Browsing: Metrology

Right now, scientists all over the world are trying to understand how we get injured when our bodies are subjected to strong, dynamic loads – a hard body-check on the hockey rink, a tackle on the football field, a car crash, or even a bomb blast. Fortunately, I haven’t had any experience with bomb blasts, and I like to think I’m a great driver (don’t we all!), so I haven’t been in any car crashes (so far!), but what I do know something about is hockey. I grew up in Buffalo, New York. We Buffalonians love hockey, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been playing hockey ever since I could skate under the crossbar. Like any good…

If I told you my job required a hair net, a “bunny suit,” and a million-dollar piece of equipment, would you have any idea what I do? Do I sound like a mad scientist or a crazy lunch lady? If you haven’t caught on yet, I’ll give you a hint: Don’t trust the mystery meat. Just kidding! I am actually an undergraduate student working in nanofabrication at NIST in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. I create and study devices on the nanoscale, which is 10^-9 meters, or for all you non-science types out there, we’re talking billionths of a meter. Though I’m now studying in a very specialized field, when I started college, I wasn’t sure what path…

I’m a dragon wrangler. While that might sound like something straight out of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, this isn’t fantasy, this is serious science. As a dragon wrangler, or more colloquially, a fire researcher, my job is to help protect people and property from fire’s devastating effects. My area of expertise is wildfires, and in particular wildfires that threaten whole communities, which we call Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires. In the U.S. alone there are more than 80,000 wildfires every year. About 2 to 3 percent of those fires threaten populated areas, putting 46 million structures and over 120 million people at risk. And every year, we lose about 3,000 homes to these kinds of fires. The “Beast” wildfire…

It was Monday, April 25, 2016, and I was going to meet mass experts Pat Abbott and Eddie Mulhern of NIST’s Mass and Force group as part of my frantic preparations for a 5:21 p.m. flight to Paris. Pat and Eddie were the appointed custodians of the four 1 kilogram masses that I was to transport to the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) (that’s French for “International Bureau of Weights and Measures”) as part of the world’s first comparison among masses calibrated entirely in terms of fundamental constants of the universe. That’s right. These kilograms were calibrated in terms of fundamental constants of the universe and not in terms of some piece of metal enshrined in a vault…

My fascination with the microbial world began when I was around 7 years old and my mother bought me a book called “The Value of Believing in Yourself: The Story of Louis Pasteur”. Nearly four decades later, I still vividly remember the story about the little boy Joey and the “invisible enemy” that had invaded his body. So began my journey into this tiny realm. On Friday, May 13, the White House announced a new initiative to advance our knowledge of the world of microbes, called microbiomes, and realize their full potential. As it has for so many other innovations, NIST will play an important part in the realization of microbiome-based products and treatments by helping to develop standards and…