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"What is NIST?" Video Description for the Visually Impaired

(back to video)

Visual:

Text appears on screen that reads, "What is NIST?"

Visual:

NIST materials research engineer Joannie Chin

"NIST is a really great environment for doing research."

Visual:

NIST research mechanical engineer Daniel Sawyer

"I think NIST is excellence."

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NIST Program Office Director Tom O'Brian

"NIST is all about very smart and dedicated scientists and engineers who are making measurements and standards that affect your life and my life positively every day."

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Exterior of one of the buildings on the NIST campus.

Narrator:

Welcome to NIST ... the National Institute of Standards and Technology ... a federal research agency working to improve the nation's economy and quality of life.

Visual:

Acoustic laboratory with sharp, pyramid shaped foam cones covering the walls. NIST researchers and collaborators talking about a project in a laboratory, researchers aiming lasers.

Narrator:

In state-of-the-art scientific laboratories on several campuses ... our scientists and engineers work side-by-side with industry and university researchers to create the measurements, standards and technologies that make modern products and services possible.

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An array of electronic products.

Narrator:

Cell phones, portable music players, computers, medical devices ... all of the sophisticated technologies we use every day rely on NIST research.

Visual:

NIST researcher loads a long, cylindrical sample into a neutron beamline.

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Text that reads "Manufacturing Extension Partnership" appears on screen. A factory worker grinds metal.

Narrator:

NIST also helps small manufacturers stay competitive ...

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Workers examine a high tech metal component. Text that reads "Technology Innovation Program" appears on screen.

Narrator:

Supports the development of cutting edge technologies in areas of critical national need ...

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Text that reads, "Baldrige National Quality Program" appears. A discussion leader talks with a group.

Narrator:

And guides organizations of all types toward improved performance.

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A crane lifts a girder at a construction site.

Narrator:

Like the unseen girders in a skyscraper, NIST is the scientific backbone ... the infrastructure ... that supports U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

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Text that reads, "Strengthening U.S. Innovation" appears on screen. A drawing shows the major components of a hydrogen fuel vehicle.

Narrator:

Take fuel cells for example ...

Visual: Animation shows hydrogen molecules flowing through a membrane and combining with an oxygen molecule.

Narrator:

Tomorrow's cars may get their power from these pollution-free devices that combine hydrogen with oxygen to yield energy and leave behind only water.

Visual:

NIST researcher adjusts a fuel cell about to be examined with a neutron beam.

Narrator:

But to get development on the fast track, researchers needed a way to look through a fuel cell's thick metal casing ... to measure its efficiency.

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NIST researcher views video showing how water is flowing through a fuel cell.

Narrator:

NIST and industry researchers solved the problem with a neutron beam imaging method that sees circulating water inside fuel cells much like a CAT scan shows blood flow in the heart.

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Text appears on screen that reads, "Improving Quality of Life." NIST researcher uses a joystick to operate a metal probe that measures complex metals parts.

Narrator:

Our scientists and engineers are helping make medical devices ... like artificial hip joints ... more reliable.

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Doctors conduct surgery in an operating room.

Narrator:

Using precisely machined metal templates ... NIST provides surgeons with a way of calibrating their instruments right in the operating room ... reducing errors and improving the fit of joint replacements.

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Text appears on screen that reads: "Providing measurements and standards." Wheels spin inside a wristwatch.

Narrator:

Timekeeping also benefits from NIST expertise ...

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Black and white photo of first NIST atomic clock. NIST researchers view a digital readout. A laboratory table full of laser mirrors and a tall silver cylinder appears in the background.

Narrator:

From the first NIST atomic clock in 1949 ... the Institute has been providing the nation's time with ever-increasing precision.

Visual:

Animation shows gas molecules moving within a tall vertical cylinder and lasers turning on and off as an atomic clock operates.

Narrator:

The current NIST atomic clock would have to run for 70 million years to be off by even one second.

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Stock prices scroll across the screen.

Narrator:

This amazing science helps ensure confidence in billions of dollars worth of financial transactions daily ...

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The Mars Rover explores the planet.

Narrator:

Allows NASA to land spacecraft on Mars ...

Narrator:

And makes the global positioning system for advanced navigation possible.

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Text appears on screen that reads, "Advancing Science and Technology." Computer graphic shows red and yellow atoms on an egg carton shaped surface changing places with each other.

Narrator:

These same atomic tools may help NIST researchers with another goal ... to build a practical quantum computer.

Visual:

Thousands of 1s and 0s rapidly scroll across the screen.

Narrator:

By storing and processing data with individual atoms ... quantum computers promise to solve tasks in seconds that are impossible to solve today.

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Text appears that reads, "Defining the Future." A high tech windmill is superimposed on an astronaut in a space suit.

Narrator: In many ways, NIST's work literally helps define our future ...

Visual:

Tweezers pick up tiny devices, a researcher in a white lab coat pipettes fluid into small test tubes.

Narrator:

Pioneering miniature "lab-on-a-chip" devices that can quickly analyze forensic DNA ...

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Computer simulation shows a plane disintegrating as it flies into World Trade Center 1.

Narrator:

Using knowledge from a comprehensive study of the World Trade Center disaster to help improve the safety of future buildings ...

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An illustration shows small, spiky spheres within blood vessels and tubes of carbon atoms arranged in repeating hexagonal patterns are rotated in space.

Narrator:

And finding ways to safely exploit nanotechnologies like carbon nanotubes for super strong fibers . . .

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Quantum dots in breast cancer cells glow blue and are superimposed on a woman's body.

Narrator:

or quantum dots for diagnosing breast cancer.

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A series of videos and photos shows the king of Sweden presenting Nobel Prizes to three different NIST researchers.

Narrator:

NIST is tackling the toughest research challenges. In the process, our scientists have received three Nobel Prizes in physics since 1997.

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A collage of videos shows exteriors of NIST buildings, research instruments, products on an assembly line, an economics plot with multi-colored lines rising in value, and people on a crowded city street.

Narrator:

For more than a century, NIST has been the critical bridge between new knowledge and new products and services that strengthen our economy and improve our everyday lives.

Visual:

Text of Credits roll

Executive Producer: NIST Public and Business Affairs

Thanks to the following NIST employees for their descriptions of NIST (in order of appearance): Joannie Chin, materials research engineer; Daniel Sawyer, research mechanical engineer; Thomas O'Brian, director, NIST Program Office.

NIST wishes to thank the following organizations for providing video footage for use in this program: Bechtel Group Inc., NASA, NOAA, General Motors, and Swedish Television.

NIST wishes to thank the following organization for providing images for use in this program: Jan Hall: AP Images / Jonas Ekstromer; Eric Cornell: AP Images / Henrik Montgomery; Bill Phillips: AP Images / Jonas Ekstromer.

NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

The display of products and services in this program is for demonstration purposes only and does not imply an endorsement by NIST.

January 2008

Created August 23, 2010, Updated January 3, 2017