Measurements are present in human society since ancient times, influencing all aspects of human society. It is believed that humans were first interested to comprehend time, as they were watching periodic natural phenomena, and afterwards the length i.e. the distance. However, since then, and all the way to the era of cosmic programs, GPS and global navigation satellite system Galileo, people were trying to perform the most accurate measuring possible. Measures and measuring are changing through the time. Protagoras’ claim that “man is the measure of all things”, is clearly reflected in the anthropological origin of the measurement of length typical for the ancient civilizations, but also in England in the time of Henry I, when the yard was defined. Today, when we live in the time of automatic scales, robotics, and researches that are to set a new definition of kilogram and change its standard, we have to ask ourselves how weights were produced.
Life without the trade is unimaginable, as it is an important segment of economic stability. However, it is important to note that as such it is as well unimaginable without measuring. It is known that the old Greeks were quite familiar with measures used by people from other areas, with whom they were developing trade relations. In order to conduct the commercial activities as efficiently as possible, in the Middle Ages local standards for length, mass and volume existed at the markets. History has left us with important information on passage of bills and decrees on measurements, including the promulgations of national standards by the rulers. No wonder why today taxes, weights and measuring became part of daily life.
Global economy depends on reliable measuring that doesn’t represent a technical barrier to trade. Standards equivalency, as well as demonstration of an acceptable level of compliance with the relevant standards, enables comparison of conducted measuring in different states.
Metrology enables us to examine the air we breathe, water we drink, the food we eat. Just think of sport activities – those can’t be realized without measuring. Athletes and swimmers are in race with time constantly. World record values change all the time, the boundaries of the possible are being pushed, and hundredths of a second do count. Remember that the top sports performances are followed by anti-doping controls, what again points us to the role and importance of measuring.
Measurements with the known degree of uncertainty are the basis of the industrial quality management and the increase of products’ value and quality.
The precise measuring promotes efficiency of energy systems and provides proper calculation.
Metrology is the basis of all scientific research. Monitoring of the temperature or climate changes, registering seismic activities, astronomy etc., can’t be imagined without measurements. Pushing the boundaries of the possible and documenting the results obtained by research implies the existence of effective measuring devices.