National Institute of Standards and Technology

Director, Office of the Director

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; German National Institute of Standards and Technology ) is a federal agency of the United States, headquartered in Gaithersburg (Maryland). The former name of the authority was 1901-1988 National Bureau of Standards ( NBS). The position of the authorities Head (Director) is currently occupied by Patrick Gallagher.


The Institute is part of the technological administration of the Department of Commerce and is responsible for standardization processes. From these, the encryption algorithm DES as well as AES has emerged. Furthermore, the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are published that apply to U.S. authorities.

NIST -F1 is the name of the institute's own atomic clock, which contributes to the Coordinated Universal Time. It has a theoretical uncertainty of one second in 60 million years.

The institute is among other things also the indispensable for mass spectrometric measurements today collection on substance identification by the substance-intrinsic mass spectrum, the NIST / EPA / NIH Mass Spectral Library: out (data version NIST 11, software version 2.0g ).

The German equivalent of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt ( PTB).

The Institute has in 2009 a budget of 819 million U.S. dollars ( plus an additional 610 million U.S. dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ) are available. After cuts in recent years, the budget for the fiscal year 2012 amounted to 750.8 million U.S. dollars yet. At the Institute 2,900 employees. It commissioned in the 1970s, inter alia, the Boulder Group with the measurement of the speed of light and the redefinition of the meter.