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People might be surprised at how much public-private cooperation goes on between businesses and government research entities like NIST.

In fact, an explicit part of NIST's role is filling in science that businesses need but can't do themselves.

NIST started out as the National Bureau of Standards. It sits in the Department of Commerce. Most of its activities are directed at tasks-- like standardizing measurements-- that businesses depend on, but are too small, or too balkanized, to do effectively on their own.

Unless, you know, you like every corner gas station having its own definition of "gallon", and every appliance manufacturer rating its offerings using different definitions of energy, and every steel producer specifying tensile strength according to its own test procedure.

Disclosure-- I had a post-doc at NIST in the late 1990s.

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