The federal government’s first physical science research laboratory was chartered by Congress on March 3, 1901, as the National Bureau of Standards, which became the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1988. Recognizing the critical importance of chemical measures and standards, NIST established the Chemistry Division as one of its first programs. Today, the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, one of the Institute’s seven measurement and standards laboratories, offers the most comprehensive range of chemical, physical, and engineering measurement capabilities in its field.
The text of the plaque commemorating the landmark reads:
For one hundred years, scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, formerly the National Bureau of Standards, have made broad-based and comprehensive contributions to chemical science and technology and to the economic strength and competitiveness of the United States. Through internationally recognized programs in materials characterization and standards, measurement, calibration, and synthesis — and in areas as diverse as cryogenics, weather prediction, solid state devices, and synthetic rubber — the National Institute of Standards and Technology continues to demonstrate that the intelligent application of research in physical sciences to a wide range of societal challenges contributes to a higher quality of life for everyone.