Thomas R. O'Brian, head of NIST's Quantum Physics and Time and Frequency Divisions, was awarded the NIST Gold Medal on Wednesday, December 1, 2010. NIST Director Patrick Gallagher presented the award to O'Brian at NIST's annual awards ceremony. O'Brian earned the Gold Medal "for leadership in developing and disseminating the nation's standard of civilian time, the world's most precise measurement of any kind."
The Gold Medal is the highest honor award conferred upon an employee of the U. S. Department of Commerce. It is given for "distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable, or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department of Commerce and/or one operating unit and which reflect favorably on the Department."