Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Science Of Metrology

By Carey Bourdier

While remaining largely unknown by most people, metrology is one of the world's most crucial sciences. This is the science of measurement, and without we wouldn't have precise and safe machinery, safe houses and buildings, safe roads and much more. Metrologists are needed in a variety of industries, from aerospace to manufacturing.

There are several subfields of metrology, including fundamental metrology which is when scientists deal with the worldwide establishment of units of measurements. Another branch is applied metrology, which is the use of metrology in technical and industrial endeavors. The third subfield is legal metrology, which involves anything with an economic transaction and international trade. This includes careful construction and monitoring of anything from weighting devices to measuring the alcohol content in a bottle of wine.

There are several schools in the United States that offer two-year, four-year or advanced degrees in metrology. California State University, Dominguez Hills, for example, offers a Master of Science in Quality Assurance Degree. This prepares students for careers as quality auditors and quality engineers. Students learn advanced principles of measurement science as well as how to use a variety of metrology-related tools.

Calibration services are often performed by metrologists. This can include designing new types of calibration and measuring equipment or testing equipment to make sure that calibration is as precise as possible. Some firms that hire metrologists offer a host of calibration services as well as certification and repairs of calibration equipment.

Among the instruments that you might be using as part of your metrology work include a variety of different levels, as well as clinometers and theodolites and a variety of optical tools such as alignment telescopes and alignment collimators. These and other tools are needed for both applied and legal metrology. Those involved in fundamental metrology typically involves a great deal of research rather than field work.

There are several organizations for those interested in the field of metrology. NCSL International, for example, is a global organization that was formed in 1960, and holds an annual conference each year with a variety of speakers involved in theoretical metrology, applied metrology, and management and quality. In addition to the speakers, there are usually more than 100 vendors at this annual convention, which is open to all members. The group publishes a scientific journal and supports educational scholarships for those interested in becoming a calibration technician, a calibration engineer or a metrologist.

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