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Oldest Scientific Measurement Journal Celebrates 100 Years

IOP Publishing (IOPP) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Measurement Science and Technology, the world’s oldest scientific instrumentation and measurement journal and the first research journal produced by the Institute of Physics.

To mark the occasion, Measurement Science and Technology has pulled together a collection of articles which revisit some of the research themes published in the first volume, and looks at the latest advancements in metrology. The collection includes papers on developments in the fields of ultrasound sensing with optical fibres, positioning with satellites, and mass measurements with electrostatic balances, all enabling technologies beyond the dreams of metrologists of a century ago.

The launch of the special collection of metrology research papers coincides with World Metrology Day (20thMay), an annual event during which more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. World Metrology Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 which was the beginning of formal international collaboration in metrology.

Measurement Science and Technology was established in 1923 as the Journal of Scientific Instruments. The then president of the Institute of Physics, recognised the need for a publication in the English language specially devoted to scientific instruments. The journal was supported by Sir Richard Glazebrook, the first director, at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK which provided editorial support for the journal. In 1990 the journal was renamed as Measurement Science and Technology to reflect the shift away from many scientists making their own instruments. Since 2003 the journal archive containing all articles published since the start of the journal has been available online.

In the present day, Measurement Science and Technology covers all aspects of the theory, practice and application of measurement, instrumentation and sensing across science and engineering. The journal has published more than 12,000 articles in the last three decades alone including work from at least seven Nobel Prize in Physics winners.

Andrew Yacoot, current editor in chief of IOPP’s Measurement Science and Technology and Principal Scientist at the NPL said: “The Interdisciplinary nature of measurement science was recognised at the time of formation of the journal which brought together physicists, instrument makers, chemists and biologists. Today experimental science and engineering still cannot progress without the support of measurement science.  The constant developments in science present new challenges for the metrologist as well as new opportunities for developing measurement science which in turn allow further scientific developments. The two feed off each other.” 

Dr Tim Smith, head of portfolio development at IOPP says: “Looking back on a hundred years of metrology research shows just how tremendous advances in measurement science has led to pioneering scientific achievements at all scales and across all disciplines. We’re proud of the central role Measurement Science and Technology has in capturing landmark developments over the last century, and are excited about continuing to serve the field for years to come by publishing ground-breaking metrological discoveries that continue to innovate and inform our understanding of the world we live in.”