Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Metrology, the science of measurement

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Md. Abu Abdullah :
The theme for World Metrology Day 2018 is Constant evolution of the International System of Units. This theme was chosen because in November 2018, the General Conference on Weights and Measures is expected to agree one of the largest changes to the International System of Units (the SI) since its inception. The proposed changes are based on the results of research into new measurement methods that have used quantum phenomena as the basis for standards that are fundamental.  The SI will be based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics and have the advantage of being able to embrace further improvements in measurement science and technology to meet the needs of future users for many years to come.
Indeed more widely metrology, the science of measurement, plays a central role in scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, in improving the quality of life and in protecting the global environment.
World Metrology Day is an annual celebration of the signature of the Metre Convention on 20 May 1875 by representatives of seventeen nations. The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications. The original aim of the Metre Convention - the world-wide uniformity of measurement - remains as important today as it was in 1875.
Martin Milton, Director of the BIPM said in a message on the occasion," The International System of Units (SI) is the accepted set of units for all applications of measurement worldwide. Since it was first given the name SI nearly 60 years ago, improvements have been agreed to it whenever it has been possible to exploit advances in measurement technologies to address new requirements.
For over 200 years, a collective ambition for the "metric system" has been to provide universality of access to the agreed basis for worldwide measurements. The definitions expected to be agreed in November will be a further step towards this goal. They are based on the results of research into new measurement methods that have used quantum phenomena as the basis for standards that are fundamental. Great attention has been paid to ensure that these new definitions will be compatible with the current ones at the time the change is implemented. The changes will be unnoticeable to all but the most demanding users."
In a separate message ,Stephen Patoray, Director of the BIML mention," This evolution is a culmination of many years of work by a large number of dedicated metrologists to determine the best method of redefining several of the base SI units. This revision will not directly impact legal metrology, since users will be able to obtain traceability to the revised SI from the same sources used at present. However, it does mean that there will be a change in the way we define certain units of measurement and, in some cases, how traceability may ultimately be established.
The revised SI will be entirely based on constants of nature. While this may seem to be a big change, it has in fact already happened several times in the recent past, when both the second (1967/68) and the metre (1983) were redefined from being based on the earth's movement and size to being based on atomic and electromagnetic constants.
The significance in this case is that certain concepts that were taught to most of us at school and which were up to now almost carved in stone, may now change. The platinum-iridium (Pt-Ir) prototype that is kept under three locks in a vault near Paris, will go into partial retirement after 137 years of service."
Each year World Metrology Day is organized and celebrated jointly by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) with the participation of the national organizations responsible for metrology. This day is an annual event during which more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives.
Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution BSTI join the international community in commemorating World Metrology Day on 20 May under the theme: Constant evolution of International System of Units.
Metrology, the science of measurement is at the core of the National Quality Infrastructure, being at the centre of the national measurement system. Every process or service, for which a decision has to be made based on a measurement, must be supported by a sound metrology infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Metrology wing of BSTI, plays an important role in ensuring that credible measurements standards are in place to service the food, transport industry, wholesale and retail sector and medical industry.
In the retail sector, the BSTI, inspects all pre-packaged goods and weighing scales in the supermarkets to ensure they comply with the required quantities declared, this ensures that Bangladesh consumers have peace of mind that pre-packages contain the correct quantities.
As the custodian of standards and Measurement, BSTI hosted a workshop , Television talk show, published special supplement in the newspaper and decorated along the roadside with colourfu posters. This workshop informed the industry and science community on the advancements in measuring techniques happening in scientific work and innovation to ensure the reliability of measurements, align and harmonize measurement requirements worldwide.

(Writer is a former Additional Secretary)

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