APS News

Dear Members of Congress

As recipients of the Nobel Prize in physics, we are writing to emphasize the essential role to the nation of the NIST laboratories and to urge that federal funding for these facilities be maintained in the process of downsizing or reorganizing the Department of Commerce.

In support of NIST's fundamental task to provide unique measurement capabilities for industry, NIST's laboratories carry out the basic research that is essential for advanced technology. They provide the know-how to maintain and improve our measurement and calibration capability in areas such as time, power and materials, and in health and medicine. It is unthinkable that a modern nation could expect to remain competitive without these services.

The NIST laboratories carry out research for the Department of Defense and many other branches of the federal government. Their facilities are used by scientists from across the nation, and their staff includes some of the nation's leading scientists and engineers.

Measurements and standards techniques from the NIST laboratories have been estimated to save the nation billions of dollars annually through their use in industries such as electrical power, semiconducting manufacturing, medical, agricultural, food processing, and building materials. The loss of these laboratories would be a serious blow to our long term technological capability and to our national enterprise in basic research.

We urge you to make every possible effort to preserve this national treasure.

Philip W. Anderson
Hans Bethe
Nicolaas Bloembergen
James W. Cronin
Hans Dehmelt
Jerome Friedman
Val L. Fitch
Sheldon Lee Glashow
Ivar Giaever
Russell Hulse
Henry W. Kendall
Leon Lederman
Arno Penzias
Edward Mills Purcell
Norman Ramsey
Burton Richter
Arthur L. Schawlow
Robert Schrieffer
Clifford Shull
Joseph H. Taylor
Charles H. Townes
Steven Weinberg
Kenneth G. Wilson
Robert Wilson
C.N. Yang

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin