Standards - there are many different types of standards.
Product standards define the way certain things are made.
For example, the standard for notebook paper tells how many
holes and how far apart the holes are. NIST makes measurement
standards which let you measure almost anything from the
brightness of a light bulb to the vitamins in your food
Measurement - Measurements tell us about the physical
traits of something we're interested in. We can measure
size, weight, strength, speed, color, volume, and many other
qualities. We use tools to make measurements. Meter, used
as a verb, means to measure. Lots of measuring tools have
meter in their name. For example, electric meter,
thermometer, barometer, spectrometer,
water meter, odometer, and speedometer.
Calibrate - We calibrate measurements by testing the
accuracy of our measuring tools against a standard. Calibrations
are necessary to make sure measurements are correct in important
jobs, like building a house or making medicines.
Research - Research is a way of gathering information
in order to understand our world. Scientists use carefully
planned experiments as part of their research to explain
things from the depths of the oceans to the mysteries of
Atoms - Atoms are the basic building blocks of
matter. Air, water, and all solid objects are made
of atoms. These tiny particles are way too small to
see but billions of atoms bonded together make up everything
that you can see.
Metric System - the metric system is the most widely
used measurement system in the world. It has seven basic
units: the meter, the second, the candela, the ampere, the
kilogram, the mole, and the Kelvin.
Technology - Technology is a tool or a set of tools
we use to get a job done. In the past 40 years new technologies
have been invented with amazing speed. Today some of the
same technology that runs very fast scientific computer
systems also powers electronic toys and games for children.
Microscope - Microscopes magnify objects so they appear
bigger than they actually are. We use them to look at very
small things. The best microscopes at NIST can see objects
as small as single atoms.
Internet - A worldwide connection of computers, telephones,
and other e-mail and world wide web devices. People can
send messages to each other very quickly using the Internet.
They can also learn about each other on web sites posted
on the Internet. You're looking at the NIST web site right
Earthquake - In certain places the Earth can suddenly
start shaking, causing what we call an earthquake. Some
earthquakes are very mild, but some are so strong that they
destroy buildings, streets, and sidewalks. NIST does research
on how to keep buildings standing during earthquakes.
May 8, 2001
Last updated: May 27, 2003