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Web Date: May 22, 2008

Metric Honors

NIST celebrates World Metrology Day
Department: Government & Policy

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards & Technology celebrated the fourth annual World Metrology Day on May 20. Events included a symposium on drug testing and a tour of historical measurement displays at the agency's campus in Gaithersburg, Md.

World Metrology Day was created by the International Bureau of Weights & Measures to commemorate the 1875 signing of the Meter Convention. This treaty formally established the International System of Units, also known as the metric system, as a framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement.

"What we are doing by celebrating World Metrology Day is reaffirming NIST's core functions, which are to maintain national standards for measurement and to ensure that measurements are consistent with those standards," said NIST Chief Scientist Richard F. Kayser, a physical chemist.

Given that the Olympic Games are coming up in August, "Metrology Measurement in Sport" was the theme of this year's World Metrology Day, an event celebrated by NIST and its counterpart agencies around the world. The event shined a spotlight on the importance of calibrating equipment for measuring athletic performance and setting the dimensions of sports venues. It also pointed out the intricacies of developing analytical methods to test athletes for performance-enhancing drugs.

During the event, Victoria Ivanova of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency gave an overview of how WADA administers the global sports drug-testing system. And Lindsey Mackay of Australia's National Measurement Institute, which is NIST's counterpart there, described how her organization is working with WADA to provide quality assurance and chemical reference materials for drug-testing laboratories around the world.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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