Today is World Metrology Day!

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By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis
Tagged as Metrology
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Many decisions in life are based on measurements, which need to be sufficiently accurate for the purpose. Making quality-assured measurements is an expertise in its own right, and must be carried out in such a way that everyone can have full confidence in the results.

To help support these objectives, ISO is contributing to the global celebrations for World Metrology Day, celebrated on 20th May with the theme “Measurement and Light”. This year’s event coincides with UNESCO’s International Year of Light 2015 and speaks to one of the defining measurement issues of our time: accurate measurement of emerging lighting products.

With a ray of technologies on the market, metrology is needed more than ever to validate measurement results and calculate measurement uncertainties. Today, the focus is on spectral composition of the light source and the evolution of these quantities during its life cycle.

Standards enable the reliable exploitation of light as essential ingredients in many novel measurement technologies. Robust communication, interoperability among optical systems, and safety to light exposure are just a few of the many important applications.

With ISO/TC 12, Quantities and units, whose secretariat is led by SIS, ISO member for Sweden, at the forefront of measurements, ISO is doing all it can to help solve the challenge by supporting quality-assured measurements through its ISO/IEC 80000 series of standards. This, in turn, can enable quality-assured deployment of technologies and serves as the backbone for scientists and engineers to set up physical measurement models.

“Coming from traditional lamps, people are still accustomed to quantifying the performance of lamps only by their wattage. But with modern lighting technologies using LED-based “solid-state lighting”, they are increasingly aware of other quantities and units that correspond to their visual sensation of light and not to the electrical one,” says Armin Sperling, Project Leader for the revision of ISO 80000-7. “This is why ISO 80000-7:2008 and CIE S 017/E:2011 are so important.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), which organize World Metrology Day, actively liaise with a number of ISO technical committees. ISO also has strong ties with the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), a liaison that is applied for the revision of ISO 80000-7, which lays down the most important and basic definitions of quantities related to light and radiation.

In this joint celebration of “light”, BIPM and OIML recall the basic idea behind the International System of Quantities (ISQ) and the International System of Units (SI) – provide a coherent system of quantities and units to measure the brilliant technologies that illuminate our lives.

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Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

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