and ionizing radiation data in response to national needs, develops and operates major radiation sources as user facilities, and maintains appropriate collaborations with other technical programs in NIST, the nation, and institutions throughout the world. The laboratory supports the research community and industry in communications, defense, energy, the environment, space, health, and transportation, as well as in specific technical areas such as lighting, microelectronics, and radiation.
The reorganization of NIST in fiscal years 1990 and 1991 resulted in the creation of the Physics Laboratory, which is organized into eight divisions--electron and optical physics, atomic physics, molecular physics, radiometric physics, quantum metrology, ionizing radiation, time and frequency, and quantum physics (Figure 7.1). (The Quantum Physics Division, which consists mainly of researchers at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics at Boulder, Colorado, is assessed biennially and is not included in this assessment.) The organizational structure and priorities of the laboratory have been carefully adjusted over the past 2 years to meet the needs of the changing mission of NIST. A gradually increasing emphasis on applied physics, technology, and service to industry is evident. In her presentation to the panel, the laboratory's director defined the laboratory's mission as follows: “The mission of the Physics Laboratory is to support U.S. industry, government, and the scientific community through strongly coupled, complementary programs of services and research in the physical sciences.” The panel concluded that the operating structure of the Physics Laboratory is sufficiently functional and adaptable to fulfill this mission in the current rapidly changing national environment. The program planning is well conceived and has been increasingly effective in capturing resources for new initiatives.
During fiscal year 1993, the Physics Laboratory had 218 full-time permanent staff, 8 part-time staff, 15 postdoctoral associates, 146 guest researchers, and 21 term and intermittent appointees. Its operating budget was $42.4 million, of which 63 percent, or $26.7 million, was direct congressional appropriations to NIST.
The Physics Laboratory Annual Report 1992, presented to the panel at its meeting, shows that the laboratory has been able to sustain and even enhance its level of productivity in high-quality fundamental and applied research while providing important advice and service to the many governmental,