Metrology is the science of weights and measurement. It includes all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement. Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (abbreviated as the BIPM per the organization’s French name, Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) as “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.” It can be divided into three basic activity subfields, though there is considerable overlap:
• Define internationally accepted units of measurement (accepted by countries and private users),
• Realize these units of measurement in practice (understand and implement in different fields: science, commerce, and industry), and
• Apply chains of traceability linking measurements made in practice to
reference standards (traceability is the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification). “Measurement traceability” is used to refer to an unbroken chain of comparisons relating an instrument’s measurements to a known standard.
Metrology also has three basic subfields that make use of the three basic activities:
• Scientific or fundamental metrology;
• Applied, technical, or industrial metrology; and
• Legal metrology.
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