Skip to Content

Beryl Lieff Benderly

Finding Freedom and Resources in Federal Service

Where can a scientist in his early 30s make major advances in a cutting-edge field while enjoying stimulating colleagues, intellectual freedom, and the resources to take risks?  According to a short article in the print Metro section of today’s Washington Post, as well as a longer online piece, the answer is the federal government, specifically the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Today the Federal Faces column, which highlights federal government
workers doing outstanding things in a wide range of fields, focuses on
Jacob M. Taylor, a 34-year-old Ph.D. physicist who has worked at NIST
since 2009 and “made pioneering scientific discoveries that could lead
to significant advances in health care, communications, computing and
technology,” according to the print article.  Taylor, the article
explains, is “taking magnetic resonance imaging down to nano scale” and
also “experimenting with another magnetic imaging process that works
with increased speed and sensitivity.”

“Although opportunities
exist in academia and private industry,” the article continues, “working
at the institute provides one of the best environments to attack such
challenges and allows scientists to take long views on these types of

“Taylor said that NIST provides him the resources he
needs, a stimulating environment and the freedom to take risks, think
boldly and work on issues that can have a big impact for technology and
the nation,” the online piece says.   “It’s a thrill to do something
that no one has dreamed up or done before,” says Taylor, quoted online.

If you’ve got some big, bold ideas, maybe Uncle Sam also needs you.