That’s a Wrap: Selects From the NIST Invent Calendar

We have a gift for you, packaged up in December 2021 and now ready to experience in full. Each day in December, the NIST Invent Calendar revealed innovations plucked from our 120-year history. Here are a few of the noteworthy patents to enjoy. DAY 1: AC Radio Receiver (Patent 1,455,141) Year Granted: 1923 Inventors: Percival D. Lowell and Francis W. Dunmore Plug it in: Meet the first commercially built broadcast radio receiver that operated with alternating current (AC) delivered by the…

In Case You Missed It From NIST: 2021 Edition

While the pandemic still grips the world, researchers at NIST continue their work on COVID-19 related research, as well as the wide range of other science and technology topics NIST is known for. We have pulled together a selection of stories, videos and other content from around NIST to let you see what they’ve been up to not just this year, but in some cases, for many years now. You’ll also learn a little bit more about how we measure things….

Finding the STAMP of Human-Made Pollutants in Seabird Eggs

How can one deny the majesty of seabirds soaring over the ocean or diving underwater to capture prey? That said, collecting seabird eggs to preserve them to learn about contaminants in the environment is not what I thought I would be doing as a marine biologist. Nor is it what comes to mind when one thinks about a national measurement institute such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Yet, for two decades, seabirds have been an important component…

Detecting the Flavors of Important Elements With Neutron Depth Profiling

The first five minutes of any presentation I give on neutron depth profiling are usually met with blank stares from my audience. This, I hope, is not something about me, but rather due to the audience’s lack of familiarity with the topic. Neutron depth profiling, which is always shortened to NDP, is a little-known technique that belongs to the rarefied field of radiochemistry. In recent decades, general scientific familiarity with radiochemistry and associated analytical methods has dwindled to near non-existent levels…

Creating and Commercializing the NIST RoboCrane

The RoboCrane — now hard at work at the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear cleanup sites — is a good example of a successfully commercialized technology invented at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). I’ll try to tell that story in this blog. In the early 1980s, the manufacturing of industrial robots was dominated by a few dozen U.S. companies eager to expand into new applications with new innovative robot designs. One application that had not yet been explored was…

Post-Quantum Encryption: A Q&A With NIST’s Matt Scholl

Quantum computing algorithms seek to use quantum phenomena to perform certain types of calculations much more efficiently than today’s classical, binary, transistor-based computers can. If and when a powerful enough quantum computer is built, it could run algorithms that would break many of the encryption codes we use to protect our data. In this interview with Taking Measure’s Mark Esser, Matt Scholl, chief of the Computer Security Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), discusses how worried we…

Consumer Cybersecurity Labeling for IoT Devices: A Q&A with NIST’s Katerina Megas

The connection of devices, including household devices, to the internet has created a raft of new potential entryways for hackers to invade your home networks and cause chaos and destruction. The proliferation of these devices has prompted calls for the creation of consumer labels to let would-be buyers know about their cybersecurity capabilities. Mark Esser of Taking Measure interviewed National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity for Internet of Things (IoT) program manager Katerina Megas to learn more about this…

Clear as Glass: Studying Drug-Delivery Materials as a NIST SURF Student

This summer was an interesting one, to say the least. I was in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As my summer project, I studied organic glasses, solid materials composed of molecules that are arranged in a unique amorphous (or disordered) pattern in 3D space. Glasses can be used as a preservative by encapsulating molecules in their empty spaces. After reviewing the World Health Organization (WHO) list of essential medicines,…

Profiles in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is a colossal industry and key pillar of the U.S. economy. It takes millions of workers to keep this juggernaut moving forward every day. Engineers, technicians and machine operators on the factory floor may come to mind, but researchers are part of this group as well. At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), studies are conducted across a broad array of fields to make for smarter manufacturing processes. This Manufacturing Day, we’re underscoring the diversity of NIST manufacturing…

Working to Improve Small-Scale MRIs: My Summer as a SURF Student at NIST

I didn’t really know what to expect on the first day of my virtual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At 12:00 p.m., with my second cup of coffee in hand, I sat down at my desk and hopped on the first of many video calls. Brandi Toliver, the SURF director, kicked off the program with introductions of key NIST personnel followed by a presentation about NIST’s history, its aims and its…