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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. 

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 9 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

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
Copan, Walter
Director

Walter G. Copan, a leading expert in the commercialization of technology, became director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on October 16, 2017, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a unanimous vote. Copan, who had been nominated by President Donald Trump for the position in September 2017, succeeds Willie May, who served from May 2015 to the end of the Obama administration in January.

 

Copan says his top priority in the post is to implement the Cybersecurity Framework, an effort led by NIST to improve network security across federal agencies as well as industry. He will also have to defend NIST’s budget ($962 million for FY2017), which Trump has proposed to cut by 24%, including a 13% cut to its seven research labs and an 86% cut to its industrial technology services program.

 

Born February 26, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Valery A. Copan, a Ukrainian immigrant minister and Valtraut (Kirsch) Copan, a Latvian immigrant from Riga, Walter George Copan grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned dual undergraduate degrees, a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Music, at Case Western Reserve University in 1975.

 

Shortly after graduation, he joined Lubrizol Corporation, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, as an R&D man. In 1982, while on academic leave from Lubrizol, Copan earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Case Western. His dissertation was entitled, “¹³C and ¹⁵N nuclear magnetic resonance studies of rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin.”

 

Walter Copan worked at Lubrizol for 28 years, rising from R&D manager to managing director of technology transfer and licensing, a position he held from 1999 to 2003. Along the way, he held many job titles, including manager of Lubrizol Petroleum Chemicals Technology – UK and director of technology strategy. 

 

In 2003, Copan took a job as principal licensing executive at the Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, where he worked on increasing the Lab’s effectiveness in commercializing clean energy technologies.

 

Returning to the private sector, Copan was executive vice president and chief technology officer at Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (CDTI) from August 2005 to 2010, where he helped CDTI grow from its research focus to a commercial approach and eventual listing on NASDAQ.

 

Copan went back to DOE in March 2010 to serve as managing director of technology commercialization and partnerships at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, staying until early 2013.

 

Copan bounced back to the private sector in May 2013, becoming president of TAEUS International an intellectual property services firm based in Colorado Springs, which he led through restructuring until spring 2014.

 

In summer 2014, Copan started two new projects. In June he became a founding board member of Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners in Colorado Springs, which supports universities and research organizations in technology transfer, company growth, and commercialization. In July he became advisor and vice president of technology transfer at Tekcapital in Oxford, England, United Kingdom, a university technology and intellectual property services company.

 

From May 2015 to June 2017 Copan was founding CEO and chair of Impact Engineered Wood Corporation in Campbell, California, which manufactures artificial wood.

 

Since August 2009, Copan has been president and managing director of Copan Associates in Monument, Colorado, through which he provides consulting services in business strategy, technology commercialization, and economic development. He has also been president and CEO at Intellectual Property Engineering Group in Monument since January 2015.

 

Copan has published numerous articles and has served on many boards.

 

Walter Copan and his wife, Mary Lynn (Melnyk) Copan, have three daughters: Alexandra, Elizabeth, and Marissa. Copan’s brother, Paul Copan, is a well-known Christian theologian who teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Cybersecurity and Technology Transfer Seen as Top Priorities for NIST Director Nominee (by Robert F. Service, Science)

NIST Director Nominee Discusses His Vision for the Agency (by Mitch Ambrose, American institute of Physics)

WalterCopan.com (website)

Brookhaven National Laboratory: Translating Discoveries to Market Deployment (by Walter Copan)

more
May, Willie
Previous Director

 

On July 24, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Willie E. May to be Commerce under secretary for Standards and Technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). May is currently serving as the institute’s acting director.

 

May graduated from Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1964 with a love of chemistry inspired by one of his teachers there. He had hoped to attend Howard University in Washington, but his application information was misplaced. Instead, his school’s principal lined up a scholarship for him at Knoxville College in Tennessee and he graduated from there with a B.S. in chemistry in 1968. He had offers of spots at graduate schools, but with a low draft lottery number during the height of the Vietnam War he took a job as a senior analyst at the Oak Ridge (Tennessee) gaseous diffusion plant, which offered a deferment from the draft.

 

In 1971, May accepted a job at what was then the National Bureau of Standards and he’s been there ever since. Meanwhile, May began work on a Ph.D in chemistry at the University of Maryland and completed it in 1977.

 

His positions at NIST have included chief of the Analytical Chemistry Division, director of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, associate director of laboratory programs and director of the Material Measurement Laboratory. 

 

May’s specialty is analytical chemistry research. He helped establish the pollution baseline for Prince William Sound before the opening of the Alaska Pipeline and has also worked on protocols for environmental sample collection for trace organic analysis.

 

May has been a vice president of the International Committee on Weights and Measures since June 2008 and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. He and his wife, Jeannie, have a son, Eric, and a daughter, Jeanniece.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Member Spotlight: Dr. Willie E. May (by Regina Vincent Clark, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers)

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. 

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 9 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

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
Copan, Walter
Director

Walter G. Copan, a leading expert in the commercialization of technology, became director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on October 16, 2017, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a unanimous vote. Copan, who had been nominated by President Donald Trump for the position in September 2017, succeeds Willie May, who served from May 2015 to the end of the Obama administration in January.

 

Copan says his top priority in the post is to implement the Cybersecurity Framework, an effort led by NIST to improve network security across federal agencies as well as industry. He will also have to defend NIST’s budget ($962 million for FY2017), which Trump has proposed to cut by 24%, including a 13% cut to its seven research labs and an 86% cut to its industrial technology services program.

 

Born February 26, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Valery A. Copan, a Ukrainian immigrant minister and Valtraut (Kirsch) Copan, a Latvian immigrant from Riga, Walter George Copan grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned dual undergraduate degrees, a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Music, at Case Western Reserve University in 1975.

 

Shortly after graduation, he joined Lubrizol Corporation, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, as an R&D man. In 1982, while on academic leave from Lubrizol, Copan earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Case Western. His dissertation was entitled, “¹³C and ¹⁵N nuclear magnetic resonance studies of rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin.”

 

Walter Copan worked at Lubrizol for 28 years, rising from R&D manager to managing director of technology transfer and licensing, a position he held from 1999 to 2003. Along the way, he held many job titles, including manager of Lubrizol Petroleum Chemicals Technology – UK and director of technology strategy. 

 

In 2003, Copan took a job as principal licensing executive at the Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, where he worked on increasing the Lab’s effectiveness in commercializing clean energy technologies.

 

Returning to the private sector, Copan was executive vice president and chief technology officer at Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (CDTI) from August 2005 to 2010, where he helped CDTI grow from its research focus to a commercial approach and eventual listing on NASDAQ.

 

Copan went back to DOE in March 2010 to serve as managing director of technology commercialization and partnerships at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, staying until early 2013.

 

Copan bounced back to the private sector in May 2013, becoming president of TAEUS International an intellectual property services firm based in Colorado Springs, which he led through restructuring until spring 2014.

 

In summer 2014, Copan started two new projects. In June he became a founding board member of Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners in Colorado Springs, which supports universities and research organizations in technology transfer, company growth, and commercialization. In July he became advisor and vice president of technology transfer at Tekcapital in Oxford, England, United Kingdom, a university technology and intellectual property services company.

 

From May 2015 to June 2017 Copan was founding CEO and chair of Impact Engineered Wood Corporation in Campbell, California, which manufactures artificial wood.

 

Since August 2009, Copan has been president and managing director of Copan Associates in Monument, Colorado, through which he provides consulting services in business strategy, technology commercialization, and economic development. He has also been president and CEO at Intellectual Property Engineering Group in Monument since January 2015.

 

Copan has published numerous articles and has served on many boards.

 

Walter Copan and his wife, Mary Lynn (Melnyk) Copan, have three daughters: Alexandra, Elizabeth, and Marissa. Copan’s brother, Paul Copan, is a well-known Christian theologian who teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Cybersecurity and Technology Transfer Seen as Top Priorities for NIST Director Nominee (by Robert F. Service, Science)

NIST Director Nominee Discusses His Vision for the Agency (by Mitch Ambrose, American institute of Physics)

WalterCopan.com (website)

Brookhaven National Laboratory: Translating Discoveries to Market Deployment (by Walter Copan)

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May, Willie
Previous Director

 

On July 24, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Willie E. May to be Commerce under secretary for Standards and Technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). May is currently serving as the institute’s acting director.

 

May graduated from Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1964 with a love of chemistry inspired by one of his teachers there. He had hoped to attend Howard University in Washington, but his application information was misplaced. Instead, his school’s principal lined up a scholarship for him at Knoxville College in Tennessee and he graduated from there with a B.S. in chemistry in 1968. He had offers of spots at graduate schools, but with a low draft lottery number during the height of the Vietnam War he took a job as a senior analyst at the Oak Ridge (Tennessee) gaseous diffusion plant, which offered a deferment from the draft.

 

In 1971, May accepted a job at what was then the National Bureau of Standards and he’s been there ever since. Meanwhile, May began work on a Ph.D in chemistry at the University of Maryland and completed it in 1977.

 

His positions at NIST have included chief of the Analytical Chemistry Division, director of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, associate director of laboratory programs and director of the Material Measurement Laboratory. 

 

May’s specialty is analytical chemistry research. He helped establish the pollution baseline for Prince William Sound before the opening of the Alaska Pipeline and has also worked on protocols for environmental sample collection for trace organic analysis.

 

May has been a vice president of the International Committee on Weights and Measures since June 2008 and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. He and his wife, Jeannie, have a son, Eric, and a daughter, Jeanniece.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Member Spotlight: Dr. Willie E. May (by Regina Vincent Clark, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers)

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