U.S. Senate Confirms Pitt Alumnus as Director of National Institute of Standards and Technology

Issue Date: 
November 30, 2009

The U.S. Senate, in a Nov. 5 vote, confirmed University of Pittsburgh alumnus Patrick Gallagher as the 14th director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher will direct the agency that supplies and oversees the nation’s standards of measurement, including the official time; has an annual budget of approximately $800 million; and employs nearly 3,000 people, including scientists and engineers.

Gallagher earned his master’s and PhD degrees in physics at Pitt in 1987 and 1991, respectively. He has been with NIST since 1993 and was named the agency’s deputy director in 2008 before President Barack Obama nominated him as director. Previously, he served for four years as the director of the NIST Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md. He also has served as a NIST agency representative at the National Science and Technology Council and chair of the Interagency Working Group on neutron and light-source facilities under the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Gallagher is active in numerous professional organizations and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In recognition of his work, Gallagher was awarded a Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the department’s highest award, in 2006.