The US Senate recently confirmed Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher as the 14th director of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by unanimous consent. Gallagher has worked at NIST since 1993 as a scientist and laboratory director. In his current position as deputy director, he has carried out the functions of the director since September 2008. President Obama nominated Gallagher to his new post on Sept. 10, 2009. Gallagher has a PhD in physics from the University of Pittsburgh. He taught high school math and science for a year after receiving his BA in physics and philosophy from Benedictine College. Gallagher came to the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) in 1993 to pursue research in neutron and x-ray instrumentation, and accompanying studies of the properties of technologically important “soft” materials such as polymers, liquids and gels. In 2000, Gallagher was a NIST agency representative for the White House National Science and Technology Council and became active in US policy for scientific user facilities. At the Office of Science and Technology Policy, he served as chair of the Interagency Working Group on neutron and light source facilities. In 2004, he became director of the NCNR, a neutron research facility that is one of the most heavily used of its type in the nation. In 2006, he was awarded the Department of Commerce’s highest award, the Gold Medal, in recognition of this work.