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Proceedings Paper

100 years of optical science and metrology at NIST
Author(s): William R. Ott
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Paper Abstract

The National Bureau of Standards (NBS) was formed by Congress 100 years ago. The early Bureau was a small organization, founded at the beginning of the age of electricity to promote industrial productivity, commerce, technological progress, and the quality of life. It provided a basis for standardizing the measurements and products that are so important to a nation's infrastructure. The original staff numbered 12. There were 15 offices and laboratories. Five areas of optics have been important elements of the Bureau's research for almost it's entire history: atomic and molecular spectroscopy; radiometry; colorimetry; optical properties of materials; and, for the last 40 years, laser science and applications. Research and measurement services have supported national programs ranging from the manufacture of high quality optical glass during two World Wars to the calibration of spectrometers on the Hubble Space Telescope. Pioneers in optical science and metrology at NBS/NIST include many well known scientists, ranging from William Coblentz, who established the field of optical radiometry during his 40 year career from 1905-1945, to William Phillips, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for his research on the laser cooling and trapping of atoms.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 June 2001
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 4450, Harnessing Light: Optical Science and Metrology at NIST, (18 June 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.431243
Show Author Affiliations
William R. Ott, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4450:
Harnessing Light: Optical Science and Metrology at NIST
Carmina Londono, Editor(s)

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