Welcome to the brand new NIST blog, Taking Measure. Taking measure is what we do at NIST, both figuratively and literally. We are constantly looking ahead to where science and technology are going so that we can figure out how to best serve our country. Our researchers are experts in measurement science, which is key to—among other things—making sure that you get the right dose of medicine, that car and computer parts built around the world fit together, and that we have the foundational knowledge we need to create new technologies.
Through this blog, we’d like to share with you our excitement and passion for the work we do. I hope we can answer some of your questions about science and technology, and about why we do this work. This blog will give you a glimpse into our labs and show you where science is today and where it might take us tomorrow.
At NIST, we work on technologies in their early stages—when industry is still trying to figure out their potential. For example, we measure the characteristics of revolutionary materials like graphene, which has unique electrical, magnetic and other properties that may one day lead to smaller and better electronics. We create and study new test methods that might improve forensic science or medical diagnoses. We use our technical knowledge to collaborate with people from around the world to develop and promote standards that improve products, increase safety, and open global opportunities for U.S. companies.
By following this blog, you will learn a bit more about the people behind NIST’s rich history of scientific accomplishments. For many of us here at NIST, science defines who are we and how we see the world. We are motivated by the challenge of solving puzzles and the chance to do something meaningful.
When I first got into chemistry, I saw it as a means to an end. It was a way to a better life. As an African-American lad, science opened up tremendous opportunities for me, taking me from segregated Alabama to the director’s office at one of the world’s premiere scientific research institutions. I am fortunate to have worked with several thousand people (including five Nobel laureates) dedicated to using science to improve our lives.
But just 2 percent of the 300 million people in the U.S. are employed in science and engineering, so there’s a good chance many Americans won’t ever meet a scientist or engineer or learn what they actually do. That’s why we want to use this blog to introduce you to some of the intelligent, inquisitive and dedicated people who work here at NIST and at other places of research.
I hope our stories will enlighten and engage you, and that you’ll share with us your thoughts and any questions you may have.