Browsing: Metrology

Today in Taking Measure we asked Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient Tara Lovestead a few questions about her life and work. Tara was recognized for her extensive application of new methods to rapidly and inexpensively detect trace levels of chemicals in vapors, enabling advances in homeland security, forensics, and food safety. What brought you to NIST? After I finished my bachelor’s in nutrition at Virginia Tech, I attended The University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder for both my master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering. My research focused on ultraviolet (UV) light-curable cross-linking polymer kinetics — a fancy way of saying I studied things like how dental fillings harden under UV light. Upon finishing my Ph.D.,…

Today in Taking Measure we asked Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient Adam Creuziger a few questions about his life and work. Adam was recognized for his impact on U.S. automobile manufacturing because of his expertise in the measurement and analysis of materials being evaluated for lightweighting vehicles. What brought you to NIST? As I was nearing the end of my graduate work, I still wasn’t sure which career path I wanted to pursue: academic, industrial, or national lab. Another student in my advisors’ research group recommended looking into the National Research Council (NRC) Research Associate program. He had applied for a fellowship a few years before I graduated and invited me out to Gaithersburg, Md.,…

Happy Pi Day! No, not pie day, Pi Day. That Greek character pi, π, that you’ve heard of but aren’t quite sure what the big deal is. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. As yawn-inducing as that may sound, it’s an important ratio because pi is the same no matter the size of the circle. This magical ratio, pi, is true for the circle describing the tire of an automobile or a circle going around the entire Earth. We can use pi to calculate a diameter. If the circumference of the Earth at the equator is 40,075 kilometers, which it is, then the diameter of the Earth is equal to the circumference divided by pi,…

As happens with most every metrologist I know, I fell into metrology (the science of measurement) quite by accident. My degree was in chemical engineering, and I was probing the world around me to see what kind of work was out there for someone with my skills and interests. I learned of an upcoming vacancy in a metrology laboratory at the state of Minnesota’s Weights and Measures Division and scheduled a visit—even though I didn’t know what a metrology lab was. When I got there, I found out that metrology was critically important in both commerce and industry. In order to ensure the accuracy of measurements made at grocery scales and gas pumps, regulatory officials need to use calibrated equipment…

Like many of you, I venture out on Saturday mornings to get groceries and gas. Until my college years, I never thought much about whether or not I paid the right amount at the pump, if the supermarket scale was correct, or if packaged foods actually contained the amount of product stated on the package. It was not until I took a position with the Maryland Weights and Measures (W&M) program, first as a field inspector and then as a metrologist, that I learned about how the U.S. weights and measures system lays the foundation for fair commerce. Now, as a physical scientist with the NIST Office of Weights and Measures, I have the opportunity to look at weights and…

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