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Tech Beat - December 12, 2012

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Editor: Michael Baum
Date created: December 12, 2012
Date Modified: December 12, 2012 
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NIST, Forest Service Propose System to Help Communities Resist Wildfires

Federal researchers have developed the first-ever rating system that allows communities to assess their risk from wildfires—on a building-by-building basis—and then ties that assessment to improved building codes, standards and practices that could help reduce the threat. The proposed Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Hazard Scale addresses fires that occur where developed and undeveloped areas meet. It is described in a report* by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

WUI Hazard Scale Matrix
Figure 1. Matrix for Capturing Exposure from Wildland Fuels
One side of the matrix represents the four types of fuel sources considered: homogeneous surface fuels (such as prairie grasses), inhomogeneous surface fuels (such as palmetto), inhomogeneous shrubs and low vegetation (such as chaparral) and canopied forest (such as the forests of pine, cedar, juniper or aspen found in the intermountain west region between the Rockies and the Sierra Madre/Cascades). The other two sides of the matrix represent three types of topography (ravine, slope and flat) and three local weather conditions (no wind, low wind and high wind).
Credit: Alex Maranghides/NIST
WUI Hazard Scale Zone Map
Figure 2. Wildland Ember Exposure on a Community Using the WUI Fire Hazard Scale
The ember risks shown in this illustration increase from E1, no likely exposure, to E4, highest likelihood
of exposure.
Credit: Alex Maranghides/NIST

The new scale joins others that help to express levels of risk from natural disasters—the Richter scale for earthquakes, the Saffir-Simpson for hurricanes and the Enhanced Fujita for tornados, according to NIST's Alexander Maranghides, who created the new wildfire hazard assessment tool with William Mell of the USFS. "Now, we have proposed a scale specifically for wildland fires that will allow us to link exposure to improved codes and standards, and as a result, save lives, property and dollars," Maranghides says.

The problem of WUI** fires, particularly in the western and southern regions of the United States, has been growing more prevalent as housing developments push into wilderness areas. According to the Bureau of Land Management's National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the 10 years since 2002 saw an annual average of nearly 71,000 WUI fires recorded and 1.9 million hectares (4.7 million acres) burned. The monetary toll from the destruction is staggering; the NIFC estimates that federal agencies spend an average of $1.2 billion per year on WUI fire suppression alone, with state and local agencies contributing millions more.

The WUI Hazard Scale developed by NIST and USFS is designed to consistently measure the expected risks from both fire and wind-blown embers during a WUI fire event for individual locations within a community, taking into account the ever-changing nature of those hazards.

"Wildfires are among the few natural disasters in which risk levels can rapidly change as the event progresses and the threat doesn't weaken with distance away from a well-defined epicenter, as in a tornado," Mell says. "If your home is nestled deep within a neighborhood away from the leading edge of a fire, you might not be at risk early on. However, the danger to your home dramatically increases if a neighboring house, the surrounding landscape or a nearby vehicle catches on fire."

Fire behavior in the wildland urban interface is a function of fuel (both vegetation and structures), topography and local weather. The WUI Hazard Scale accounts for local and transient variations in these factors so that each specific location can be rated as to its susceptibility. The range of ratings can then be used to create a map of the different levels of risk throughout a community and pinpoint where protective measures or "hardening" of structures are most needed.

Field data and computer modeling of prescribed burns (controlled fires used in wildland management) were used to define the specifics of the fuel, topography and weather characteristics attributed to different "exposures". To link the scale to a means of protecting communities, Maranghides and Mell have proposed four "building construction classes" defined for different risk zones in a mapped community.

"If homes and other buildings in the most susceptible zones can be built or retrofitted to high-risk standards, they could potentially serve as a 'frontline defensive wall' for the structures in the lower-risk zones they surround," Maranghides explains. "In effect, we may be able to mitigate the entire dynamic of a WUI fire event if the frontline structures don't ignite."

NIST and USFS plan to collect additional data through field evaluations in a wide variety of communities and surveys of areas that have recently experienced WUI fires to further refine the WUI fire hazard scale. The two agencies also will be working with various public and private stakeholder groups toward acceptance and implementation of the proposed scale and building construction classes, with the goal of improving standards, codes and practices.

For more details, see the Dec.,5, 2012, NIST news announcement, "NIST and Forest Service Create World's First Hazard Scale for Wildland Fires" at www.nist.gov/el/fire_research/wildland-fire-hazard-scale-120512.cfm.

* A. Maranghides and W. Mell. Framework for Addressing the National Wildland Urban Interface Fire Problem—Determining Fire and Ember Exposure Zones using a WUI Hazard Scale (NIST Technical Note 1748) (2012).
** USFS defines the wildland urban interface, or WUI, as an "area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels."

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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Novel NIST Process Is a Low-Cost Route to Ultrathin Platinum Films

A research group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a relatively simple, fast and effective method of depositing uniform, ultrathin layers of platinum atoms on a surface.* The new process exploits an unexpected feature of electrodeposition of platinum—if you drive the reaction much more strongly than usual, a new reaction steps in to shuts down the metal deposition process, allowing an unprecedented level of control of the film thickness.

schematic of a self-quenched platinum deposition on a gold surface
Schematic shows self-quenched platinum deposition on a gold surface. Under a high driving voltage, platinum in solution (bound to four chloride atoms) can shed the chloride and bind to a location on the gold. Hydrogen rapidly adsorbs on the platinum, ensuring that the platinum forms an even surface a single atom thick.
Credit: Gokcen/NIST
View hi-resolution image

Platinum is a widely used industrial catalyst—in automobile catalytic converters and hydrogen fuel cells—as well as a key component in microelectronics, so the discovery may have widespread application in the design and manufacture of platinum-based devices.

The metal is rare, and hence very pricey, so materials engineers try to use it sparingly as a thin layer on a substrate. They'd like to be able to control the deposition process down to uniform, single layers of atoms. Unfortunately, platinum doesn't always cooperate.

scanning tunneling microscope image
Scanning tunneling microscope image shows ultrathin film layer of platinum deposited on gold after five seconds, using the NIST process. Darker areas are exposed gold substrate not yet covered by the platinum.
Credit: Gokcen/NIST

The model system studied at NIST—depositing a platinum layer on gold by electroplating—demonstrates the challenging nature of the problem. A voltage is applied to drive the deposition of platinum from an electrode onto the gold surface in an aqueous solution. Normally, this leads to a patchy and rough surface rather than the desired smooth and even layer of platinum, because platinum tends to attach first to any defects on the gold surface, and then tends to attach to itself, rather than the gold.

The NIST team has found that increasing the voltage, the driving force of the reaction, far higher than normal to the point where the water molecules start to break down and hydrogen ions form, leads to an unexpected and useful result. The hydrogen quickly forms a layer covering the freshly deposited platinum islands and completely quenches further metal deposition. Using a battery of analytic techniques, including a quartz crystal microbalance, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy, the group found that the formation of the hydrogen layer was rapid enough to restrict deposition to the formation of a single layer of platinum atoms. The team further discovered that by pulsing the applied voltage, they could selectively remove the hydrogen layer to enable the platinum deposition process to be repeated to form another layer.

The deposition process occurs in a single plating bath and is surprisingly fast—1,000 times faster than making comparable films using molecular beam epitaxy, for example. It's also faster, simpler and less prone to contamination than other electrochemical techniques for depositing platinum films, making it much less expensive.

The novel technique, the researchers say, may also work with a number of other metal and alloy combinations, a subject of ongoing research.

* Y. Liu, D. Gokcen, U. Bertocci and T.P. Moffat. Self-terminating growth of platinum films by electrochemical deposition. Science, v. 338, 1327, Dec. 7, 2012. Doi: 10.1126/science.1228925.

Media Contact: Michael Baum, michael.baum@nist.gov, 301-975-2763

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New NIST Document Offers Guidance in Cryptographic Key Generation

Protecting sensitive electronic information in different situations requires different types of cryptographic algorithms, but ultimately they all depend on keys, the cryptographic equivalent of a password. A new publication* from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aims to help people secure their data with good keys no matter which algorithm they choose.

crypto key collage
NIST's Special Publication 800-133 will help people find the specifics on how to generate cryptographic keys, used in secure data transmission and storage of sensitive information.
Credit: Talbott/NIST

NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-133 offers guidance on generating the cryptographic keys that are needed to employ algorithms that provide confidentiality and integrity protection for data. Even if adversaries know what algorithm is used, they cannot gain access to the data unless they also have the proper key. SP 800-133 will be helpful to anyone who needs the specifics on how to generate these keys successfully, whether for secure data transmission or storage of sensitive information, to give two examples of their use.

SP 800-133 is primarily a high-level document that refers readers to other documents that contain details on generating the various types of keys. However, it does offer specific details for one type of key generation: the keys used in symmetric-key algorithms, in which the same key is used, for example, to both encrypt and decrypt data. Symmetric-key algorithms operate quickly, and the keys must be kept secret. These algorithms are used to protect sensitive information, including other keys, for which the algorithm is iterated as many times as needed to protect the information.

Another type of algorithm—an asymmetric-key algorithm—uses two keys: a public key that may be known by anyone, and a private key that is known by only one party and must be kept secret. Asymmetric-key algorithms are generally slower than symmetric-key algorithms and are used in cases where only a single operation of the algorithm is required, such as the generation of a digital signature or the encryption of a key to be used later with a symmetric-key algorithm. Details on the generation of keys for asymmetric-key algorithms are not offered in SP 800-133, but the document references others containing the key generation specifications.

The publication is part of a group of documents concerning cryptographic key management, namely SP 800-57 (parts onetwo and three), SP 800-130SP 800-152, and the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 186 Digital Signature Standard.

*Available at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-133/sp800_133.pdf.

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

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Jan. 16 Workshop to Review Design for National Manufacturing Innovation Network

The first public workshop devoted to reviewing and refining the suggested design for a new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), an initiative proposed by President Obama, will be held Jan. 16, 2013, at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Ala.

Huntsville Base
The January public workshop to review plans for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation will be held at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Ala. on Jan. 16, 2013.
Credit: U.S. Space and Rocket Center
View hi-resolution image

“Blueprint for Action: Workshop on the Design of the NNMI” will review the design developed from extensive public input received through four public dialogue workshops as well as responses to a Request for Information. In addition to feedback on the resulting design, this workshop also seeks input on new questions related to the formation and operations of the proposed network’s regional Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs).

The workshop is organized by the federal interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), in cooperation with stakeholders and local organizations. The Department of Defense will host the event and additional support is being provided by NASA and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

In early January, the AMNPO intends to publish a draft NNMI “concept paper” that presents the office’s preliminary design proposal on the objectives, organization, governance, operations, and activities of the network and its institutes. The proposed design draws on input from more than 800 people and organizations through participation in four regional workshops or ideas submitted on the NNMI design in response to the formal information request issued last May by the AMNPO.

The proposed design also draws on recommendations contained in several reviews of the nation’s manufacturing and innovation performance, including the recent report by the presidentially appointed Steering Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. That report, endorsed in July by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, called for the creation of “public-private partnerships to foster regional ecosystems in advanced manufacturing technologies.”

As envisioned, the NNMI will be a network of regional hubs—each anchored by an IMI—that will connect technologically promising research discoveries and ideas for advanced, high-value-added products with existing U.S. manufacturers and aspiring start-up firms. Regional collaborations will bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications and to support education and training of an advanced manufacturing workforce.

While each of the competitively selected IMIs will have its own technical focus, all will integrate capabilities and facilities required to reduce the cost and risk of commercializing new technologies and to address relevant manufacturing challenges on a production-level scale.

The president’s fiscal year 2013 budget request included $1 billion in one-time funding to build the NNMI. The federal investment would be matched by funding from the private sector and state and local government organizations.

The workshop will be held at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville. Capacity is limited. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with no more than four representatives from the same organization. The registration fee is $50 per attendee, which covers attendee materials and meal and beverage costs.

Online registration will begin on or about Dec. 4 and will end Jan. 7, 2013. Workshop information and a link to the registration site is available at http://manufacturing.gov/event_011613.html.

AMNPO partner agencies include the Department of Commerce and its National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office, Department of Labor, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

Media Contact: Mark Bello, mark.bello@nist.gov, 301-975-3776

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Baldrige and Health Care: New Survey Reaffirms a Proven Partnership for Success

For the second time in two years, Truven Health Analytics, a major health care survey research and data analysis organization, has linked hospitals that adopt and use the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence to successful operations, management practices and overall performance.

nurse with child patient
A member of the North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS) health care team provides home-based care to a young patient. NMHS, located in Tupelo, Miss., received the 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the health care category.
Credit: Photo Courtesy of North Mississippi Health Services
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The close relationship between top-performing hospitals and the Baldrige Criteria was a significant finding of a recently published survey of chief executive officers at hospitals that were recognized as one of Truven Health's 100 Top Hospitals award winners in 2012. The new affirmation of the Baldrige impact on health care re-emphasizes the results of an October 2011 study,* also by Truven Health Analytics (then known as the health care business of Thomson Reuters), that found hospitals that had won the Baldrige National Quality Award or been considered for a Baldrige Award site visit outperform other hospitals in nearly every metric used to determine the 100 Top Hospitals.

According to Truven, the recent survey of 100 Top Hospitals CEOs focused on their adoption rates of the Baldrige leadership practices. It contained questions organized into four areas: organizational environment, processes, results and basic demographic information. Among the survey findings were the following:

  • Overall, 100 Top Hospitals winners have extensively adopted the prescribed Baldrige practices, even though 63 percent reported that they did not intentionally use the Baldrige Criteria to develop organizational goals and/or process improvement initiatives. 
  • Teaching hospitals reported the highest formal use of the Baldrige Criteria. Nearly 70 percent of these hospitals noted that their teams have used the award criteria to develop goals and process improvement initiatives.
  • One of the major challenges facing the majority of CEOs surveyed is organization-wide alignment (the ability of all parts of an organization to work together to support key goals, address key challenges and respond to sudden changes) as they prepare their hospitals for health care reform. More than 80 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they have implemented the practices listed on the survey (which were Baldrige practices, although not specifically identified as such), with the exception of alignment of results across all areas (68 percent).

"The Baldrige program has long been the gold standard for leadership practices to drive higher quality and organizational performance. Our effort to use the 100 Top Hospitals National Balanced Scorecard to identify the use of these practices is an early step in the establishment of evidence-based management practices," said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president at Truven Health Analytics, in a Nov. 20, 2012, news release.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Since 1988, 93 organizations have received Baldrige Awards. The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is managed by NIST in conjunction with the private sector. Originally given only to manufacturers, small businesses and service companies, Congress and the President broadened the Baldrige Award program in 1998 to include education and health care organizations. Nonprofit organizations, including government agencies, became eligible for the award in 2007. The first health care organization to receive the award was SSM Health Care (http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/ssmhealth.cfm) of St. Louis, Mo., in 2002. Health care organizations have accounted for more than 50 percent of Baldrige award applicants since 2005 and have received 12 Baldrige Awards in that time.

The 12-page Truven Health Analytics survey, 100 Top Hospitals CEO Insights: Adoption Rates of Select Baldrige Award Practices and Processes, is available at www.nist.gov/baldrige/upload/100-Top-Hosp-CEO-Insights-RB-final.pdf.

* See the Oct. 25, 2011, Tech Beat article "New Study Finds that Baldrige Award Recipient Hospitals Significantly Outperform Their Peers" at www.nist.gov/baldrige/baldrige-102511.cfm.  The study is available at http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/upload/baldrige-hospital-research-paper.pdf.

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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Cloud Computing and Big Data Intersect at NIST, January 15-17

Two major new technologies come together for the Cloud Computing and Big Data Workshop, hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus Jan. 15-17, 2013.

nebula N76
Combining cloud computing and big data could hasten valuable scientific discoveries in many areas including astronomy. (NASA image of nebula N76 in a bright, star-forming region of the Small Magellanic Cloud.)
Credit: NASA

Cloud computing* offers an on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable resources; big data explores large and complex pools of information and requires novel approaches to meet the associated computing and storage requirements. The workshop will focus on the intersection of the two—the meeting is part of the traditional semi-annual cloud computing forum and workshop series with the additional dimension of big data and its relation with and influence on cloud platforms and cloud computing.

"Cloud computing and big data are each powerful trends. Together they can be even more powerful and that's why we're hosting this workshop," said Chuck Romine, director of the NIST Information Technology Laboratory. "The cloud can make big data accessible to those who can't take advantage today. In turn, big data opens doors to discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship that are inaccessible at conventional data scales."

The January conference will bring together leaders and innovators from industry, academia and government in an interactive format that combines keynote presentations, panel discussions, interactive breakout sessions and open discussion. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST director, and Steven VanRoekel, the Chief Information Officer of the United States, will open the conference.

The first day's morning panels examine the convergence of cloud and big data, progress on the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Roadmap and international cloud computing standards.

Two afternoon sessions focus on progress made on the Priority Action Plans (PAP)s associated with the 10 requirements described in the first release of the USG Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volume I (NIST SP 500-293).** Each requirement has associated PAPs related to interoperability, portability and security. The meetings will showcase the voluntary, independent, cloud-related efforts on diverse PAPs underway by industry, academia and standards-developing organizations.

The second day of the workshop explores the unprecedented challenges posed by big data on storage, integration, analysis and visualization—demands that many cloud innovators are working to meet today. The workshop will explore possibilities for harmonizing cloud and big data measurement, benchmarking and standards in ways that bring the power of these two approaches together to facilitate innovation. Day three offers workshops on exploring the formation of new working groups at the intersection of cloud and big data, kicking off a Big Data Research Roadmap, discussing international cloud computing standards progress, and hearing the status of the USG Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap Volume III. Special topic briefings will be offered during lunch times.

For more information on the meeting or to register, go to www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/cloudbdworkshop.cfm.

* For the NIST definition of cloud computing, see http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf
** USG Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volume I (NIST SP 500-293) is available at www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/upload/SP_500_293_volumeI-2.pdf

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

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NIST and Dutch Agency Team to Improve Forensic Science

signing of the forensics MOU
NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs Willie May watches as Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi, Chief Executive Officer of the Netherlands Forensic Institute, signs an agreement for the two organizations to collaborate for the advancement of forensic science. The signing took place during the Forensics@NIST 2012 symposium on Nov. 29, 2012, at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Md., headquarters.
Credit: Denease Anderson, NIST
View hi-resolution image

Two organizations with mutual interests in forensic science—the science of collecting and analyzing evidence to help solve crimes—have forged a partnership to facilitate the advancement of technologies, methods, practices and standards in the field. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Nov. 29, 2012, as part of the recent “Forensics@NIST 2012”* symposium held at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

NIST and NFI agreed to collaborate through activities focused on the following areas:

  • Research and development
  • Development of forensic standards
  • Education and training
  • Forensic governance (measures to ensure the ethical, transparent and accountable practice of forensic science)

The new agreement seeks to improve the accuracy and reliability of forensic science in both countries by the sharing of expertise, research findings and programs of mutual interest, as well as aligning their respective responsibilities to the forensic science community (such as developing calibration methods and reference standards, advancing state-of-the-art measurement techniques, and helping establish performance and procedural criteria).

Signing the MOU for their respective organizations were Willie May, NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, and Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi, Chief Executive Officer of NFI.

* See www.nist.gov/oles/forensics-2012.cfm for more on the meeting.

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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Science.gov Web Portal Celebrates the Power of 10 (Years of Service)

Science.gov Anniversary LogoDid you know there is a smart phone application for first responders to use in detecting bomb threats? Or that the first animals to return to the Mount St. Helens area after its 1980 eruption were spiders and beetles? How about the fact that virtual re-creations of cadavers from a death row inmate and a housewife have been used to develop everything from surgical simulators to computerized crash test dummies? These are just three of the fascinating tidbits gleaned from the more than 200 million Web pages accessible via Science.gov—the federal government’s “one stop” portal for accessing information from 17 science organizations within 13 government agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This month, Science.gov celebrates its 10th year of service to the American people.

“Over the past 10 years, Science.gov has grown in content, capability, features and functionality,” said Tina Gheen of the Library of Congress and chair of the Science.gov Alliance that oversees the portal. “As a result, we have seen significant user growth. We are very proud of this offering of sound science to the public, and we hope to continue providing this free service for years to come.”

Science.gov was founded in 2002 to provide a comprehensive gateway to federal science information that would raise scientific and technical literacy, serve as a foundation for future discoveries, and foster greater understanding of the return on investment from the government’s science and technology efforts.

“From its inception, Science.gov has been a model of collaboration, transparency and open government,” said Alliance co-chair Annie Simpson of the U.S. Geological Survey. “Back in 2002, Science.gov was touted as a wonderful ‘potluck picnic’ of science agencies pooling their efforts so citizens could find the science information they need. Today, we are still pooling our resources because the sum is more useful to the American public than what any individual agency can do.”

Among the recent improvements to Science.gov: Science.gov Mobile, a feature recently named to two “Top Ten” federal government applications lists; Ciencia.science.gov, a Spanish version of the portal; and a search function for federal science videos and still images.

For more information, including a 10th anniversary list of “Cool Things” from the participating agencies, go to www.science.gov.

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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NIST's Liddle, Spielman Elected APS Fellows

Two scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Alex Liddle and Ian Spielman, have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). The status of fellow is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the APS membership and is awarded to recognize outstanding contributions to physics.

J. Alexander Liddle of NIST’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) was nominated for APS Fellowship by the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP). His APS citation is “for contributions to the science and technology of nanofabrication and nanolithography, including projection electron beam lithography, high-resolution X-ray optics, diblock copolymer and chemically amplified resists, and the directed assembly and metrology of nanoparticle structures.” Liddle will receive his fellowship award at the annual APS meeting on March 19, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.

Ian Spielman of NIST’s Quantum Measurement division was nominated by the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP). His citation is “for innovative and pioneering work in quantum phenomena at the intersection of atomic and condensed matter physics, using quantum simulation with ultracold atoms, including the use of optical interactions to create artificial electromagnetic fields and spin-orbit coupling.” Spielman will receive his award at the DAMOP annual meeting, which will be held June 3-7, 2013, in Quebec City in Canada.

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

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NIST Engineer Remley Named IEEE Fellow

Kate A. Remley, an engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Kate Remley
Kate A. Remley
Credit: NIST

The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, with 400,000 members in 160 countries. The IEEE Board of Directors confers the grade of fellow on members with outstanding records of accomplishment. Remley was cited for her “contributions to calibration and measurement of wireless communication systems.”

An electronics engineer, Remley joined NIST Boulder in 1999. Since 2003, she has been the leader of the Metrology for Wireless Systems Project, which develops ways to measure complex telecommunication signals used by industry, public-safety workers, and the government. Remley’s research and contributions to standards development improve the reliability and interactivity of wireless communications, which helps save lives in emergencies, and also helps the wireless industry develop better and more economical products.

Remley’s previous honors include Department of Commerce bronze and silver medals and a NIST Diversity Award for “inspiring young engineers … through personally mentoring a large and diverse pool of students.” She is also a member of the Oregon State University Academy of Distinguished Engineers.

Media Contact: Laura Ost, laura.ost@nist.gov, 303-497-4880

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Martzloff Cited for Lifetime Achievement by IEEE Standards Association

If you've ever had your house lights flicker alarmingly during a bad electrical storm but found that your prized home computing network survived just fine, you may wish to pay silent tribute to François Martzloff, an electronics engineer (now retired) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Martzloff was just awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the IEEE Standards Association, "for a lifetime of integrity, leadership and mentorship in standards development for surge-protective devices and power quality fostering technological innovation, excellence and benefit to humanity."

In a career that spanned both private industry (Southern States Equipment, General Electric) and public service (NIST), Martzloff became established as one of the guiding authorities in the development of devices and standards for protecting sensitive equipment from power surges.

His writings range from the authoritative Surge Protection in Low-Voltage AC Power Circuits: An 8-part Anthology (heavy going, recommended for experts, www.nist.gov/pml/div684/spd.cfm) to the much more accessible SURGES HAPPEN! How to Protect the Appliances in Your Home (gracefully written, recommended for everyone, http://pml.nist.gov/spd-anthology/files/Surges_happen!.pdf).

He was named an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Fellow in 1983.

The IEEE Standards Association, a standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards that set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The announcement of the associations 2012 awards is at https://standards.ieee.org/news/2012/awards2012.html.

Edited on May 21, 2013, to update the url for the surge booklet.

Media Contact: Michael Baum, michael.baum@nist.gov, 301-975-2763

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