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Video Aims to Answer "What is NIST?"

What's the most formidable challenge faced by the staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)? Designing atomic clocks accurate for billions of years? Manipulating individual atoms to create new alloys? No, the one task that will even have a quantum physicist shaking in his boots is answering the question, "What is NIST?"

And to make it even more daunting, what if the description must be simple, clearly define the NIST mission, reflect on more than 100 years of history, engage the audience, and be delivered in only two-and-a-half minutes!

Attempting to meet that challenge is a new video on NIST's YouTube channel ( featuring Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. In the video, titled "NIST Illustrated," Gallagher's description of what drives NIST, makes it work and gives it value for all Americans comes to life using "telestration" where an artist's hand rapidly draws words and images that illustrate difficult-to-visualize concepts (such as "innovation," "globalization" and "deep technical roots").

NIST Illustrated
NIST Illustrated

Let us know through comments on our YouTube channel what you think!

* Updated 1/20/23 to reflect new YT link.

Released May 23, 2013, Updated January 20, 2023