Latest NIST Stories

2010-10-27 13:38:57

Extending its 26-year tradition of innovative quantum voltage standards, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have begun shipping a new 10-volt standard to users around the world. The programmable system measures both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) voltages. NIST AC/DC 10-volt standard chip. The new 10-volt system* builds on a number of previous NIST inventions, from the initial 1-volt standard in 1984 through the 2006 unveiling of the...

2010-09-15 23:25:28

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are stepping up the pace for designing safer building evacuations by releasing large, numerical data sets that track the movement of people on stairs during high-rise building evacuation drills. The data sets will ensure that architects, engineers, emergency planners and others involved in building design have a strong technical basis for safer, more cost-effective building evacuations. "While stairs have been used in...

2010-08-02 07:31:01

Breaking the language barrier: NIST tests language translation devices for US troops At dusk, a car stops at a checkpoint in Afghanistan. It is a tense moment for all. Because an interpreter is not available, U.S. Marines use hand gestures to ask the driver to step out of the car and open the trunk and hood for inspection. There's a lot of room for error. This scene was re-enacted recently during an evaluation at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)"”but, this time,...

2009-02-26 11:21:22

For centuries, people have preserved fruit by mixing it with sugar, making thick jams that last for months without spoiling. Now scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered* a fundamental property of mixture behavior that might help extend the life of many things including vaccines, food and library books"”and save money while doing it. In addition to jams, sugars are often used to preserve pharmaceuticals and similar biological materials....

2009-02-09 06:55:49

NIST, Brookhaven Researchers Use Tuberculosis Bacteria to End 25-Year Quest The bacterium behind one of mankind's deadliest scourges, tuberculosis, is helping researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) move closer to answering the decades-old question of what controls the switching on and off of genes that carry out all of life's functions. In a Journal of Biological...

2009-01-14 09:23:51

Thefts of personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security and credit card account numbers, are increasing dramatically. Adding to the difficulty of fighting this problem, organizations often disagree on what PII is, and how to protect it. Now, in a first-of-its-kind publication, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a draft guide on protecting PII from unauthorized use and disclosure."You can't protect PII unless you can identify it," says...

2008-03-10 16:04:13

Ultracold atoms moving through a carefully designed arrangement of laser beams will jiggle slightly as they go, two NIST scientists have predicted.* If observed, this never-before-seen "jitterbug" motion would shed light on a little-known oddity of quantum mechanics arising from Paul Dirac's 80-year-old theory of the electron. Dirac's theory, which successfully married the principles of Einstein's relativity to the quantum property of electrons known as spin, famously predicted that the...

2008-02-18 11:15:00

U.S. physicists have designed a new atomic clock that will not gain nor lose a second in more than 200 million years.The new precision clock was developed in the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, a combined effort between NIST and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Another atomic clock was also created there, and both clocks are raising the standard of time."These clocks are improving so rapidly that it is impossible to tell which one will be the best," said Tom 0'Brian, head...

2005-12-22 22:10:00

Once the subject of mythical accounts of magical power, the helix-shaped tusk of the narwhal, or "unicorn" whale has proved to be an extraordinary sensory organ, according to a team of researchers from Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Paffenbarger Research Center of the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The team's results were presented Dec. 13 at a technical conference in San Diego. Measuring up...

2005-03-03 07:34:41

NIST -- A full-scale quantum computer could produce reliable results even if its components performed no better than today's best first-generation prototypes, according to a paper in the March 3 issue in the journal Nature by a scientist at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In theory, such a quantum computer could be used to break commonly used encryption codes, to improve optimization of complex systems such as airline schedules, and to...

Word of the Day
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.