On Sept. 10, the White House announced President Barack Obama's intention to nominate physicist Patrick Gallagher to be the 14th director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher, 46, is currently the NIST deputy director.
Commenting on the nomination, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, "NIST is a unique agency with a strong culture of world-class scientific achievement. Pat Gallagher has come up through the ranks and his continued leadership will be critical to an agency that is central to the nation's ability to innovate and compete in global markets."
If confirmed by the Senate, Gallagher will direct an agency with an annual budget of approximately $800 million that employs approximately 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, support staff and administrative personnel at two primary locations: Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo. Gallagher will succeed William Jeffrey, who left NIST in 2007.
Gallagher, who has a doctorate in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, came to the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) in 1993 to pursue research in neutron and X-ray instrumentation and studies of soft-condensed matter systems such as liquids, polymers and gels. In 2004, he became director of the NCNR, a national user facility for neutron research that is considered one of the most productive and heavily used facilities of its type in the nation. In September 2008, he was appointed deputy director of NIST.