Metrology is a Common Good: The Foundations of Sharing, Trusting, and Dividing



Marc Salit, Stanford University, National Institute of Standards & Technology

Date and Time

December 12, 2016 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM



RSVP required by 5PM December 10.


Encina Hall, 2nd floor

Abstract: Trustworthy measurement results are basic to human interaction. We evolved the critical and sensitive capacity to compare and judge amount and distance and time and a rich portfolio of our sensed environment. And fairness, and Truth. 

Metrology is the science of measuring, and the systematic foundation of how we exchange measurement results that can trusted. Results that can be compared and used to make decisions. Metrology has deep roots, has played a formative role in our industrialized civilization, and promises to shape our future. 

Our social fabric is woven from fairness and shared reality, and the government responsibility to “…fix the Standard of Weights and Measures” is enshrined in the US Constitution. The common good of Metrology is fundamental for security and cooperation. 

I’ll talk about some of the technical and practical things we do to realize metrology at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.

About the Speaker: Marc Salit is a measurement scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the US Department of Commerce. He leads a group that develops metrology and infrastructure to support discovery, technology development, and deployment of measurements in biomedicine and the bioeconomy. He received his B.A. at Skidmore College, and his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. His work at NIST has included development of standards for chemical composition, wavelenghts of spectral lines, and genome-scale biology. His group most recently released the world’s first standards for whole human genomes.
In 2013, he moved most of his team to California to seed a new joint scientific initiative in partnership with Stanford faculty groups and Bay Area industry. This initiative has been launched as the Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology (JIMB —

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