An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories

Fiscal Year 1999

Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories Fiscal Year 1999 Board on Assessment of NIST Programs Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 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 members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. 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. This study was supported by Contract No. 50SBNB8C1003 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 publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Additional copies of this report are available from: Board on Assessment of NIST Programs National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20148 Internet, http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 BOARD ON ASSESSMENT OF NIST PROGRAMS LINDA CAPUANO, AlliedSignal Inc., Chair RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (retired) ALASTAIR GLASS, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies ALEXANDER MacLACHLAN, DuPont Company (retired) HARVEY W.SCHADLER, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (retired) LOUISE H. TREVILLYAN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center Ex Officio Members DAVID A. AUSTON, Rice University JANET S. BAUM, Health, Education & Research Associates, Inc. WALT W. BRAITHWAITE, The Boeing Company RALPH K. CAVIN III, Semiconductor Research Corporation MARVIN F. DeVRIES, University of Wisconsin–Madison ROBERT J. EAGAN, Sandia National Laboratories JANET S. FENDER, Air Force Research Laboratory ARLENE A. GARRISON, University of Tennessee LOU ANN HEIMBROOK, Lucent Technologies BRIAN W. KERNIGHAN, Lucent Technologies RICHARD E. NANCE, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University JAMES E. NOTTKE, DuPont Company (retired) V. THOMAS RHYNE, Independent Consultant, Austin, Tex. ROSE A. RYNTZ, Visteon Automotive Systems Liaison Members WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company 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 Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS PETER M. BANKS, ERIM International, Inc., Co-Chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-Chair WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania MARSHALL H. COHEN, California Institute of Technology RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California, Santa Barbara JERRY P. GOLLUB, Haverford College MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University JOHN J. HENNESSY, Stanford University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota 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 M. ELISABETH PATE-CORNELL, Stanford University NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California, Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director (through July 1999) MYRON F. UMAN, Acting Executive Director (as of August 1999)

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Preface This volume represents the 40th annual assessment by the National Research Council (NRC) of the technical quality and relevance of the programs of the Measurement and Standards Laboratories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This ongoing assessment is one part of the self-assessment that NIST utilizes to assure the quality of the work it performs for the U.S. taxpayer. This volume is the work of 147 volunteer members of the NRC's Board on Assessment of NIST Programs and its panels. These members were chosen by the NRC for their technical expertise, their practical experience in running research programs, and their knowledge of industry 's needs in basic measurements and standards. Each has given of his or her time without remuneration to participate in this assessment process. Without their willingness to sacrifice their time for this process, NIST would be deprived of a valuable management tool. I wish to extend my thanks to them for their dedication and work. The success of this assessment is also dependent upon NIST cooperation and receptiveness to the Board and panels. We thank NIST staff for the time spent meeting with our volunteers and time spent preparing background information for them. We hope that they find our interactions as enjoyable and informative as we do. We are also appreciative of the responsiveness that the NIST managers show to our findings and recommendations. Two hallmarks of a world-class organization are its never-ending search for ways to improve and its openness to the suggestions of others as it seeks to do so. In carrying out this assessment, the Board and panels sought to meet the specific charge given by NIST and reproduced in Appendix C. I hope that the readers of this report find it to be fully responsive to that charge and that those with responsibility for and oversight of NIST programs will find this report to be a useful tool in efforts to continually improve the programs of that respected institution. Linda Capuano, Chair Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Gabriel Aeppli, NEC Research Institute, Steven M. Bellovin, Westfield, N.J., Geoffrey Boothroyd, Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc., William B. Bridges, California Institute of Technology, Jack E. Cermak, Colorado State University, Arthur E. Cote, National Fire Protection Association, Herman Z. Cummins, City College of New York, Dennis G. Deppe, University of Texas at Austin, E. Douglas Dickens, BF Goodrich Specialty Chemicals, J. Larry Duda, Pennsylvania State University, Thomas W. Eagar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Norman Hackerman, The Robert A. Welch Foundation Kristl Hathaway, Office of Naval Research, Adam Heller, University of Texas, Karl Hess, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andrew Kaldor, Exxon Research and Development Laboratories, Bernard H. Kear, Rutgers University, Harold Kung, Northwestern University, Martin C. Libicki, RAND, Harris L. Marcus, University of Connecticut, E. Ray McClure, Tumax Engineering, M. Douglas McIlroy, Dartmouth College, John P. McTague, Ford Motor Company (retired), Steven R. Patterson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, John R. Rice, Purdue University, Daniel J. Seery, United Technologies Research Center, Gerald F. Tape, Associated Universities, Inc. (retired), Hugo Vifian, Harmonic Lightwaves (retired), and Jerry M. Woodall, Yale University. Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

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