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Silver Medal Awarded to Developers of Bran

Seven current and former members of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Boulder Laboratories shared in a Silver Medal award from the Department for their roles in developing BRAN, a high-speed fiber-optic network linking Boulder's major research institutions and the City of Boulder. The Silver Medal is the second highest honor awarded by the Department.

Winners were David W. Norcross and Darren L. Smith of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Allen M. Hittelman, Britt Bassett, Kent L. Groninger, Jerry B. Janssen, and David S. Groton, all employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NIST and NOAA are agencies of the Department of Commerce. Norcross left NIST in April for a position at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. At the beginning of the BRAN project Smith was an employee of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; he later transferred to NIST.

BRAN (Boulder Research and Administrative Network) is a $1.5 million, 11-mile network of fiber optic lines linking NIST, NOAA, NTIA, the city, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Each institution was awarded a share of BRAN's 96-fiber total; it is estimated that it would take 71 seconds to transmit the entire U.S. Library of Congress holdings between two points on the BRAN network utilizing 28 strands of fiber.

Work on BRAN began in July 1999 and construction and testing were completed in April 2000; it was formally inaugurated at a news conference on April 28. In its award citation, the Department said "BRAN delivers otherwise unattainable performance at costs far less than leased systems."

The medals will be awarded on September 13 at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of Commerce awards the Silver Medal to employees who have made contributions of exceptional value in support of overall Departmental goals that serve the nation.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Advanced Technology Program, the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Additional Contact: Barbara McGehan (NOAA), (303) 497-6288

Released September 13, 2000, Updated January 20, 2023