An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS

Fiscal Year 1997

Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
1997



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS Fiscal Year 1997 Board on Assessment of NIST Programs Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1997

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The Board and panel members responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Contract 50SBNB4C8089 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copies available from: Board on Assessment of NIST Programs National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 BOARD ON ASSESSMENT OF NIST PROGRAMS WILMER R. BOTTOMS, Credence Systems Corporation, Chair RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (retired) WILLIAM G. HOWARD, Consultant, Scottsdale, AZ KENNETH F. REINSCHMIDT, Consultant, Littleton, MA HARVEY W. SCHADLER, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (retired) KATHLEEN C. TAYLOR, General Motors Research and Development Center LOUISE H. TREVILLYAN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center Ex Officio Members THOMAS L. ANDERSON, Fluor Daniel Hanford, Inc. JOHN O. DIMMOCK, University of Alabama, Huntsville KENNETH W. DUNGAN, Risk Technologies, LLC LOU ANN HEIMBROOK, Lucent Technologies BRIAN W. KERNIGHAN, Lucent Technologies KENNETH O. MacFADDEN, Allied Signal STUART G. MILLER, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (retired) JAMES E. NOTTKE, DuPont Company (retired) V. THOMAS RHYNE, Motorola, Inc. RALPH Z. ROSKIES, University of Pittsburgh Liaison Members WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania Board Staff DOROTHY ZOLANDZ, Director ELIZABETH L. GROSSMAN, Program Officer BARBARA JONES, Administrative Assistant

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Co-Chair E. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-Chair PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California, Santa Barbara MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, Elf Atochem North America, Inc. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN R. KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California, Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Preface It has been 2 years since the Board on Assessment's last evaluation of the laboratory programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The extended government shutdowns during the winter of 1995–96 prevented NIST from participating in the regular meetings of the Board and its panels, and no assessment was issued in fiscal year 1996. However, the members of the Board and panels were active during that time—visiting their peers at NIST to keep abreast of programs, and discussing among the membership information gathered on those visits, to maintain an awareness of any issues or challenges facing the laboratories. As a result, in 1997 the panels and the Board returned to NIST well informed. This year's assessment—the 38th—is the result of the work of 145 volunteers from all sectors of the relevant science and engineering disciplines, including academia, industry, and government. The members visited NIST both individually and in groups, meeting with laboratory management and staff to discuss current, past, and planned programs to determine technical quality and relevance. This volume reflects their judgment as both respected practitioners of science and engineering and as sometime customers of NIST's work. On a personal level, I note with some regret that this is the last assessment in which I will participate. After serving the Board in various capacities over a 17-year period, including 6 years as chair, I am stepping aside. My time of service has been worthwhile not only because the work of the Board is of use to the nation, but also because of the professional interaction I have enjoyed with my colleagues on the Board and at NIST. I saw NIST evolve out of its original formation from the National Bureau of Standards in 1988, continually improving to increase the return the U.S. economy enjoys on the investment made in NIST programs. It was rewarding to think that the Board' s work contributed to that evolution. In particular, I thank the NIST staff for their forthrightness and cooperation, which made the Board's efforts possible. I will always be proud of having assisted in the effort to strengthen programs that are of such importance to our nation's economy and well-being. Wilmer R. Bottoms Chair, Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

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