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Metrology

Getting the measure of measurement

24 May 2018

“It’s not maths that makes physics a science. It’s the fact that you measure things,” says Michael de Podesta in this week’s Physics World Weekly podcast. De Podesta is in conversation with Physics World’s Anna Demming who visited the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) ahead of World Metrology Day, which took place on 20 May.

Later this year, the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) will vote for new definitions for some of the fundamental units of measurement. That includes the kilogram, which is currently defined by a reference mass kept at a secure location in the outskirts of Paris. Demming investigates these key developments in metrology – the science of measurement.

While at NPL, Demming meets a range of other scientists whose research is contributing to diverse fields. She discovers the techniques being used to characterise the properties of graphene, a process needed to define standards within this emerging technology area. She also learns how NPL researchers are contributing to medical physics and improving the performance of fuel cells.

As usual, there is also a round up of some of the other key stories making the headlines this week on the Physics World website.

If you enjoy the podcast then you can subscribe via iTunes or your chosen podcast service. Join us again for another instalment next week. In the meantime, you can also listen to our longstanding monthly podcast, Physics World Stories.

 

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