Richard Kayser, a chemist with diverse technical and managerial experience, has been named director of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He succeeds Leslie Smith, who retired from NIST in November. Kayser had been serving as the laboratory's acting director.
A 30-year veteran of NIST, Kayser joined the agency after earning his doctoral degree in physical chemistry from Rice University. He conducted research on the physics of fluids, including how changes in temperature, pressure and chemical composition affect the properties of materials. In 1999, after heading two divisions in the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, Kayser was named director of Technology Services, NIST's outreach arm. The unit is responsible for providing business support for NIST's calibration services, Standard Reference Materials and Standard Reference Data, as well as other functions. Prior to his new position, Kayser had been serving as NIST's acting deputy director, responsible for administration and day-to-day operations.
With an appropriation of nearly $65 million in 2006, MSEL has major programs in metals, polymers, ceramics and materials reliability. It also manages the NIST Center for Neutron Research, a world-class user facility for studies in materials and many other fields.