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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Physics Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2008 Overall Conclusions The Physics Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a unique and essential asset within an institute that is also unique and essential. The laboratory provides unduplicated services and technology to business, industry, medicine, academia, and other government agencies in areas of commerce, transportation, communication, defense, science, and research. In parallel with these responsibilities, it carries out a research program, in many instances the only such research in the United States or the world, designed to continually improve and expand its capabilities to maintain the leadership position of the laboratory, NIST, and the nation. The overall quality and productivity of the laboratory are comparable with or better than that of other peer institutions worldwide, an accomplishment achieved in a environment that is smaller in both size and funding than most national and agency laboratories. The success of the program, its relevance, and the quality of the work are highlighted by the Nobel Prizes in physics awarded to three of its staff during the past decade, an accomplishment not duplicated by much larger and more heavily funded government laboratories or academic research institutions. Such honors should be taken as an affirmation of the importance and success of the overall standards, services, and research being performed within this laboratory and provided nationwide and worldwide, as well as an acknowledgment of the unique and relevant accomplishments of the Nobel laureates themselves. It is worth noting that the research on which the three awards were based is directly related to improvements in measurements and standards. The Physics Laboratory performed its duties in an outstanding manner at a time when international technologies and industries are becoming more and more competitive. The international climate warrants strong support of the laboratory to rapidly and effectively address major issues with regard to staffing, infrastructure, equipment, and information technology security.