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Talking Points: NIST Center for Neutron Research Recognition Event

[Mr. Bond is introduced by NIST Director Arden Bement.]

  • Thank you, Arden. I'd like to add my welcome to our distinguished guests, including
    • Rep. Constance Morella
    • Dr. Marburger
    • Dr. Colwell
  • I suspect there are at least a few people here who share with me a sense of awe as we stand here in this huge hall surrounded by some very serious machines.
    • To the lay person, who instinctively thinks of "scientific instrument" as something you take out of a cabinet and put on your lab bench, a scientific instrument that involves a couple tons of metal is instantly impressive.
    • For the rest of you, I suppose this is all pretty much old hat.
  • Or maybe not. Because that's a large part of why we're here today, isn't it? To celebrate a unique facility.
    • Arden sketched for you a little of the background of this place, its development into what is today one of the best facilities for neutron research in the world.
    • The 1,700 scientists, engineers, and students from around the U.S. and the world who annually benefit from this facility in research ranging from the dynamics of proteins to the trading patterns of the Middle East 3,000 years ago are a testimony to its great value to the nation.
    • The NIST Center for Neutron Research is a national resource, and we are well aware of our responsibilities as its stewards.
    • From laying the cornerstone of the original facility in the 1960s to the recently-completed installation of the new advanced cold neutron source, the goal has always been to provide the nation's scientists and engineers - in industry, in academia, in government - with the best measurement tools in a facility that encourages the broadest possible access.
    • That's something of a theme here at NIST, and one that I'd like to take a minute to recognize.
      • NIST is a lot of things to a lot of people -
        • A source of calibrations and reference standards, naturally
        • A source of world-class scientific research: witness our two Nobel laureates
        • But also a source of world-class tools and facilities - a "toolbox" that university and industrial researchers can go to for capabilities that they can find nowhere else.
    • NIST works hard to keep the cutting edge of its "tools" sharp -
      • In case you missed hearing about it, our last big construction effort, the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory, is a state-of-the-art lab.
      • Just the sort of place to help us - and U.S. industry - meet the 21st century's needs for accurate chemical measurements and standards in pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical diagnosis, pollution monitoring and clean up, nutritional analysis and other chemical fields.
    • Driving to this event you could hardly miss seeing the current big construction effort. When completed next year - and I'm happy that Arden keeps reporting that the project is on-schedule and on-budget - the new Advanced Measurement Laboratory will be one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world.
      • No existing laboratory combines the features of close temperature control, vibration isolation, air cleanliness, and power quality into a facility of this magnitude or importance.
      • The AML will have some astonishingly rigorous specifications.
      • They reflect the world of the semiconductor industry, where a single nanometer-scale contamination particle can cause the whole device to fail.
      • They reflect the world of precision manufacturing, where the heat from a single human body can warp a measuring machine enough to alter the calibration of a calibration standard.
      • They reflect, in short, the world of our clients, in industry, at universities, at other agencies. We see it as part of NIST's fundamental mission to ensure that the measurement capabilities they need are there when they need them. That is a stewardship we take very seriously.
    • To these add the newly improved NCNR. Let me tell you something that Arden left out about user access to this unique resource.
      • While NIST uses this facility for important mission-related work, the majority of the valuable time on the impressive suite of instruments behind me is used by a broad spectrum of researchers from the U.S. science and technology community.
      • Some of the NCNR instruments you see have been funded and built in conjunction with partners - Participating Research Teams. Even for these instruments, NIST requires that at least 25 percent of time be made available to general users .
      • And of course for the extraordinary instruments in the joint NIST- National Science Foundation Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering most of the time is available for general users.
      • Forgot for a moment the visionary design. Forget the world-class research work. If it had done nothing else, NIST would have set a mark to meet in its management of this facility in the interests of the nation's scientific community.
    • And speaking of setting marks for management, it's my honor to introduce to you someone who has distinguished himself in academia, in industry, and now in government, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Samuel Bodman.
Created October 14, 2009, Updated October 22, 2016