Manufacturing Metrology Team

Artefact free measurement: the redefinition of the international system of units

Invited talk by Professor Graham Machin
BSc (Hons), DPhil (Oxon), DSc, CPhys, CEng, FInstP, FInstMC
NPL Fellow

Date: 28 May 2019

Venue: C11, Advanced Manufacturing Building, University of Nottingham

1800 – 1815 Introduction to Manufacturing Metrology at Nottingham – Professor Richard Leach
1815 – 1915 Artefact free measurement: the redefinition of the international system of units – Professor Graham Machin
1915 – 1930 A glass of wine
1930 – 2000  Tour of Advanced Manufacturing Building Metrology Labs

Register here:  eventbrite

GM photo



A brief introduction to the National Physical Laboratory will be given followed by a discussion of the evolution of measurement practices from ancient times to the present. It is clear that the international system of units (the SI); namely the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin, the metre, the mole, the second and the candela have served the measurement requirements of the world for many years. Since the inception of the SI a number of the individual unit definitions have evolved to meet advancing measurement needs. However in November 2018 the General Congress of Weights and Measures (CGPM) met in Paris ushering in a fundamental change to the SI. The current semi-classical and partially artefact based unit definitions gave way to new definitions based on a set of fundamental constants with defined values. The objective of the redefinition was to ensure that the SI remains enduringly fit for purpose into the 21st Century and beyond. The world measurement community is now in the implementation phase of the redefined SI which will be completed on World Metrology Day 20 May 2019.This talk will introduce the SI, explain the changes that are being introduced and their impact on measurement. Emphasis will be given to the changes affecting the kelvin and how the redefinition will open up the possibility of no-drift always-right sensors through the development of practical primary temperature measurement in the 2020s. The talk will be illustrated with real examples and artefacts.

NPL MP03 4mb polished NPL acoustic resonator
water triple point cell Water triple point cell


Graham is the science leader of the NPL Temperature and Humidity Group and an NPL Fellow. He has more than 28 years’ experience in thermometry research, published more than 220 technical papers and given numerous invited/keynote addresses. He has been an invited guest researcher at institutes in Japan and the USA, currently holds a visiting senior researcher position at the National Institute of Metrology, China. He is visiting Professor of Thermometry in Harsh Environments (University of Strathclyde), visiting Professor of Clinical Thermal Imaging (University of South Wales), Distinguished Visiting Fellow (colaborador honorífico) (University of Valladolid, Spain) and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He represents the UK on the Consultative Committee of Thermometry (CCT) and IMEKO TC12, chairs the CCT working group for Noncontact thermometry and was chair of the Euramet Technical Committee for Thermometry (TC-T) from 2014 to 2018. In addition he has served on the EPSRC Physical Sciences Strategic Advisory Team, and is an international invited expert on the Chinese Academy of Sciences “very low temperature thermometry” project (2017-2022).

Graham was awarded the Institute of Measurement and Control (InstMC) Callendar medal in 2012 for “outstanding contributions to the art of temperature measurement” and a visiting fellowship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2017). He is currently the President of the InstMC (2018-2019).Current research interests are primary thermometry (acoustic, radiometric and especially all aspects of implementing and realizing the redefined kelvin), radiation thermometry and thermal imaging, new thermocouples, sensor self-validation methods, clinical thermometry (contact, non-contact and internal), reliable temperature (and other) measurements in hostile environments (especially aerospace and nuclear decommissioning) and metrology for wound prevention. He is project director of “Implementing the new kelvin” and the forthcoming Realising the redefined kelvin (Sep 2019) for EURAMET.

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Manufacturing Metrology Team

Room B38 Advanced Manufacturing Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB