Boulder Laboratories
                        50th Anniversary

 

U.S. Department of Commerce Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado:

NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NTIA - National Telecommunications and Information Administration

 

Blast from the Past Stories

“Significant Papers from the First 50 Years of the Boulder Labs” (pdf)

    (DeWeese, Luebs, McCullough, eds., published as NISTIR 6618 and NTIA SP-04-416)

 

 

 

 

Overview of the History of the Department of Commerce Boulder Labs

In 2004, the Boulder Labs celebrated their history in Boulder, Colorado, as NIST marked the 50th anniversary of its dedication. For the event the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration joined in hosting a series of activities that are intended help educate the staff and the community concerning the Boulder Labs’ historic and current accomplishments and contributions to the city, state, nation, and world.  Additionally, the celebration highlighted the history and partnership of NIST, NOAA, and NTIA.

 

1949 On December 12, 1949, Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer announced the selection of Boulder as the site for the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL).

 

1950 After a two-month campaign, the citizens of Boulder raised enough money to purchase the 325 Broadway site, and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce deeded the land to the Federal government to build the Boulder NBS laboratories.

 

1951 Staff began to arrive in Boulder, using the Armory on North Broadway as temporary facilities.

 

1952 Groundbreaking for the Radio Building.

 

1954 Radio Building was dedicated by President Eisenhower.

 

1965 The Central Radio Propagation Laboratory was transferred from NBS to join the United States Weather Bureau and the Coast and Geodetic Survey in a new scientific agency of the Department of Commerce: the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA).

 

1970 The Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (ITS) was transferred from ESSA to the Commerce Department’s Office of Telecommunications.

 

1970 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was created through an Executive Order.  NOAA brought the functions of the ESSA and a group of agencies dealing with marine and oceanic services under a single agency.

 

1978 NTIA, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, was created in 1978 as a result of an Executive Branch reorganization that transferred and combined various functions of the White House's Office of Telecommunications Policy (OTP) and the Commerce Department's Office of Telecommunications (OT).

 

1988 The name of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) changed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In a move to consolidate all the DOC agencies on one site, a new NOAA building was constructed and it was dedicated on November 20, 1998.

 

2001 NIST, JILA, and MIT scientists win the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensate.

 

2005 NIST and JILA’s John L. Hall shares the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physics for his contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique.

 

 

Contact Information:

E-mail address: kotary@boulder.nist.gov

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Last revised: February 6, 2006