The National Measurement System – An Overview

Metrology is the science of measurement used for the coordination of activities related to measurement of objects. It defines a general understanding of how various objects are measured. Modern metrology has its origins in the French Revolution’s social-political motivation to standardise measurements in France, when the first length standard taken from an independent natural source was proposed by an unknown person.

The first metrologists were, mainly, surveyors. They determined the dimensions of mountains and other terrestrial objects, based on their survey results and their knowledge of the properties of the substance concerned. Over the period of time, various other people contributed to the development of metrology, especially those whose names are quite familiar to us today. These were Peter Schlemthaler (a Dutch master), Robert Hooke (a British civil servant), Henry Banks (a Scottish surveyor) and Oliver Cromwell (a Saxon officer).

In the seventeenth century, Thomas Jefferson, one of the US President’s economic advisors and also a pharmacist, came up with the metric system, which eventually became the international standard measurement system. At the start of the nineteenth century, the metrology movements in Great Britain and the European nations were in a state of partial development. These were, however, soon to gain momentum as new developments took place in textile technology, enabling better measurement of weights and measures. Also, with the development of the automobile industry, improved engineering measurements permitted better quality control of measurements.

As mentioned earlier, metrology developed as a science concerned with the measurement of the quantities of substances, especially those involved in trade such as grains, textiles, metals, stones, etc., with the use of measuring devices like weighing rods, weighing stones or measuring drums, etc. Initially, these methods were based on the principal that the weight of an object is a measure of its size, while that of a volume is a measure of its weight and density or of its specific gravity. However, with the progress of time, new techniques for measuring the quantities changed the way in which these were measured and also changed the terminology of the instruments. It was then that ‘Units’ came into use which signified different things in metrology.

A number of international organizations have been set up to coordinate and develop norms for the certification of the different kinds of measurements used in the metrology industry. Among these, the International Bureau of Standards (BIOS) of United States and the United Kingdom is responsible for developing sets of national benchmarks for different kinds of measurements. They maintain separate standards for each of the domains in which the metrology industry is operational. Some of the different measurements involved in the metrology industry are those of Length, Depth, Area, Mass, Space Measurement, Specific Gravity, Specific Heat and Specific Power, relative Acceleration, Coefficient of Torque, Stress at Fixed Points, and others.

In order to become a qualified and competent neurologist, one needs to undergo specialized training at various colleges and universities or participate in some short programs offered by some national institutions. During the training, he/she learns how to read the data given and how to interpret it, how to measure the dimensions of the object properly, how to measure the dimensions accurately and how to evaluate the performance of the equipment or the machines being used for metrology. After the training, one needs to pass the certification exam offered by some of the accreditation bodies of metrology. These examinations are nationally recognized as reference materials for the professionals and help them gain entry in the institutions offering training in this field.

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