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News Flash!
NIST Sigma Xi chapter has again been awarded a Certificate of Excellence for exceptional chapter activityduring the year ending June 30, 2001.
NIST Chapter of Sigma Xi has again been awarded a Certificate of Excellence.  This year only 10 chapters in the 600 of Sigma Xi has received this Certificate of Excellence. Bob Fletcher will collect our award at the Annual Meeting in Research Triangle, NC in November.

You may download a copy of the Chapter's Annual Report on which the award consideration was based.

NIST Sigma Xi chapter has been awarded aCertificate of Excellencefor exceptional chapter activityduring the year ending June 30, 2000.
Sigma Xi has 519 chapters around North America and the world.   Each year, Sigma Xi awards Certificates of Excellence to about 10 chapters that have demonstrated exceptional innovation and quality in their annual programming.  This is an outstanding achievement of which we can be all proud.

The following is the Chapter highlights we submitted to the National Sigma Xi in our annual report for the year 1999 - 2000, in addition to our many other activities.  The Chapter Annual Report is the basis for the consideration of the award.

Chapter highlights in the annual report submitted for 1999 - 2000:

1. Annual Postdoctoral Poster Presentation (PPP): to Promote Institutional Research Activity and Scientific Interactions among the Young and Established Scientists
2. Colloquium Series: to Promote Professional Development and Public Understanding of Science
3. Area Public School Science Fairs: to Promote Scientific Research and Education

1. Annual Postdoctoral Poster Presentation (PPP): to Promote Institutional Research Activity and Scientific Interactions among the Young and Established Scientists
 A highlight of this year is the annual Post-doctoral Poster Presentation to which all post-docs and guest workers who have received their PhD degree within the past 5 years are invited. The response to this event has really been phenomenal, judging by the poster entries (40 - 50) and attendance by the scientists (200 - 300) at NIST.  This year is the 7th year that we have sponsored this event. It has become a way for the post-docs and guest workers from many different disciplines to interact and network with each other and with the more senior scientists at NIST. All the abstracts of the posters are entered into both the NIST and Sigma Xi Web site.

The half-day event includes the display of the posters in the NIST conference area, discussion with the authors, and refreshments with various home-made items brought in by Sigma Xi members.   A "secret" panel of judges consisting of prominent NIST scientists is among the visitors to select the "most out standing" poster. The participants are also invited to a luncheon a few days after the poster presentation at which the winner of the most outstanding poster is announced and more interactions can occur. The winner receives a plaque and two free tickets to the annual Sigma Xi Banquet at which he or she is recognized.  Another positive result is more awareness of Sigma Xi and more interest in membership among the new scientists.  This year we had 45 presentations representing a wide variety of the most up-to-date research topics, see our web site

2. Colloquium Series: to Promote Professional Development and Public Understanding of Science
Every year, the NIST Chapter of Sigma Xi sponsors a Colloquium Series, featuring approximately one lecture per month from September till May.  The audience for each lecture is typically 200 - 300 which consists mostly of Sigma Xi members and NIST staff, but also includes the general public and, for some lectures, representatives from some of our local schools.  The lectures are open, free of charge, and very popular.  The 1999 - 2000 Colloquium Series featured 9 invited lectures (titles and speaker names are on our web site: ).

Something new and noteworthy was added to the colloquium series this year.  On April 12, 2000, for the first time, Sigma Xi sponsored a special symposium featuring 4 of the 60 national winners of the President’s Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers at the beginning of their careers and is the highest honor bestowed by the US Government on young researchers.  The 4 award winners from the Department of Commerce, 2 from NIST and 2 from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), were invited to give 20 minute talks on their award-winning research aimed at a general audience:

What is Air? Tools for Trace Gas Analysis, Pamela Chu, NIST/Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory
Climatic Impacts on the Pacific Northwest, Nathan Mantua, NOAA/University of Washington
Excited about Excitons: the Color of Buckyballs, Eric Shirley, NIST/Physics Laboratory
Tomorrow's Forecasts for Lakes, Estuaries and the Central Ocean, John G.W. Kelley, NOAA Coast Survey Development Laboratory

Following the 90-minute program the NIST Sigma Xi Chapter sponsored a luncheon and reception for the award winners and their families who were our special guests at the symposium (20 people in all).  This was a pleasant "warm-up" for the White House Reception honoring the award winners on the following day.  The outcome of this special symposium is that we provided a wonderfully diverse and interesting set of lectures benefiting all those who attended, positive feedback, recognition, and encouragement to a group of extremely talented young scientists, and an opportunity for scientists from different agencies to interact in an interdisciplinary environment.

3. Area Public School Science Fairs: to Promote Scientific Research and Education
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology  Administration, takes an active role in promoting science and technology education throughout the Gaithersburg, Md. community. Although NIST's primary mission is to promote economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards, the institute's employees participate in many educational activities in conjunction with local schools both public and private as well as higher education institutions.

NIST has a very broad range of activities in engineering and in the physical and biological sciences.  A common theme spanning all of NIST's activities is the science of measurement.  Thus the NIST Sigma Xi Chapter has chosen to sponsor a special award recognizing outstanding measurement science incorporated in projects at the local science fairs. In 2000, teams of NIST Sigma Xi members visited the Montgomery Area Science Fair (Montgomery County, Maryland) and the Fredrick County (Maryland) Public Schools Science Fair in Spring of 2000, both of which were open to the public. One winning project was selected from each Fair's entries in the senior high school division, in the topical areas of engineering and physical sciences (a total of about 100 projects were evaluated).  This year's winners were: Frederick County: Elaine Pei-San Gee, Frederick High School; Montgomery County: Elizabeth Epstein, Montgomery Blair High School.  The winners and their families were honored at the Sigma Xi Annual Banquet with a plaque and a monetary award.  For a list of past winners see

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