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From NBS to NIST

Over the past century, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has had several different names. Founded as the National Bureau of Standards in 1901, it was renamed Bureau of Standards in 1903. In 1934, the word "national" was affixed again to its name. For more than 50 years it remained the National Bureau of Standards, or NBS. It became the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, in 1988. To eliminate confusion, the name National Institute of Standards and Technology is used throughout this web site.

Since its founding in 1901, NIST has been led by the following directors:

  • Samuel W. Stratton, 1901 – 1922
  • George K. Burgess, 1923 – 1932
  • Lyman J. Briggs, 1932 – 1945
  • Edward U. Condon, 1945 – 1951
  • Allen V. Astin, 1951 – 1969
  • Lewis M. Branscomb, 1969 – 1972
  • Richard W. Roberts, 1973 – 1975
  • Ernest Ambler, 1975 – 1989
  • John W. Lyons, 1990 – 1993
  • Arati Prabhakar, 1993 – 1997
  • Ray Kammer, 1997 – 2000
  • Karen Brown (Acting Director), 2000 – 2001
  • Arden L. Bement, Jr., 2001 – 2004
  • Hratch Semerjian (Acting Director), 2004 – 2005
  • William A. Jeffrey, 2005 – 2007
  • James M. Turner (Deputy Director), 2007 – 2008
  • Patrick D. Gallagher (Deputy Director), 2008 – 2009
  • Patrick D. Gallagher (Director), 2009 – 2014
  • Willie E. May (Acting Director), 2014  – 2015
  • Willie E. May (Director), 2015 – 2017
  • Kent Rochford (Acting Director), 2017 – present
Notice of Online Archive: This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of 2001. For questions about page contents, please inquiries [at] nist.gov (contact us).
Created July 22, 2013, Updated March 7, 2017