Two researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been nominated for prestigious Service to America medals. The finalists are contenders for two of the eight awards, including Federal Employee of the Year, that will be presented on Sept. 15, 2010, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Physicist Till Rosenband has been nominated for the "Call to Service Medal," which recognizes professional achievements by young, up-and-coming federal employees. Rosenband was nominated for inventing the world's most precise timekeeping device, an entirely new type of atomic clock based on quantum computing research. (See "NIST 'Quantum Logic Clock' Rivals Mercury Ion as World's Most Accurate Clock," NIST Tech Beat, March 18, 2008.) Current versions of the experimental clock are in principle 30 times better than the current atomic clock standard for time and would gain or lose only one second in three billion years.
Physicist Joshua Bienfang has been nominated for the Science and Environment Medal, which recognizes a significant contribution to the nation by a federal employee in science and environment research (including biomedicine, economics, energy, information technology, meteorology, resource conservation and space). Bienfang has used quantum physics and telecommunications technologies to demonstrate encryption services at record speeds in a system whose security is based on the properties of quantum objects, in this case, photons. (See "System Sets Speed Record for Quantum Encryption," NIST Tech Beat, May 7, 2004.)
The Service to America Medals are presented annually by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to celebrate excellence in our federal civil service. See the complete list of 2010 Service to America Medal finalists.