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Michael Nelson (Fed)

Physical Scientist

Dr. Michael Nelson is a Physical Scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Office of Weights and Measures (OWM). His tenure at NIST has been dedicated to the development of standards that promote US innovation and industrial competitiveness. Michael is currently a member of the OWM Legal Metrology Groups and is active in both domestic and international legal metrology communities. He serves as a representative for the United States to several committees of the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), an intergovernmental treaty organization committed to harmonizing laws and regulations that facilitate international trade and promote consumer protection. Michael also participates in the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) and has held leadership roles in representing the U.S. and NIST to numerous standards development organizations (SDOs) such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the US Pharmacopeia (USP), and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC).

Before joining the OWM, Michael was a Research Chemist in the NIST Chemical Sciences Division for more than ten years. During this time, he held several responsibilities including leadership in the development of a suite of laboratory QA/QC products (NIST Standard Reference Materials®) used throughout the world to ensure quality in laboratory medicine, forensic analysis, food labeling, and pharmaceutical product development. Michael also represented the U.S. in specialized groups of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) Consultative Committee for Amount of Substance: Metrology in Chemistry and Biology (CCQM). He has collaborated extensively with the NIST Statistical Engineering Division to develop new statistical methods and a suite of web-based statistical analysis applications for designing efficient measurement procedures and rigorously evaluating experimental data (ABACUS). He also instructed graduate-level classes on metrological principles and management of chemical testing laboratories, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Michael has expertise in the use of NMR spectroscopy. He developed a “first-of-its-kind” primary standard (NIST PS1) for quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR) methods, which is used throughout the world to establish traceability of quantitative chemical analyses to the International System of Units (SI).


  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award, National Institute of Standards andTechnology (2023)
  • 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

Selected Publications


Certification of Standard Reference Material® 1595a Tripalmitin

Michael Nelson, Jerome Mulloor, Brian Lang, Blaza Toman, Antonio Possolo, William Perry, Alicia Lyle
Standard Reference Material (SRM) 1595a Tripalmitin is a high purity chemical substance having a certified value for purity, expressed as a mass fraction. It is
Created October 9, 2019, Updated January 12, 2024