Commerce Under Secretary for Standards and Technology is Patrick Gallagher.

more
History:

The earliest precursor to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), which was created by Congress in 1901 at the lobbying of leading scientists who pushed for authoritative national standards for quantities and products. Although the Office of Standard Weights and Measures had already been in existence since 1830, it did not adequately meet the needs of electrical instrument makers and manufacturers, and was merged with the newly formed agency.

 

The NBS was initially an agency in the Treasury Department, but was soon placed in the Commerce and Labor Department in 1903, which became simply the Commerce Department in 1913. At its start, the NBS had only 12 staff members and the office served as the federal government’s first physical science research laboratory which worked to improve the standards for electrical measurement, length, mass, temperature, light, and time. The office also prepared and maintained hundreds of standard samples of materials that helped introduce quality control to U.S. industry.

 

The agency played an important role in early government testing, contributing to wartime and military technological developments. However, in 1953, its defense programs were transferred to other laboratories in the Department of Defense, resulting in a loss of over one-third of the staff and more than one-half of its budget. This left the agency devoted primarily to standards, civilian technology and science. In 1960, the agency created NBS II, a clock that kept more accurate time than it’s prior 1949 atomic clock. The NBS II was based the natural frequency of the cesium atom, and became the national standard of frequency, supplanting a set of quartz crystal oscillators. The clock has been upgraded several times since then and now has an accuracy of one second in nearly 20 million years. Two important university collaborations also shaped the agency. The Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) was created in 1962 by a memorandum of understanding between NBS and the University of Colorado, and the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB), which was founded with the University of Maryland in 1984.

 

In 1988, the agency changed its name to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, which added the Advanced Technology Program that encouraged private investment in innovative and profitable technologies and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid small U.S. manufacturers. The Advanced Technology Program was closed in 2007.

 

Since it was founded, NIST research has contributed to a wide variety of technological developments including image processing, DNA diagnostic chips, smoke detectors, and pollution control. NIST scientists have also been awarded three Nobel Prizes for their work in physics: Jan Hall Shares in 2005, Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in 2001, and William Phillips in 1997.

NIST at 100: Foundations for Progress

History of the NIST Time and Frequency Division

more
What it Does:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology, which aid everything from automated teller machines, to mammograms, and semiconductors. NIST Laboratories conduct research needed by U.S. industry to continually improve products and services. There are six laboratories that are devoted to specific research areas:

 

Engineering Laboratory: Conducts measurement science research, performance metrics, tools and methodologies for engineering applications, and critical technical contributions to standards and codes development.

Physical Measurement Laboratory: Develops the national standards of length, mass, force and shock, acceleration, time and frequency, electricity, temperature, humidity, pressure and vacuum, liquid and gas flow, and electromagnetic, optical, microwave, acoustic, ultrasonic, and ionizing radiation.

Information Technology Laboratory: Develops standards, measurements, and testing for interoperability, security, usability, and reliability of information systems, including cybersecurity standards and guidelines for federal agencies and U.S. industry.

Material Measurement Laboratory: Develops research, standards, and data in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences.

Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology: Supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise from discovery to production by providing access to world-class nanoscale measurement and fabrication methods and technology. The CNST is the only national nanocenter with a focus on commerce.

Center for Neutron Research: Provides neutron measurement capabilities to the U.S. research community.

 

The agency also runs five major programs:

 

Smart Grid: Aids in the development of interoperable standards that will make to make the Smart Grid possible.

Baldrige Performance Excellence Program: Aids and outreaches to U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations and runs the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement.

Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership: A nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers.

Technology Innovation Program: Provides cost-shared awards to industry, universities, and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies that address critical national and societal needs.

Law Enforcement Standards Office: Aids criminal justice, public safety, emergency responder, and homeland security agencies make informed procurement, deployment, applications, operating, and training decisions, by developing performance standards, measurement tools, operating procedures, and equipment guidelines.

 

From the Web Site of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Atomic Clock

Boulder Laboratories Page

Budget, Planning and Economic Studies

Careers

Chemistry WebBook

Computer Security Resource Center

Congressional Testimony

Contact Information

Did You Know…

Educational Activities

Events

Fact Sheets

FAQs

Funding Opportunities

Image Gallery

Index by Subject

Kids Page

Laboratories and Programs

News

Newsletter – Tech Beat

NIST Locations

Office of Financial Resource Management

Office of Information Systems Management

Office of the Director

Office of Workforce Management

Organizational Chart

Physical Measurement Laboratory

Programs and Projects

Publications

Quotes about NIST

Speeches

Staff Directory

Standard Reference Data

Technology Partnerships Office

Time

Tours

User Facilities

Video

Virtual Library

Visitor Information

Work with NIST

more
Where Does the Money Go:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funding and aid helps many industries including those involved in science, technology, military, and intelligence. NIST grants also aid a number of colleges and universities. From 2002-2012, the agency spent more than $2.3 billion on contracting, according to a query of USAspending.gov.

 

Top contractor recipients, and their percentage of all contracting include:

1. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company           $91,958,694    (4%) 

2. Pepco Holdings, Inc.                                               $72,498,598    (3%) 

3. KT Consulting, Inc.                                                $68,120,236    (3%) 

4. WGL Holdings, Inc.                                                $55,783,123    (2%) 

5. Northern Taiga Ventures, Inc.                                $49,736,839    (2%)

 

From 2002-2012, the agency also gave away more than $2.9 billion in grants, according to USAspending.gov.

 

Top recipients include:

1. California Manufacturing Technology Consulting             $74,714,193    (3%) 

2. University of Maryland                                                     $74,446,907    (3%) 

3. University of Maryland College Park                                $70,433,134    (2%) 

4. University of Colorado Boulder                                         $69,609,340    (2%) 

5. Board of Trustees of University of Alabama                     $60,000,000    (2%)

more
Controversies:

NIST and 9/11 Investigation

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a three-year building fire and safety investigation to study factors contributing to the probable causes of the post-impact collapse of the World Trade Center towers in the September 11 terrorist attack. It concluded that the towers collapsed due to the impact of the plane crashes, which severed and damaged support columns and dislodged fireproofing insulation, allowing the fires to weaken the floors and support columns until they buckled. In the wake of the attacks, several conspiracy-theory books have been published that have claimed that NIST’s explanation for the rapid collapse is physically impossible without additional external forces. Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan, the authors of the book 9/11 Revealed, allege that the buildings were intentionally demolished and rigged with explosives. The U.S. government maintains that exhaustive investigations, including the one performed by NIST, have explained the damage and vehemently refutes any alternative hypotheses.

NIST and the World Trade Center (NIST explanation)        

NIST Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster FAQ

Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century  (by Jim Hoffman)

Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report (Popular Mechanics)

 

NIST Employees Use Taxpayer-funded Email Lobbying

In 1995, Washington Technology magazine found that several federal agencies were using taxpayer-financed email and Internet accounts to defend government technology subsidy programs from budget cuts advocated by the Republican Congress. The most prominent cyber lobbyists came from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Energy Department and, most recently, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. According to observers, the content, tone and method of delivery of the messages are unprecedented. And they could stray close to violating laws that prevent the use of appropriated agency funds for lobbying Congress.

Several federal agencies may be close to violating laws that prevent the use of appropriated agency funds for lobbying Congress (Washington Technology)

 

NIST’s Role in Controversial Cryptography Science

In 2007, the NIST released a new official standard for random-number generators that are critical for cryptography and Internet encryption keys. The new standard is based on existing standards including one called Dual_EC_DRBG, which one critic has said is slower than its peers, badly designed, and could contain a backdoor for spying by the National Security Agency. In 1995, the NIST also introduced a proposal to relax restrictions on the export of cryptographic software. The agency would allow Americans to add cryptographic locks on electronic data, provided that the keys be made available to law enforcement agencies if needed. The proposal was met with divisive debate over the degree to which businesses and individuals have the right to keep secrets when using telephones, computers and other forms of electronic communications.

The Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG (by Bruce Schneier)

Privacy for computers? Clinton sets the stage for a debate on data encryption (by Peter H. Lewis, New York Times)

 

Electronic Voting Concerns

In 2002, the NIST was tasked with overseeing the standards development and certification processes of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines as part of the Help America Vote Act. Since then, many have questioned the security and reliability of DREs as they have not faced full scientific scrutiny because they are proprietary machines and manufacturers require confidentiality agreements of those who wish to acquire them. Although testing by NIST and other agencies are done as part of federal and state certification processes, detailed results are not publicly available.

The Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine (DRE) Controversy: FAQs and Misperceptions (by Eric A. Fischer and Kevin J. Coleman, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

E-voting faces a test at the polls: NIST works on standards as debate continues over systems’ reliability (by Wilson P. Dizard III, Government Computer News)

more
Former Directors:

Patrick D. Gallagher, 2008-2009 (as Deputy Director)

James M. Turner, 2007-2008 (as Deputy Director)

William A. Jeffrey, 2005-2007

Hratch Semerjian, 2004-2005 (Acting Director)

Arden L. Bement Jr., 2001-2004

Karen Brown, 2000-2001 (Acting Director)

Ray Kammer, 1997-2000

Arati Prabhakar, 1993-1997

John W. Lyons, 1990-1993

Ernest Ambler, 1975-1989

Richard W. Roberts, 1973-1975

Lewis M. Branscomb, 1969-1972

Allen V. Astin, 1951-1969

Edward U. Condon, 1945-1951

Lyman J. Briggs, 1932-1945

George K. Burgess, 1923-1932

Samuel W. Stratton, 1901-1922

 

List of NIST directors since 1901

more

Comments

Fred Cook 5 years ago
I was travelling through western Kansas and noticed that some of the counties that border Colorado are in the Mountain Time Zone, but, most of the counties that bordered Colorado were in the Central Time Zone. How is it determined which time zone an area is in when it is "on the line" between the two time zones? If it were strictly "latitudinal" there would be a straight line and no variance.

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1901
Annual Budget: $857 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 3,256 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: http://www.nist.gov/
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gallagher, Patrick
Acting Director

Patrick M. Gallagher has spent virtually his entire career at the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is best known for setting America’s clock by providing the nation’s standard time service. Gallagher has been the de facto head of NIST since the last year of the Bush administration while serving as deputy director, but was officially sworn in as director on November 20, 2009.

 
Gallagher’s father, John, worked at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and Pat was raised in Albuquerque. He graduated from Saint Pius High School and spent summers working on public health and sanitation projects in Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico with the group Amigos de las Américas.
 
Gallagher earned his bachelor’s degree in 1985 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, majoring in physics and philosophy. After teaching high school math and science for a year in St. Joseph, Missouri, he returned to university, earing a Ph.D in physics at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
 
He spent two years doing post-doctoral research at Boston University, and then joined NIST as an instrument scientist for the Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) at the NIST Gaithersburg campus in Maryland. The NCNR focuses on providing neutron measurement capabilities for researchers. Gallagher concentrated on research on neutron and X-ray instrumentation and soft condensed matter systems, such as liquids, polymers and gels.
 
Gallagher gradually worked his way up at NIST, serving as the agency’s representative at the National Science and Technology Council from 1999-2000. He also chaired the Interagency Working Group on neutron and light source facilities in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 2004, Gallagher became director of the NCNR.
 
In 2008, Commerce Secretary Carlos Guttierrez selected Gallagher to be deputy director of NIST. With the director’s position vacant, he ran the agency, overseeing a budget of $1.6 billion and a staff of 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrative personnel.
 
Gallagher has been a member of numerous advisory, study and review committees including the Math and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation; the Committee of Visitors for Basic Energy Science in the Department of Energy for the Division of Materials Science and Engineering and the Division of Scientific User Facilities; the Solid State Sciences Committee, the Neutrino Advisory Committee and the New Materials Growth and Synthesis Committee of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council; the Neutron Sciences Advisory Board of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Advanced Photon Source for Argonne National Laboratory.
 
Gallagher and his wife, Karen, have three sons.
 

Patrick D. Gallagher (WhoRunsGov)    

more
Turner, James
Previous Acting Director

Dr. James M. Turner became the agency’s Acting Director on September 3, 2007. A native of Washington, D.C., Turner received his B.A. and PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins and M.I.T., respectively. He taught for five years as an Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering at Morehouse College.

 
Turner has held several senior management positions at the Department of Energy, primarily concerned with laboratory oversight, nuclear safety and safeguarding nuclear weapons both in the U.S. and internationally. He has worked with foreign governments and international agencies to build their response capabilities to nuclear emergencies. Prior to joining NIST in April 2007, Turner served as the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Risk Reduction in the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for major projects concerning Russia’s permanent shutdown of its last three weapons-grade plutonium-production reactors.
 
Turner is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Nuclear Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ASTM, the Council on Foreign Relations, IEEE, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the World Affairs Council. He is also on the Election Assistance Committee (EAC)’s Technical Guidelines and Development Committee.

more