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Standard Reference Materials--the First Century



S D. Rasberry


Over the course of its first one hundred years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has made numerous contributions to advancing the science and practice of measurements. Contributions to fundamental constants and reference data, such as determination of the faraday, Avagadro's number, and atomic masses, began at almost the beginning of this institution when it was founded in 1901. Instrumentation development, improvement, and reproducible methods for their use have also been an important part of the NIST effort. This publication will describe what may be the organization's most important and certainly its most unique contribution; namely, certified reference materials. These certified reference materials would ultimately become known at NIST as Standard Reference Materials (SRM's). This contribution has now been mirrored around the world, with reference materials being certified in at least 25 countries and routinely applied in more than twice that number. The result has been more accurate analyses of materials that affect our safety, health, and well-being.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 260-150
Report Number


chemical analysis, measurements, Standard Reference Materials, standard samples


Rasberry, S. (2003), Standard Reference Materials--the First Century, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed April 13, 2024)
Created January 1, 2003, Updated October 16, 2008