The world depends on a collection of strange items. They're not cheap 

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This government warehouse keeps our entire society up to standard. Part of this video was sponsored by Google Domains. Take the first step to get online with a domain name from Google Domains - go to domains.google/veritasium to get 20% off your first year. #GoogleDomains
Thanks to Rich Press and NIST for the great visit.
Thanks to Dr. Steve Choquette, Dr. Ben Place, and Dr. Johanna Camara for teaching us about the world of Standard Reference Materials.
You can check out all the cool work going on at NIST here: www.nist.gov/
NIST (2022). Standard Reference Materials. - ve42.co/WhyStandard2022
Montgomery, R. & Bercik, I. (2022). NIST Standard Reference Materials 2022 Catalog. - ve42.co/SRMCatalog
Vincent, J. (2022). Made to measure: why we can’t stop quantifying our lives. The Guardian -
Proffitt, A. (2022). NIST Develops Monkeypox Reference Materials, Sees Growing Role in Outbreak Response. Diagnostics World. - ve42.co/Proffitt2022
Special thanks to our Patreon supporters:
James Sanger, Louis Lebbos, Elliot Miller, Brian Busbee, Jerome Barakos M.D., Amadeo Bee, TTST, Balkrishna Heroor, Chris LaClair, John H. Austin Jr., OnlineBookClub.org, Matthew Gonzalez, Eric Sexton, John Kiehl, Diffbot, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Mike Schneider, John Bauer, Jim Buckmaster, Juan Benet, Sunil Nagaraj, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi
Written by Derek Muller & Emily Zhang
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Animation by Ivy Tello & Mike Radjabov
Filmed by Derek Muller, Trenton Oliver, and Emily Zhang
Additional video/photos supplied by Pond5 & Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang









BunnLilah 10 ヶ月 前
They need to get that "most average person in the country" and have them live there just to 100% the collection
Hatsu 10 ヶ月 前
*freeze dried and made into a fine, light grey powder
Conk444 10 ヶ月 前
Then that wouldn’t be a very average place to live, would it?
Haifa A
Haifa A 10 ヶ月 前
@Conk444 ❤❤
Peeps and MooMoo
Peeps and MooMoo 10 ヶ月 前
Finally. My time has come
Kiesernation1 9 ヶ月 前
Or for court cases they’ll need a collection of “reasonable persons”
Samiur Khan
Samiur Khan 10 ヶ月 前
NIST also played a pivotal role in standardizing internet communication protocols. Without them, the Internet would be a much more chaotic and much slower
Farrel Rafi
Farrel Rafi 10 ヶ月 前
Ofc the one who knows it is Indian..
w 10 ヶ月 前
@Farrel Rafi and why is that
Jordan 10 ヶ月 前
Because the internet was such a chaotic place before national government overwatch?
Brent Fisher
Brent Fisher 10 ヶ月 前
@Jordan Give me an internet run by big government over an internet run by big media, any day.
Luke Knowles
Luke Knowles 10 ヶ月 前
The director of NIST seems to me to be one of the most approachable and likeable civil servants of whom I've ever had any exposure. You're a cool dude, sir! Your general state of apparent happiness is enviable.
bill ted
bill ted 10 ヶ月 前
He did seem too happy. Something is up with him
Nox S
Nox S 10 ヶ月 前
@bill ted Or.... or. He's a nerd who likes his job.
bill ted
bill ted 10 ヶ月 前
@Nox S Thats the vanilla theory , But something dosen't smell right
Sty Lo
Sty Lo 10 ヶ月 前
David Arria
David Arria 10 ヶ月 前
@Sty Lo i noticed that too
Roger Mouton
Roger Mouton 9 ヶ月 前
Just makes me think that, in general, there's so many people with really deep knowledge and skills that are working away constantly to keep our world safe and operational. It's very useful to remember how we're all so dependent on people like this.
TimorD 7 ヶ月 前
And then there are conspirancy theorists, which know basically nothing, but think they know everything, making the world much worse and chaotic place.
Rachel Fay
Rachel Fay 6 ヶ月 前
@TimorD I see you've read the other comment threads on this video too, lol
8pija 6 ヶ月 前
@TimorD Yeah, it seriously depresses me, the amount of people, especially older people who simply can’t fathom trusting others. I suppose it can be hard. Though as Roger said, it is comforting knowing that there are people who are out there who are extremely skilled, and do what they do for the common good.
Vash The StampCollector
​@8pija well I get most conspiracys are nuts... but you can't deny that many have become truth
Xenobio 7 ヶ月 前
As a scientist, I really appreciate this. These guys are the ubernerds working behind the scenes to make sure us ordinary nerds can have the tools to do our jobs.
ELSS 9 ヶ月 前
I’ve worked at NIST and many other research labs ( university, industry, etc). Scientists at NIST are the most meticulous by far.
mango 3 ヶ月 前
jack harbor
jack harbor 10 ヶ月 前
As a cybersecurity engineer, I cannot hype up NIST enough. They maintain this security database that contains all known software vulnerabilities in existence. Every major company, government and military is using this database to check for vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. Thank you NIST.
Areas Coda
Areas Coda 10 ヶ月 前
Come to mysore it is cybersecurity capital of india
G. Christianson
G. Christianson 10 ヶ月 前
@Areas Coda -- I buy my bath soap from the factory in Mysore. Great stuff!
Jack Strubbe
Jack Strubbe 10 ヶ月 前
@G. Christianson I love that soap. The only thing I use along with Dr. Bronner's castile hemp soaps.
never mind gamer
never mind gamer 10 ヶ月 前
@G. Christianson Mysore sandal soaps. It's pretty popular in India too. The smells lovely
The Crone
The Crone 10 ヶ月 前
I am not a science nerd or in any profession that depends on this kind of information and I was fascinated and amazed by this information. Thanks for making this available to your average little old lady. We are never too old to learn.
Random Name
Random Name 10 ヶ月 前
I love your name! Lol
karadan100 7 ヶ月 前
Yeah me too. My mind was blown. Really well put together video too. Veritasium is great.
Mert 10 ヶ月 前
I like how human civilization eventually came up with such a system. We frequently do not realize how amazing some of these quality of life things are since we're so used to it being a background part of our everyday lives (which is good)
1cont 10 ヶ月 前
I disagree. It merely complicates a system needlessly. Do you not know what is in peanut butter? Do you not know what a fish is?
Farrel Rafi
Farrel Rafi 10 ヶ月 前
@1cont tell that when u have liver cancer since ur peanut butter producer doesn't have a good standard for how much aflatoxin they had in their mixture of peanut butter
goodiesohhi 10 ヶ月 前
@1cont This is probably the dumbest and most ignorant comment I have seen in years. Did you not watch the video? 99% of the people who watch the video will realize how insanely important organizations like NIST are. You have to be the top 1% of bruh moment to not get this imo.
Syntania 10 ヶ月 前
I'm a medical lab tech, and I find NIST to be fascinating. We use standards (we call it QC) to make sure that our analyzers and methods are working properly and giving accurate results so that you get the care you need next time you're in a hospital. Our stuff's not cheap either.
thedoctorbowtie 16 日 前
Im a tech in a lab who makes QC materials for hematology chemistry and bodyfluid analyzers! Wonder if you use any of the controls we make!
A Partyhat
A Partyhat 6 日 前
Can you sell me some "analytical" flurazepam or midazolam Lol
mike b
mike b 7 ヶ月 前
I’m an analytical chemist, and anyone who works in any lab or in most manufacturing operations definitely knows and appreciates the vital importance of reference standards to calibrate our instruments and ‘test our tests.’ Now NIST isn’t the only game in town that provides SRMs, but you might consider them the ‘standard of standards.’
Jake Kaufmann
Jake Kaufmann 10 ヶ月 前
As someone in the analytical chemistry field, these standards are vital. It is how analytical labs are able to charge such a price for what seems to be them just analysing a sample.
ᙏɾ Uടടყ ಠ ͜ ಠ
Sounds bunch of BS. Disagree This guy thinks he clever and has big brain and should eduecate us all??? He sounds so condescending!!!
Michael 10 ヶ月 前
Lol that doesn't justify it's existence, only it's high cost.
Ive Harzing
Ive Harzing 10 ヶ月 前
@ᙏɾ Uടടყ ಠ ͜ ಠ What? No he doesn't sound condescending. Where did you get that from?
the watchful eye
the watchful eye 10 ヶ月 前
I am disgusted after watching this -- The only way a place like that get funding from the governent is that its not public knowledge of their bloated out of control budget/ spending. This place needs real oversight and would probably be shut down if omre stories like this aired. Nothing in that place or in the name of science, justifies the price tag of those materials or having what I imagine is equally overpriced staffers.
LeftHandPath Media
LeftHandPath Media 10 ヶ月 前
I've been following your channel for like 10 years and this right here is a holy grail video. I have had this EXACT question (the one this video answers) in my mind probably since the age of 5. My fascination with Nutrition Facts on boxes has been life-long and I have always wondered _how_ they get that data, and _how_ they _prove that it is exactly accurate to what I am eating_ . And now this video shows me that it's because of a thing called an *SRM* or, *Standard Reference Material* ! Genius.
Paul Simons
Paul Simons 7 ヶ月 前
Because this information didn't exist prior to the making of this video; during that period since you were 5, you could have at anytime. Looked it up yourself
Spimbles 11 日 前
5 year old me instantly connected those dots and knew in a child-ized way that the scientists just knew best because they did their homework. none of this information is surprising in any way shape or form
Ryan Bancroft
Ryan Bancroft 10 ヶ月 前
Oh my, I love this video so much. I have long been fascinated and humbled by the standardization efforts in the world. ISO, ANSI, and innumerable technical standards, all of which probably at some point in their development interact with the tangible products NIST produces to actually substantiate their standards. These are the mechanisms that make modern society function. They are foundational to the quality, reliability, and consistency of almost every single moment of our lives. It would be a dream to contribute to that.
noah bohl
noah bohl 9 ヶ月 前
I’m in my undergrad, and I worked on a project that was examining mercury deposition. One of the things that was done for the project was measuring certain samples we collected for mercury. Reference standards were used for that, we used soil standards. It was very interesting to learn about how important these standards are.
Jann Miko Ingel Rabago (Gaming channel)
As a pharmacy student, I find this quite fascinating as we would learn of formularies and drug standards - and finally witnessing such an organization like this exists really broadens my horizons for how important "standards" are to the practice of various professions even non-medical ones, really!
makeritualnoise 6 ヶ月 前
This is so interesting! I worked at an environmental testing lab and we did get standards from NIST but it was for our yearly test to maintain our certifications. Always super stressful to do those tests and hope you get the right answer because we don't have the certification he showed early on in the video. It's so neat to have a face and fuller understanding of a government body that put fear and terror in my heart lol.
Ryan Qualley
Ryan Qualley 10 ヶ月 前
I love how passionate that guy is about his job. You can tell he loves so much about what he does, and he is so excited about it and it makes me really happy to see.
Tucker Southard
Tucker Southard 10 ヶ月 前
I want his job so badly, but mostly because I desperately want to know what "typical diet" srm TASTES like.
Space 10 ヶ月 前
@Tucker Southard it tastes like matter
FlyveHest 10 ヶ月 前
A man that truly has found his shelf, I loved his passion also, and he seemed like a great boss
kevin landrini
kevin landrini 10 ヶ月 前
it's always great to see someone enjoying what they do isn't it? it's inspiring for sure
Daniel Z
Daniel Z 10 ヶ月 前
It's the salary... Not the job he's excited about.
TheeFidelCashflo 9 ヶ月 前
I work in a hospital lab and we use standards all the time to calibrate our test methods and make sure they're running properly. It's interesting to see how the companies that make their calibrators and control material have to calibrate their instruments using a standard from NIST.
Steve_11 12
Steve_11 12 9 ヶ月 前
The Charpy test is indeed an important standard test for steels. It measures the toughness, or resistance to brittle fracture, using a standard notched specimen. Materials prone to brittle fracture are to be avoided (or mitigated). Ductile fracture does not sound so good either, but if something is going to fail, ductile failure is safer and preferable as it requires exceeding design loads to achieve this. Brittle failure is of concern because it can occur at less than design load conditions. The typical units of measure are energy (absorbed) in Ft-Lbs for imperial unit system, Joules for SI units. Metals and most solid materials become more brittle as temperature is decreased. Higher values measure in this test are better than low values. Brittle high strength steel may yield single digit values, whereas low strength austentic stainless steel may yield 300+ Ft-Lbs, meaning it takes a lot more energy to break it in a notched impact specimen, even though it is not nearly as strong. Different metal alloys and heat treat conditions will have different temperatures at which they become brittle (Ductile to Brittle Transition Temperature, or DBTT). The temperature at which the test is performed is based on design standards and factors such as the end product's minimum design temperature, and the material's expected DBTT. If the material is produced correctly, it will meet or exceed certain impact energy values at a given temperature. If not, it may produce low values and indicate sub-standard material. The notch of the specimen, which is the designed point of failure is machined to precise dimensions for the purpose of consistency. I am a Metallurgical Engineer and thought I should delve into sharing my personal understanding of that part of the video.
GMAIL- caseyneistat30
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Scott Rackley
Scott Rackley 8 ヶ月 前
Charpy is just one way to measure one variable in a steel. Many times in tool steel you don't really care too much about that value, and are looking for wear resistance, such as drawing forms.
Dave Stier
Dave Stier 8 ヶ月 前
Tl;dr I'm naming my next pet Charpy tho
Steve_11 12
Steve_11 12 8 ヶ月 前
@Scott Rackley Good point. Toughness is not a required or necessary property in some materials and some applications. It is in structural and pressure containing products, but typically not in tooling. In fact in tool steels, low toughness often times is very acceptable in order to get the high strength or wear resistance that is required. Hence tool steels when they fail, tend to fail in a brittle manner.
Scott Rackley
Scott Rackley 8 ヶ月 前
@Steve_11 12 Yes, they turn to gravel and projectiles. Very sharp projectiles.
Bo Sundblad
Bo Sundblad 10 ヶ月 前
You have managed to make interesting what 3 years of undergraduate study in materials engineering could not
Abraham Sinta
Abraham Sinta 9 ヶ月 前
Deeply interesting! I love to read, listen and watch content like this. From my point of view, serves as an introduction to the behind the scenes of how things in the world are organized. This video in particular made me wonder whether the equivalents to institutions like this exist in other countries like Mexico or Japan.
Damned Son
Damned Son 9 ヶ月 前
Here in Germany we have DIN (German Institute for Normation / Standardization). The standardize a lot of stuff, from paper sizes (just think of DIN A4) to combustion fuel compositions. I don't know for sure if they have their own SRMs or if they use EN, ISO or NIST SRMs but they standardized a LOT of materials and regulatories.
Mongolito's King
Mongolito's King 8 ヶ月 前
We don't follow same standards but there are standard institutions everywhere. In Europe, we don't follow the FDA but we have our own organisations
Phil Perkins
Phil Perkins 10 ヶ月 前
Worked at A Military Calibration Lab (PMEL) as a scheduler. Opened my eyes to not only Standards but how temperature and humidity in the lab is so important. Never appreciated prior to that as a Mechanic how much work went into that sticker on the equipment.
alex carter
alex carter 10 ヶ月 前
Read it too fast and got "humility in the lab" ... hehe that too.
Joe Struthers
Joe Struthers 6 ヶ月 前
Takes like 6 months to get a torque wrench back from you guys
Sven Enterlein
Sven Enterlein 9 ヶ月 前
For several years, I worked right across the street from NIST in Gaithersburg, but I never knew that they had a warehouse in there! I certainly am aware of what they're doing in general, but was completely oblivious of this. Neat!
GMAIL- caseyneistat30
Congratulations you have been selected among our shortlisted winners for our Giveaway prize🏆🏆, kindly send a message to the telegram above name to claim prize 🎉🔝🔝
Mark Proulx
Mark Proulx 10 ヶ月 前
NIST is one of, if not the, most under appreciated of all US government agencies. I was lucky to be able to tour their metrology lab in Gathersburg, MD in 2007. It was just mind blowing.
N.Cognito 10 ヶ月 前
That had to be cool to see. It's mind blowing how accurately we can measure things and their work ensures we can do it accurately.
Chuck Taylor
Chuck Taylor 10 ヶ月 前
I could not disagree more
Kieran Kaempen
Kieran Kaempen 10 ヶ月 前
@Chuck Taylor Why?
PainflyErect 10 ヶ月 前
Do they just let people come look? I'd enjoy seeing that place.
marquizzo 10 ヶ月 前
@Kieran Kaempen Don't feed the trolls. They're just looking for unearned attention by saying the opposite of what you'd expect.
Lio Hawkes
Lio Hawkes 6 ヶ月 前
This is so interesting... i had an idea that something like that exists, because in the medical lab i work at we have to calibrate the machines using the test blood we get, so i figured a facility that produces 'the average ___ for calibration' exists and makes good money. but it's truly stunning to see how much test material there really is out there... even such small things as peach leaves. truly fascinating!!
முத்து கிருஷ்ணன் க
It's just mind-blowing and unimaginable how many efforts and things are to be done to make something get certified- it is as it should be. 🤯
Danny Kyle
Danny Kyle 9 ヶ月 前
As a metalurgical engineer, We use standard materials all the time. Typically, different grades of steel and iron to calibrate spectrometers for chemistry readings to verify the heat. Any sort of materials engineer uses some form of standard material, it's nice to see where they come from.
Ria 3 ヶ月 前
John 7 ヶ月 前
Strangely comforting to know this exists. A big government bunker full of things that define what those things are, by a standard. Some things cannot be standardized though :(
Magnussy Hirschfeld
Magnussy Hirschfeld 3 ヶ月 前
Be pretty boring if everything *could* be standardized
canigetuhhhhhhh 6 日 前
​@Magnussy Hirschfeldbut good to have standards uwu
Magnussy Hirschfeld
@canigetuhhhhhhh Having standards =/= being standardized. We have standards for people’s behaviour but we don’t expect everyone to act the same way. Also, what’s an “uwu?” Just a shot in the dark, but is it an onomatopoeia used by terminally online degenerates who believe that everything, regardless of its nature, should be veiled under a layer of cuteness much like how Japan puts on a socially cohesive facade to masquerade its underlying social problems? Or am I being too cynical, passive-aggressive, and “it’s not that deep bro?”
This is one of my favourite videos of yours, ever! Soooo interesting, and I learned things I never thought about that now gives me immense satisfaction just knowing. Thank you, Derek & the wonderful people at NIST!
Stefano Canossa
Stefano Canossa 10 ヶ月 前
Handling a 50 micron spherical ruby single crystal from NIST to calibrate X-ray diffraction equipment has been one of the scariest experiences I ever had as a researcher... I had nightmares about dropping it on the floor and losing it
Nidhish Shivashankar
Nidhish Shivashankar 10 ヶ月 前
I don’t even get how you handle something that small, I assume you have special tools to hold it but what’s stopping you from accidentally inhaling it lol
Ze Moose
Ze Moose 10 ヶ月 前
It's kind of like fumbling the at 1 yard line. Go Vikings! 😎
Fred Werza
Fred Werza 10 ヶ月 前
Umm isn't 50 microns less than the width of a human hair ?!?
hawk 7886
hawk 7886 10 ヶ月 前
@Ze Moose Honestly it's not even remotely close to goofing around with a ball on a field. If you're determined to stick with the football frame of reference, it would be like shooting a football through a cannon a few miles away, detonating a flashbang grenade in your face, and then trying to find the football while in a hurricane.
DOC_951 ヶ月 前
As soon as he said at 3:20 that a sample of something is used to set the standard, I immediately understood. This is amazing, and I can’t believe I never heard of NIST until now, even as a doctor. Very interesting and educational topic!
Woodbine Wargaming
Woodbine Wargaming 10 ヶ月 前
I literally drive by NIST like 8 times a day as a Paramedic in the area. Never knew what they actually did there.
Seth Walker
Seth Walker 3 ヶ月 前
I work in a polymer manufacturing laboratory and I cannot stress the importance of standards enough! Such an interesting clip!
Epic1B 10 ヶ月 前
Great video and I do not know if anyone proposed that here, but it would be really interesting to see HOW are they measuring exact values of elements or nutrients in various samples in another video :)
KT 9 ヶ月 前
Mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, chromatography etc
Mongolito's King
Mongolito's King 8 ヶ月 前
Using basic chemistry tests. Chromatography, spectrometry, spectrophotometry, reactions with Lowry, BCA and other kind of chemicals with standard curves, etc
Bessie Ish
Bessie Ish 10 ヶ月 前
How often are these things updated? Because dust in our houses now is probably very different from 90s dust based on different microplastics, products we use on our bodies and furniture etc.
mattg706 10 ヶ月 前
I was really surprised to hear him say "i dont know if i can tell you how old this is". For such an extensive process it seems like such a small yet important detail to leave out when dealing with a lot of these things.
Val Konar
Val Konar 10 ヶ月 前
Its updated occasionally. I'm not sure how they decide the expiration schedule but the website shows House Dust as revised in 2018 and expiring in 2025.
Robert Routhier
Robert Routhier 10 ヶ月 前
@mattg706 That was specifically for the peanut butter reference which would not need to be updated as peanuts are still peanuts.
gocopss 10 ヶ月 前
@mattg706 He may be talking about the particular jar. He also didn't specify that he wouldn't be able to find out how old it is. I did find it odd too and still do.
Brandon Ellis
Brandon Ellis 10 ヶ月 前
I work for a company that produces every type of analytical measurement instrument you could ever think of. We use NIST reference materials every day to qualify our instruments. We call them SARMs though, standard analytical reference materials. We use NIST steel spheres to calibrate our density measurement machines. They produce a great product, and are vital to industries like mine. Keep up the good work guys!
soy red
soy red 10 ヶ月 前
thanks for this. explains more than I got from the vid
ProphetAndLoss 10 ヶ月 前
I used to work in an FDA regulated lab for medical devices and NIST and NPL reference materials were critical to ensuring the quality of our output.
Soo Tuck Choong
Soo Tuck Choong 10 ヶ月 前
Millionaires and billionaires sure buy this peanut butter.
Mister Asterisco
Mister Asterisco 10 ヶ月 前
I feel like the lawyers are to thank for this xD
Sam 10 ヶ月 前
Gymbro: "Someone said SARMs"
Ak Kr
Ak Kr 10 ヶ月 前
I love this! I think in a different life, I would have liked to go into the sciences as a career. Unfortunately, I am terrible at math. Even a science/research that is seemingly "mundane" like this is very fascinating to me. :)
roleat 6 ヶ月 前
Look up visual maths
SelfMade 128
SelfMade 128 9 ヶ月 前
This is so amazing. Mundane but so perplexed at the same time. Kudos to the team at NIST & to you for bringing this to light.
Devin Daniels
Devin Daniels 12 日 前
Damn, I was aware of the important work NIST does, but apparently had no idea how many standards they maintain. That's amazing.
Alfred Morency
Alfred Morency 10 ヶ月 前
Many government agencies are less than worthless and people interact with them unwillingly(At gunpoint when you get right down to it.), but NIST is different. As a machinist, I've known about them for decades and regularly benefit from their work.
Barry Geistwhite
Barry Geistwhite 10 ヶ月 前
Agreed. By all means folks, have your gripes with the government but something like NIST could never come into being without a functioning, well-funded government.
Brent Fisher
Brent Fisher 10 ヶ月 前
This is what happens when you use persuasion. Standards get made and people work as a team.
Victoriens 3 ヶ月 前
Usually when people say something along the lines of "government bad," I've come to find that they actually don't understand the role or importance of most of the government agencies they dismiss.
AA7YA 6 ヶ月 前
This video confirms what I've recently learned that NIST touches every aspect of our lives, from the accuracy of your metric ruler to the accuracy of the compounds that go into a jar of peanut butter. I first learned about NIST in 1977 (known back then as the National Bureau of Standards) when I was about 7 years old, and at the time, I figured all they did all day was make sure clocks ran accurate right down to the nanosecond.
Inverted Flow
Inverted Flow 10 ヶ月 前
It's amazing how complex our world is and how we depend on systems that 99.9999% of us have no idea exist and can't possible be thankful for. Thanks for giving me this knowledge and sharing such important research with the world Derek. :)
Ann Takamaki
Ann Takamaki 10 ヶ月 前
Yeah, that is pretty interesting. Even something you are an expert in is based on a totally different thing you might have not much idea about. Eg- a software developer might not have great knowledge on how computers are working behind the scenes, meanwhile a computer engineer will. These computer engineers might not fully understand how the materials they use (semiconductors) work but the material scientist will. This is just one example. Even for something less ‘hi tech’ there is so much that is done by others we don’t understand fully how they work, we just know what it does and how to use it. This is good so different people can become experts in different areas via specialisation.
Inverted Flow
Inverted Flow 10 ヶ月 前
@Ann Takamaki As a software dev myself, I can relate :)
Rob Woodring
Rob Woodring 10 ヶ月 前
@Ann Takamaki reminds me of a stand up comedy bit about how dumb the avg person is. "We're not smart. We just use stuff made by smart people". The big punchline was "if I sent you into the woods with a hatchet and a lighter, how many years till you could send me an email?"
Agentwc1945 10 ヶ月 前
It's terryfying
J Miller
J Miller 10 ヶ月 前
Yep - my father is a soil chemist that runs quality control programs for soil testing labs. There's way more of these labs than you think, because they're used by farmers to determine what kind of fertilizer to put on their fields (among many other things). What's fascinating is that because the QC program is so large, the excess soil is highly desirable by labs to use as reference and calibration material for equipment. And that's how he ended up selling buckets of dirt internationally.
Balázs Dusek
Balázs Dusek 10 ヶ月 前
I sometimes have this half philosophical thought-half irrational fear that nothing is ever reproducible but this kinda changes that. pretty cool
bill ted
bill ted 10 ヶ月 前
Remember the white paper he showed . It said even NIST has a margin of error.
goodiesohhi 10 ヶ月 前
@bill ted Everything has a margin of error. We cannot get down to a discrete level of detail. We don't need to though. Significant Digits exist for a reason. It only needs to be good enough.
bill ted
bill ted 10 ヶ月 前
@goodiesohhi I agree. But those are probably fighting words down over at NIST. They most likely go past significant and take pride in doing it.
Brian Holmes
Brian Holmes 10 ヶ月 前
I knew that the NIST was a thing, but I didn't know how they provided the information to companies and researchers. This is so interesting.
Rocket Science Institute, Inc
Thank you for showing science in action with exceptional production values, superior dialogues, excellent editing, and great videography. You've created and produced one of the world's best introductions to the essentials of science, engineering, and technology. Well-written, well-produced: 5-star one and all, so far. Thank you! PS: is there a National Bureau of Standards offical "crap-load" measurement, as described? Is that a unit of domestic waste volume or mass? Perhaps it's related to the classic "RCH" measurement of sub-millimeter distances by rocket technicans (RCH = Red C_ _ t Hair, a unit of measurement)
Terpenesteve 10 ヶ月 前
What an episode... N.I.S.T is freaking awesome!!!! absolutely mind blown how accurate their Standards are. Its amazing!!!! Great video as always VT!!!!
David Brown
David Brown 7 ヶ月 前
I had a good chuckle when I watched this episode. In the 90's the laboratory I worked at ordered a sample of the reference limestone from the NIST. Some where along the way the one unit turned in to many. All total there was about 1/2 a cubic metre of boxes in the middle of the lab floor. We returned most of the reference limestone. A short time later I received a phone call stating that reference limestone could not be ship because it was deemed hazardous material as it had "lime" in it.
Salex 10 ヶ月 前
I'm a pharmacist and always ensured my students knew that the temperature monitoring devices (basically a thermometer) for the refrigerator/freezer that holds medications must have a certificate of calibration tracing its accuracy back to NIST, as well as ensuring they knew those devices do in fact "expire" and should be re-calibrated or, more practically, replaced. Great video to get to see the rest of NIST's world!
Bibs P
Bibs P 10 ヶ月 前
Even weights need to be checked if you're working within fine enough tolerances. It gets even wierder with timing stuff, as thats influenced by the speed its moving. A clock has to be perfectly accurate in a satellite for a gps to work, but they also lose 7 millionths of a second per day or something just because its moving faster.
Charity 10 ヶ月 前
Girl i am so glad i reread that you said PHARMACIST and THOSE students lmao i was about to say i definitely failed that class! 😂😂😂😂
Golden Hate
Golden Hate 10 ヶ月 前
@Bibs P Its more the fact its further out of earths gravitational field than the speed. The %difference of gravity is more significant than the %difference of the speed of light. But yes, they do lose time and that causes errors in the positioning of the satellite and slowly over time will cause the satellite to give wrong coordinates to a gps if not recalibrated.
Random Name
Random Name 10 ヶ月 前
@Golden Hate Space-Time & Gravity are so mind blowing. Simulation theory is getting really interesting too.
Bibs P
Bibs P 10 ヶ月 前
@Random Name eh, simulation theory to me is more a philosophical question. I've not really seen anything beyond hypothesising that the planc length and speed of light might be some.sort of processor limit, but it's not convinced me really. As the guy said above correctly said though, it's more the gravity, but yeah it's fascinating. Crazy out there
Jonas 8 ヶ月 前
Another important question would is: How do they ensure the products dont degrade over time? Some contents like vitamins are really volatile. Also: Over time the composition of things like house dust etc. changes as we use different materials at home (new types of plastic, etc.)
Beardiemom 6 ヶ月 前
It depends on the vitamins and for most vitamins, there are more and less shelf-stable compounds, so I'd assume they use more stable compounds and likely do have expiration dates on less shelf-stable items. As for things like the house dust, those are probably dated by year, if not month and year and they likely have more than one version. Not to forget that those samples aren't being used directly to identify problem areas, but are only made to calibrate the machines that are used to analyse samples, so they don't necessarily need to contain every potential contaminate. If there are a few different plastics in the house dust calibration sample, that should give a good reference as to whether the machines are able to detect carbon-hydrogen-polymers. Even if it isn't the exact plastic that was found in the sample from NIST, all plastics are essentially made from the same materials.
g0d5m15t4k3 5 ヶ月 前
They definitely have storage directions. Like the animal and tissue samples in the liquid nitrogen. Ya can't just pop that in your fridge when you get home.
Alice Noele
Alice Noele 4 ヶ月 前
Awesome video! The domestic sludge reminded me of when my Environmental Science class went on a field trip to a waste treatment facility. It was actually really interesting and my anosmia came in handy too lol!
Graham Webb
Graham Webb 8 ヶ月 前
Imagine how much of a breakthrough it would be if this facility was discovered in the future where they may not know about us much
Raindrop Works
Raindrop Works 10 ヶ月 前
When I was in the military, I used to work in calibration (AFSC 2P0!!!) so I knew a lot about the NIST tracability for our standards ... but all this stuff was pretty damn neat to see, and a side I never knew about.
The Desert Polar Bear
I was TMDE in the Marine Corps for a few years, and this was something I learned existed. National Standards and why we have them. Pretty interesting stuff; great video!!
Eliezer Stefanello
Eliezer Stefanello 10 ヶ月 前
I work in an analytical lab here in Brazil and I use a lot of this peanut butter reference material as a quality control for mycotoxins, fatty acids and metal ions in food. It smells so good though! And thanks a lot for these people that work at NIST and make this reference materials. You guys rock!
Autumn 10 ヶ月 前
Have you ever tried to taste it?
Unified Theory of Life
Except for the 9/11 NIST report, which made such dramatic changes to the structural properties of concrete and steel that, were they true, large swaths of the frozen north would be unable to build structures taller than 3 stories. I wonder if this is the guy that approved the expansion rates of steel and concrete under heat for the 9/11 NIST report?
TMKTSR 10 ヶ月 前
@Unified Theory of Life there are no high rises in the “frozen north” that you speak of that even closely reaches the height that the trade centres did lmfao
Unified Theory of Life
​@TMKTSR The number is 3 floors - and the north is anything that freezes in the winter. NIST 9/11 report changed the known expansion rate of steel and concrete by so much that you could not buld a 4 story building in Chicago, because the 4th floor would need to be steel, and the steel and concrete apparantly separate under office fire heat, so imagine what 100 degrees the other direction (0F) does. It makes Chicago a one stop light town
Bobson Dugnutt
Bobson Dugnutt 10 ヶ月 前
​@Unified Theory of Life reality: a building collapses due to a +500F delta you: hOW CAn BuilDInGs EvEn WiThSTanD a -100F DeLTa TheN? Genius. Besides, contraction vs expansion are different. Materials have different strength in tension vs compression. And when looking at a structure as a whole, crushing the structure vs tearing it apart is pretty different.
kennedy796 10 ヶ月 前
I think this video is just the tip of the iceberg. Often standardization requires some of the best and brightest minds, which means the knowledge contained in that building is so immense, it would be incredible
GetMoGaming 6 ヶ月 前
I often wondered how they calibrate stuff and assumed they must have a standard reference system. Yet another curiosity resolved by Derek! Thanks dude!
g0d5m15t4k3 5 ヶ月 前
You've heard of standard weights and measurements? NIST took that idea and just *ran* with it.
çi zen
çi zen 9 ヶ月 前
This is like a Human Archive. Archeologists are going to find this place in the future and have a mindfuck trying to figure out what the area was used for.
Jem Apple
Jem Apple 7 ヶ月 前
Nah whatever societies exist in the future would still have to have their own versions of Nist just like basically every country on earth does lol they’d take 1 look & recognise it as a standardisation facility
Xenobio 7 ヶ月 前
Nah they won't have a mindfuck, these people have every single little piece of thing labelled and cross-referenced with exhaustive docmentation as to what it's for, that's the whole point of this institute.
Zach 6 ヶ月 前
@Xenobio paper doesn’t survive. Steel and other metallic substances do…
What You Can Do
What You Can Do 10 ヶ月 前
I always wondered how society got by without places like this, and apparently it turns out they do exist and they're exactly what you'd imagine. A bunch of engineers standing around and saying, "This is standard."
deadpuddle86 10 ヶ月 前
The answer is, the world got along absolutely fine, if not better since there was no resources wasted
canigetuhhhhhhh 6 日 前
​@deadpuddle86not really a nuanced or scientific take
FUTR From Under The Rock
Amazing. Standards of units and measure protocols turned into to an interesting video. I really hope you get your own syndicated TV series.
Edwin Glenn
Edwin Glenn 10 ヶ月 前
I used to work as a chemist in a materials testing lab, and we used NIST metallic standards constantly. Our machine shop even machined a lot of those charpy standards for NIST!
Rev 10 ヶ月 前
I didn't quite understand the Charpy test: What use is it? Don't they just measure the force required to break that Charpy? How does that measure anything from the manufactured steel? Or is the Charpy made from the steelmill's steel?
ThugPug43 10 ヶ月 前
@Rev you have some made from your steel and their steel has all the information known so it lets you test your machine .
penguins forall
penguins forall 10 ヶ月 前
@Rev It's made from BOTH. You run the test twice as to test your own test. That's what the word calibration means.
Sapan Singh
Sapan Singh 10 ヶ月 前
@Revin simple word, that Charpy sample is so homogeneous and properly made (according to ISO 148 part-1) that all the Charpy samples prepared in a lot are having almost same results. So if u test one sample and have the result, say 40 joules, and the actual value of the Charpy sample (which is known to these NIST guys, coz they tested it before) is 39 joules, then by statistical analysis it can be found out how perfect your machine is calculating the impact value. Basically comparing apple with another known apple 😂
Rev 10 ヶ月 前
@ThugPug43 Oh I see, so they calculate the baseline from the standardized one and then know their steel's strength. If I wasn't so dumb I guess I could have guessed that by the name "reference material" alone - thank you for enlightening me, that was not my brightest moment :)
There is beauty in this world
This is really interesting. How very important this is. Just amazing. Thank you to everyone working so hard at NIST.
soup 4 ヶ月 前
NIST is what most people don't know about, but who keep our daily lives and basics in touch and up to date, God bless them!
Moisés Berducido
Moisés Berducido 10 ヶ月 前
Yeah, I work in water's quality control, and I use various quality control standards: heavy metals, color standard, anions, certificated mass weights... Almost all of them are trazable to NIST and/or german standards. Also, I worked as salesman on a chemical distribution company, and I sold and/or cuote some NIST standards. Thanks very much NIST for your hard work.
Axelsalive95 15 日 前
I love Steve Choquette. He seems to genuinely love his job. Both how it generates a profit, but also how it benefits the world. He's also very much aware of how ridiculous the job appears at first glance. He's not defensive. He embraces the absurdity. At the end of the video, when asked how much human feces was collected to be powered and measured, he simply said, "a crap load." Good stuff.
B. Calvin Saul
B. Calvin Saul 8 ヶ月 前
I've seen you using the molecular modeling objects, but could not figure out what they were called or where to find them. Snatoms! And you invented them! So cool...
Pravin Kumar
Pravin Kumar 10 ヶ月 前
As someone working in the steel industry, I can vouch for the importance of the steel standard reference material.
Mandy B
Mandy B 10 ヶ月 前
My dad was a steelworker for about 40 years. They sent him to get qualified as a metallurgist before taking up his head foreman role. It's a fascinating subject! As a one-time geology student, I found the identification of the ores to be really interesting. Maybe his own real interest in the subject is where my son got his inbuilt fascination for chemistry (he's now a PhD medical biochemist! He's way, _way_ smarter than me lol!).
Tracy Followell
Tracy Followell 10 ヶ月 前
@Mandy B If your child is better and smarter than you you did a fantastic job!
WernerBKerner 10 ヶ月 前
@Tracy Followell I disagree. Raising smarter chlidren won't change a thing in the world. Raising kinder children MIGHT improve the world.
Clothes 10 ヶ月 前
@WernerBKerner Why not both?
Mike Wurlitzer
Mike Wurlitzer 10 ヶ月 前
Then the steel industry should fund it not the taxpayer who must fund a government which has run us $30+ Trillion in debt.
Karrrz 10 ヶ月 前
NIST helps me on a daily basis just with its libraries for MS. it's great it exists
Ray D Greenwald
Ray D Greenwald 4 ヶ月 前
You know I’ve always wondered how these standard controls are made
Kleyser 8 ヶ月 前
That’s so interesting. I didn’t know that companies had to check simple things thoroughly.
Harrison Tasoff
Harrison Tasoff 9 ヶ月 前
Thanks so much for highlighting NIST!!! Standardization is so important and under appreciated!
good boi
good boi 10 ヶ月 前
I love how literal the names are. No companies no nicknames just "peanut butter", "blueberry", "meat hamogenate"
Nanuk Ipiktok
Nanuk Ipiktok 10 ヶ月 前
There is a brand that sells named literally as the article itself. Like Water would be named "Water". I think you would like this company and its products lol. It's called No Name and is located in Canada.
Anon Nopleb
Anon Nopleb 10 ヶ月 前
@Nanuk Ipiktok So, SRMs are kind of the premium products of No Name?
electrogestapo 10 ヶ月 前
It's like walking into a grocery store in a world that has marketing outlawed.
Darksunrise 10 ヶ月 前
@electrogestapo I could see that as a good thing, sometimes.
Gson 10 ヶ月 前
Dr. Steve is very likable and passionate about his job.
Ken Njuguna
Ken Njuguna 8 ヶ月 前
Thank you for this. I literally had no idea about NIST and the awesome stuff they are doing
Essel Sid
Essel Sid 5 ヶ月 前
The fact that this kind of thing exists and functions just freakin blew my mind
Oscar Zolcinski
Oscar Zolcinski 8 ヶ月 前
I'm curious how many people work there. You'd think it would require a whole range of experts from different fields to standardize such a variety of materials. Perhaps it's not as difficult as it seems in many cases but I bet they have different people for things like industrial materials and microbiology for example. Fascinating
Javier Revello Sánchez
I think this might be your most fascinating video to date. Makes one want to write a story about it. Kudos.
Not Yet
Not Yet 10 ヶ月 前
I learned two things today. 1. These people's work is definitely underrated. Now I understand how some foods and products can exist for years and taste the same. Consistency is key and these people are definitely helping with that. 2. I'm never eating peanut butter anymore. 😅 Never again.
Lasty Hopper
Lasty Hopper 10 ヶ月 前
would you still eat peanut though?
M V 10 ヶ月 前
Why aren't you eating peanut butter anymore?
ncal 10 ヶ月 前
@M V probably the calorie content
Emma Cornejo
Emma Cornejo 10 ヶ月 前
Crispy Pancetta
Crispy Pancetta 10 ヶ月 前
NIST is such a good example of government providing services that benefit society as a whole. We undoubtedly get excellent value for money from NIST.
Hklbrries 6 ヶ月 前
Fascinating! Also: I love Nerds! And the Scientist/Videographer is a hoot. Love his smile as he’s filming and asking questions.
Sorrelhas 4 ヶ月 前
SRM-420 Object Class: Safe Special Containment Procedures: 1 210ml (7,101oz) glass cylindrical container, with a screw on lid made of Polyethylene Terephthalate (common plastic), to be stored inside a 40cm X 20cm X 50cm drawer in the NIST warehouse section. Description: Subject is a substance of paste-like consistency, comprised primarily of roasted ground peanuts, sugar, salt, oil and [DATA EXPUNGED]. Subject is considered edible (though sample in containment is not meant for human consumption), although care is to be taken during production, as peanuts can contain aflatoxin, which has been noted to be a potent [REDACTED] at high concentrations.
Bintang Diwasjati
Bintang Diwasjati 10 ヶ月 前
mindblowing! much like how measurement units like metric and imperial were based on representative items in the past, SRMs are measurement units for everyday items
Arne 10 ヶ月 前
I remember describing the multi-stage process to calibrate satellite instruments - from the actual physical measurable values up to having a calibrated evaluation of the satellite-measured gases in the atmosphere. It’s pretty awesome.
Arne 10 ヶ月 前
@officialveritasium688 If you want details, see chapter 2.2 in doi 10.5445/IR/1000052678 - with references to the more detailed descriptions. Quote from it: This reference air is measured by freezing out CO2 and N2 from the air and measuring their temperature, expansion and pressure under heating to calculate the absolute concentration using physical expansion coefficients as described by Zhao et al. (1997)
Snek 10 ヶ月 前
As someone who poops, I can vouch for the importance of a standard poop sample
Brian Arbenz
Brian Arbenz 10 ヶ月 前
I poop too! We're part of the brotherhood.
Nate O'Brien
Nate O'Brien 10 ヶ月 前
Here here. I also poop, and have many times contributed my part to the great, strained effort to achieve new levels of poop standardization.
Anmol Agrawal
Anmol Agrawal 10 ヶ月 前
Woah, such coincidences, I happen to poop as well!
hi 10 ヶ月 前
@Anmol Agrawal bro everyone does
hi 10 ヶ月 前
@Nate O'Brien dude everyone poops
EsculentEvil 10 ヶ月 前
I've been wondering this about the Nutrition labels for years; thank you for covering it!
Ryan Slattery
Ryan Slattery 10 ヶ月 前
As someone that works in PMEL in the Air Force, this was very gratifying to see one of the government agencies we compare standards with get a highlight!
Coleman 10 ヶ月 前
Knew I would find atleast one of us in the comments.
Ryan Slattery
Ryan Slattery 10 ヶ月 前
@Coleman I'm shocked I'm the first one to be honest.
nzlemming 10 ヶ月 前
These guys are far too cheerful about their work! Excellent vid. It's something you never think about but it must be there, in hindsight.
Alex K
Alex K 13 日 前
Well this answered a years-old question I've always had about nutrition standards. Glad I found this randomly in my feed.
Sara C
Sara C 4 ヶ月 前
As a non-American (British, so not much difference in terms of diet), I wonder how comparable domestic sludge is to a country with a vastly different diet, eg Mediterranean or an African country. In which case, I wondered if they have their own institute of standards with their own domestic sludge? I guess I'm asking what the impact of the American NIST is on international standards? A particularly fascinating video.
Keys for Wealth
Keys for Wealth 10 ヶ月 前
„Our world works because unbeknown to most of us, there is a small army of people diligently checking that what is out there aligns with the standards.” That is a perfect summary :)
melhupby 10 ヶ月 前
Sounds like a summary for the SCP Foundation.
Richard Penn
Richard Penn 10 ヶ月 前
@melhupby 100
Covone Di Grano
Covone Di Grano 10 ヶ月 前
The world would work fine even without them. Has worked for million of years in fact...
Dewi Lew
Dewi Lew 10 ヶ月 前
@Covone Di Grano but not the world as we know it. That was the point.
Karen Lynne
Karen Lynne 7 ヶ月 前
This is the weirdest but totally makes sense thing I've learned YTD. Thank you!
BigMon 10 ヶ月 前
What I find amazing about these videos is how US government agencies affect not just the lives of Americans but people around the world. From NASA to NIST to the CDC, etc.. it's truly amazing how these agencies affect people around the world directly or indirectly.
GMAIL- caseyneistat30
*🔝🔝🔝Congratulations you have been selected among our lucky winners 🏆🏆 kindly send a message to the telegram above name to claim prize now
When I see this much dedication, it just proves that we humans can put the right kind of efforts into protecting our planet
Jamicaman516 10 ヶ月 前
A great example of one of the millions of the things the government does, that no one in the public thinks about but is critical for our daily life's.
Jamicaman516 2 ヶ月 前
@wilhelmeley6617 Why? If we privatize it the cost of businesses, of all sizes, will go up for no other reason to turn a profit. Not everything gets "better" when we put it in the hands of business.
Jamicaman516 2 ヶ月 前
@wilhelmeley6617 no that's looking at the many times people have privatized things that government did, and instead of them getting better they got worse since to make money was not really possible. Not everything is capable of being turned into a money making venture and thats a good thing.
John F
John F 8 ヶ月 前
This was all very interesting, but now I just want to know how long the mixing period is for each standard unit. Is the mixing period for house hold dust the same as peanut butter? I'm assuming there is some sort of standard with the viscosity of each material. What other secrets are they hiding in these srms?
Street Freaks Racing Videos
Working in the lab of a sewage treatment plant, was interesting for a while, but then became insanely boring, but one neat thing was the fact that the more accurate our scales were, and also our ability to dispense the necessary items for testing, the smaller the test sample could be, and therefore the less of those necessary items would be used as well. Our scale was so accurate that we could weight our fingerprints. We would have elementary school kids tour the plant from time to time, and we would pick one to pickup a beaker while we turned our back, then we could correctly tell them how many fingers they used to pick it up with. We did have to instruct them to use the pads of their fingers not the tips to make it fair, but as long as they played fair, we had a 100% correct “guess”, and the kids absolutely loved it. We also typically picked a kid that was somewhat socially awkward, which made them the big shot hoping to help them socially.
Rice&beans &rock&roll
Rice&beans &rock&roll 10 ヶ月 前
This is so cool!
ozdoits 10 ヶ月 前
Lindbo Knife & Tool
Lindbo Knife & Tool 10 ヶ月 前
This guy gets it ^
Toucan 10 ヶ月 前
@Lindbo Knife & Tool Hey, how's Brian doing now?
Lindbo Knife & Tool
Lindbo Knife & Tool 10 ヶ月 前
@Toucan Brian’s great other than idk who that is
Charlie Harris
Charlie Harris 7 ヶ月 前
House dust from the early 90’s is very different from house dust today. The number of household electronics has greatly increased, Central air systems are now common and kids don’t play outside all day anymore, for the most part. That’s just to name a few of the things that have changed since the early 90’s. All that is just to say, samples from decades ago no longer represents the standard and need to be updated regularly.
SinBeføreGød 10 ヶ月 前
It's oddly satisfying to know that this amount of science, analysis and 'know how' actually exists. I often question myself and everything, that leads me to wonder what 'everything' is in everything... lolol
Charles Fisher
Charles Fisher 7 ヶ月 前
This is pure genius. They basically originate starting points and sell to companies that probably have no choice but have proof of propper levels due to govenment regulation
Clown World
Clown World 10 ヶ月 前
Genuinely never knew any of this existed and due to my line of work I’m very familiar with a lot of federal agencies in the US (mainly the law enforcement and regulation ones)