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Michael Nelson (Fed)

Research Chemist

Dr. Michael Nelson is a research chemist in the Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) Chemical Sciences Division. Chief among his duties is development of measurement and documentary standards intended to promote US innovation and quality in services, as well as international trade.

Michael has a wealth of experience in developing international documentary standards for harmonization of measurement practices. He has held multiple leadership roles in representing the US and NIST to international standards development organizations (SDOs), including Technical Committees of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on Reference Materials and on Quantities and Units, and the US Pharmacopeia (USP). He also represents NIST and serves expert advisory roles within the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) Consultative Committee of Amount of Substance (CCQM) working groups.

Michael is responsible for the development and maintenance of several series of chemical reference materials used around the world that support, through measurement traceability, reliable delivery of products across various manufacturing sectors, health diagnostics, forensics, food nutrition labeling, and pharmaceuticals regulation. Many of these are pure organic chemical ‘primary standards’ delivering values for chemical purity. He developed a “first-of-its-kind” primary standard (NIST PS1) for quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR) methods that is implemented globally to establish traceability of organic chemical measurement results to the International System of Units (SI).

Michael has expertise in the use of NMR spectroscopy, and he has led research into methods for its quantitative application. He has collaborated extensively with the NIST Statistical Engineering Division to develop new statistical methods and tools that help chemical analysts improve the efficiency and rigor of their measurements (ABACUS app). Additionally, he teaches graduate-level classes, both in the US and abroad, on fundamental principles of metrology and their practical application in measurement laboratories. He also has experience participating in and analyzing results of interlaboratory comparisons.

From 2022-2023 Michael is engaged in an appointment to the NIST Office of Weights and Measures contributing to delivery of domestic and international standards for legal metrology.


  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award, National Institute of Standards andTechnology (2018)
  • Material Measurement Laboratory Service and Support Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology (2022)
  • Cooperation on International Traceability in Chemistry in Analytical Chemistry, Best Publications Award (2021)
  • Cooperation on International Traceability in Chemistry in Analytical Chemistry, Best Publications Award (2019)
  • Material Measurement Laboratory Technical Outreach Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology (2017)
  • ACS Student Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society, Maryland Section (2007)


OWM Welcomes New Detailee, Mike Nelson

Mike joins OWM with a wealth of standards development experience and expertise in metrology he has gained during a NIST career that began in 2010. Initially a


Metrological Tools for the Reference Materials and Reference Instruments of the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory

Carlos R. Beauchamp, Johanna Camara, Jennifer Carney, Steven J. Choquette, Kenneth D. Cole, Paul C. DeRose, David L. Duewer, Michael Epstein, Margaret Kline, Katrice Lippa, Enrico Lucon, John L. Molloy, Michael Nelson, Karen W. Phinney, Maria Polakoski, Antonio Possolo, Lane C. Sander, John E. Schiel, Katherine E. Sharpless, Michael R. Winchester, Donald Windover
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly the National Bureau of Standards, was established by the U.S. Congress in 1901 and charged
Created October 9, 2019, Updated September 15, 2022