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Analytical Chemistry

Chemistry Tops NIST Reference Data Prizes

by Andrea Widener
November 30, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 47

Several apps that tap into NIST’s vast trove of chemistry data and make it more accessible to the scientific community have won the NIST Reference Data Challenge. First-place winner Kris Reyes from Meru Apps in Princeton, N.J., created an app that allows lab mates to share chemical species data using near-field communication tags, which communicate with smartphones. Reyes won the $30,000 prize for the first app he ever made. “I became really passionate toward developing techniques to use data to help scientists in their day-to-day work in a practical, data-driven manner,” he says. The second-place, $10,000 award went to the creators of Lab Pal, which incorporates search features, a calculator, an infrared spectrum viewer, and lab notes into one app. The third-place, $5,000 prize went to the creators of ChemBook, which allows users to search for a chemical element or compound on the basis of name, formula, or common terms. Two more apps were awarded an honorable mention. NIST made six standard reference data sets available for the challenge, which was the agency’s first-ever app development competition.

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