Didcot First

Cafe Scientifique: Why confidence in measurement is so important

19th September 2017

Cafe Scientifique: Why confidence in measurement is so important

 Our everyday life is peppered with measurements and we usually trust them without thinking. The petrol pump; our bathroom, kitchen and supermarket scales; tape measures; barometers; and thermometers that confirm a heatwave or provide an indication of health.

These are, however, just the tip of an enormous and mostly invisible iceberg.Just about every aspect of our economy, our quality of life & our very lives depends on confidence in measurements that we make or, more often, that are made on our behalf.

This confidence is enabled by one of, if not the largest and coordinated science and technology activities on the planet – the international measurement system.

This talk will provide an introduction to the importance of measurement and metrology (the science of measurement), how we can have confidence in measurements and why measurement today requires leading edge (even Nobel prize winning) science and technology.

It will also explore the role of the National Physical Laboratory; the UK’s National Metrology Institute and a global centre of excellence in measurement science and its application. It will provide a glimpse into some of our amazing (and sometimes unbelievable) science and engineering – work that makes a real difference to peoples livelihoods, quality of life and lives.

Dr. Martyn Sené is Deputy CEO of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute and is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available. He is a member of the NPL Management Ltd. Board and also a member of the CIPM (Comité International des Poids et Mesures) , established under the Metre Convention to promote world-wide uniformity in units of measurement and oversee the headquarters of the International Measurement System (BIPM) in Paris.

Following an academic career in nuclear physics, Martyn worked in applied nuclear technology with UKAEA and AEA Technology. This included work on nuclear physics for the UKs reactor programme; radioactive waste assay, radiation dosimetry and radiation processing for sterilisation and materials modification. Martyn held a variety of technical and management positions at AEA Technology; including Managing Director of AEA Technology EBIS Ltd, a subsidiary of AEA Technology plc specialising in radiation processing.

Martyn joined NPL in 1999, as Head of the Centre for Ionising Radiation Measurement and held a variety of posts in NPL before becoming Deputy CEO.  

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