Pipes on a pipe organ. Credit: 2009fotofriends/shutterstock.com

Judah Levine, Physicist and Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder

This is part 2 in a series. Read part 1.

A short history of frequency

Frequency was originally considered to be the province of musicians. The pitches or frequencies of the notes in a musical scale are defined by ratios — octaves, for example, where the frequency of the higher note is twice the frequency of the lower one. …

Judah Levine, Physicist and Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder

As a physicist in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Time and Frequency Division, I have worked in the general area of operating atomic clocks and using output signals from them to distribute time and frequency information for more than 40 years. I am also a Fellow at JILA, an institute operated jointly by NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder, and I teach in the physics department of the university.

a group of women on a manufacturing floor looking at a whiteboard
a group of women on a manufacturing floor looking at a whiteboard
Credit: NIST

The following blog is from the Commerce Department’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)

Women continue to explore new opportunities and make inroads into industries once almost exclusively male, such as manufacturing. The evidence shows that attitudes both in the industry and among women are changing. The industry is seeing the inherent value of an integrated and inclusive workplace where a diversity of viewpoints and ideas are represented. Manufacturers have come to see that diversity boosts the bottom line, fosters a more dynamic and creative environment, and improves employee morale and retention. This has led to a concerted effort…

Credit: Arhad SS/shutterstock.com

William A. MacCrehan, Research Chemist, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Like everyone on the planet, our organization, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), became concerned with the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020. NIST scientists were anxious to provide any assistance they could to support COVID response efforts. As we were thinking of ways we could help, one of my colleagues, Walter Wilson, who often works closely with the local police department, got an unusual request: Could we analyze some samples of hand sanitizers to determine their safety?

In these early days of the pandemic, people thought…

Credit: ©2021 U.S. Postal Service. All rights reserved.

Katie Rapp, Writer/Editor, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

With a new “forever” stamp honoring “First Lady of Physics” Chien-Shiung Wu, we have come very close to seeing a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researcher on a U.S. postage stamp. Over the course of six months in 1956, Wu worked with researchers Ernest Ambler (who went on to become NIST director in the 1970s and ‘80s), Raymond W. Hayward, Dale D. Hoppes and Ralph P. Hudson to carry out one of the most famous experiments in NIST’s history. Of course, NIST researchers have been up to many…

Credit: B. Hayes/NIST

Elizabeth Benham, Metric Coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Each year during national Weights and Measures Week (March 1 to 7), we celebrate the contributions made by the weights and measures community to ensure accuracy and fair competition in commercial transactions based on weight or measure. This year’s theme, “Measuring Up to the New Normal,” is especially meaningful as 2020 will be remembered as one of the most unusual years we’ll likely experience in our lifetimes … and highlights how a common challenge can positively transform how we do business.

A NIST Josephson voltage chip next to a penny. Credit: NIST

Mark Esser, Writer/Editor, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

A lot has changed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the past 120 years. For one thing, we were known as the National Bureau of Standards for the first 87 years of our existence. Then, in 1988, we became the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to reflect our agency’s expanding mission and a renewed emphasis on boosting the competitiveness of American industry. But as much as things change, they also stay the same. While much of our early work has been baked into the…

Credit: MattLphotography/shutterstock.com

Christina Bergonzo, Computational Chemist, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

We are all well aware of COVID-19, and by now most people have seen pictures of the spike protein that forms the “handshake” interaction between virus and host cells and is the basis of two new vaccines. The COVID-19 virus is made of RNA, which manufactures the spike protein and all the other proteins that allow it to survive. What if scientists could target the RNA in the virus before that manufacturing process even begins? That’s where my work centers, around COVID-19’s viral RNA.

Before the proteins that infect…

Working behind an L-shield with a syringe containing a radiopharmaceutical. Credit: M. Mille

Denis Bergeron, Research Chemist, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

From the earliest days of radioactivity research, radiation and cancer therapy have gone together like peas and carrots. But Zach Levine covered peas and carrots in an earlier blog post, so I will focus on radiation and cancer therapy.

Shortly after Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the high-energy electromagnetic radiation he called “X-rays” in 1895, their cell-killing power was recognized and harnessed to treat cancer. Similarly, within a few years of the Curies’ discovery of the radioactive element radium, doctors were deploying the energetic particles it emitted to treat skin cancers…

The Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed. Credit: H. Wang/NIST

Corey Rae McRae, Director, Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed

I had been studying superconducting quantum computing for seven years before I was stumped by this seemingly simple question: How do I know if my qubit is better than your qubit?

Quantum computers could ultimately unlock the capability to solve hard problems in chemistry, cryptography and quantum mechanics. Researchers around the world are pursuing numerous designs for quantum computers, including qubits, or quantum bits, that serve as the basic building block of these computers. Google and IBM, among others, create qubits using superconducting materials, which have special properties, including the ability to…

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST promotes U.S. innovation by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

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