19 Facts About NIST


NIST's activities are organized into laboratory programs that include nanoscale science and technology, engineering, information technology, neutron research, material measurement, and physical measurement.

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In 2019, NIST launched a program named NIST on a Chip to decrease the size of instruments from lab machines to chip size.

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NIST, known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards, is a measurement standards laboratory, known as the National Metrological Institute, which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce.

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NIST had an operating budget for fiscal year 2007 of about $843.

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NIST publishes the Handbook 44 that provides the "Specifications, tolerances, and other technical requirements for weighing and measuring devices".

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NIST's activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs.

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Effective October 1,2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six.

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NIST-F1 serves as the source of the nation's official time.

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NIST operates a neutron science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research.

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NIST publishes the Handbook 44 each year after the annual meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures.

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NIST has been publishing various forms of what is the Handbook 44 since 1918 and began publication under the current name in 1949.

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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.

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NIST 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.

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NIST is providing practical guidance and tools to better prepare facility owners, contractors, architects, engineers, emergency responders, and regulatory authorities to respond to future disasters.

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In February 2014 NIST published the NIST Cybersecurity Framework that serves as voluntary guidance for organizations to manage and reduce cybersecurity risk.

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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.

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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.

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NIST holds patents on behalf of the Federal government of the United States, with at least one of them being custodial to protect public domain use, such as one for a Chip-scale atomic clock, developed by a NIST team as part of a DARPA competition.

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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".

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