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Statistics and Measurements



C M. Croarkin


For more than 50 years, the Statistical Engineering Division (SED) has been instrumental in the success of a broad spectrum of metrology projects at NBS/NIST. This paper highlights fundamental contributions of NBS/NIST statisticians to statistics and to measurement science and technology. Published methods developed by SED staff, especially during the early years, endure ascornerstones of statistics not only in metrology and standards applications, but as data-analytic resources used across all disciplines. The history of statistics at NBS/NIST, began with the formation of what is now the SED. Examples from the first five decades of the SED illustrate the critical role of the division in the successful resolution of a few of the highly visible, and sometimes controversial, statistical studies of national importance. A review of the history of major early publications of the division on statistical methods, design of experiments, and error analysis and uncertainty is followed by a survey of several thematic areas. The accompanying examples illustrate the importance of SED in the history of statistics, measurements and standards: calibration and measurement assurance, interlaboratorytests, development of measurement methods, Standard Reference Materials, statistical computing, and dissemination of measurementtechnology. A brief look forward sketches the expanding opportunity and demand for SED statisticians created by current trends in research and development at NIST.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
106 No. 1


calibration and measurement assurance, design of experiments, error analysis and uncertainty, history of NBS, interlaboratory testing, measurement methods, standard reference materials, statistical computing, unertainty analysis


Croarkin, C. (2001), Statistics and Measurements, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed December 6, 2023)
Created January 1, 2001, Updated February 17, 2017