When people ask NIST employees what they do, we often rely on the somewhat nebulous term “measurement science.” To many in the technical community, NIST’s role in measurement science is clear because they are often surrounded by instruments that bear some sort of NIST-traceable calibration certificate.
NIST staff may be able to explain the painstaking work we do to realize basic measurement units like the meter or kelvin with such incredible accuracy and precision. Distance and temperature, electrical power and mass—those examples of measurement science make sense. But some may ask, “Why is there a laboratory on campus that looks like a house? Is that where the director lives?” Aside from making sure all the parts fit together, what does measurement science have to do with a house?