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100 Years of Optical Science and Metrology at NIST

Published

Author(s)

William R. Ott

Abstract

The National Bureau of Standards (NBS) was formed by Congress 100 years ago. The early Bureau was a small organization, founded at the beginning of the age of electricity to promote industrial productivity, commerce, technological progress, and the quality of life by forming a basis for standardizing the measurements and the products that are so important to a nation,s infrastructure. The original staff numbered 12. There were 15 offices and laboratories. Five areas of optics have been important elements of the Bureau's research for almost its entire history: atomic and molecular spectroscopy; radiometry; colorimetry; optical properties of materials; and, for the last 40 years, laser science and applications. Research and measurement services have supported national programs ranging from the manufacture of high quality optical glass during two World Wars to the calibration of spectrometers on the Hubble Space Telescope. the presentation includes a review of the contributions of some of the pioneers from NBS/NIST in optical science and metrology, ranging from William Coblentz, who established the field of optical radiometry during his 40 yhear career from 1905-1945, to William Phillips, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for his research on the laser cooling and trapping of atoms.
Proceedings Title
Harnessing Light : Optical Science and Metrology at NIST, Conference | | 100 Years of Optical Science and Metrology at NIST | SPIE: 4450
Volume
4450
Conference Dates
August 1-2, 2001
Conference Location
San Diego, CA
Conference Title
Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering

Keywords

history, lasers, metrology, NBS, NIST, optical science, optics, photometry, radiometry

Citation

Ott, W. (2001), 100 Years of Optical Science and Metrology at NIST, Harnessing Light : Optical Science and Metrology at NIST, Conference | | 100 Years of Optical Science and Metrology at NIST | SPIE: 4450, San Diego, CA (Accessed May 18, 2024)

Issues

If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact reflib@nist.gov.

Created June 1, 2001, Updated February 17, 2017