NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)

CEO: Willie E. May, Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology

Founded: 1824

Summary: NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

Originally known as the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, Congress created an agency in 1824 within the Treasury Department to establish and promote the consistent use of uniform weights and measures. By the early 1900s the name had changed to the National Bureau of Standards and the organization had moved to the Department of Commerce. By 1956, the Bureau was lobbying to move from Washington, DC. In 1988, the name changes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.