and Time and Frequency.
Selected members of the panel met for 1 day with the staff of the Time and Frequency Division and the Quantum Physics Division in Boulder, Colorado, on February 15, 2008. The remaining members of the panel separately visited the other laboratory divisions at Gaithersburg, Maryland, for 1 day on February 26, 2008. During both visits, the members of the panel, including the panel chair, attended presentations, tours, demonstrations, and interactive sessions with the laboratory staff. These sessions included interactive visits with the research and technical staff within their laboratories and research facilities. The entire panel assembled for a 2-day meeting at the NIST facilities in Gaithersburg on February 27-28, 2008. During that time they attended overview presentations by the Physics Laboratory management and participated in interactive sessions with the laboratory managers. The panel also met during this time in a closed session to deliberate its findings and to define the contents of this assessment report.
The panel’s approach to the assessment relied on the experience, technical knowledge, and expertise of its members, who were chosen because their backgrounds matched the technical areas within which the laboratory activities are conducted. The panel reviewed examples of the standards and measurements activities and the technological research selected by the panel in consultation with NIST and NRC administration. It was not possible to review all of the laboratory’s individual programs and projects exhaustively. The panel’s goal was to identify, assess, and report salient examples of accomplishments and opportunities for further improvement with respect to the technical merit of the laboratory work, its perceived impact with respect to achieving the laboratory’s own defined objectives, and specific elements of the laboratory’s resource infrastructure that are intended to support the technical work. These highlighted examples, along with data from scientific and technical literature and supplemental information provided by each division, are intended to provide the basis of an overall evaluation of each division and of the laboratory as a whole, while preserving useful comments and suggestions specific to projects. The assessment is currently scheduled to be repeated biennially. While the panel applied a largely qualitative rather than quantitative approach to the assessment, it is possible that future assessments will be informed by further consideration of various analytical methods that can be applied.
The comments in this report are not intended to address each program within the Physics Laboratory exhaustively. Instead, this report identifies key issues and focuses on representative programs and projects relevant to those issues. Given the necessarily nonexhaustive nature of the review process, the omission of any particular Physics Laboratory program or project should not be interpreted as a negative reflection on the omitted program or project.
This report first summarized issues that apply broadly to several or all of the divisions or to the Physics Laboratory as a whole. Then, after this chapter on the charge to the panel and the assessment process, it presents observations specific to each Physics Laboratory division. Finally, it comments on the programs funded under the America COMPETES Act and provides overall conclusions.