• Question: How will your work effect the future of our species and world?

    Asked by Randomness to Xu, Kathryn, Ian, Hina, Andrew on 18 Jun 2018. This question was also asked by 627spcn38.
    • Photo: Kathryn Burrows

      Kathryn Burrows answered on 18 Jun 2018:

      Great question! Obviously the answer is that is it hard to tell! As we all live in a highly complex interconnected system.

      My aim/goal is obviously to try to have a positive impact. My current work is a tiny part of something grand. Our species and our society is very interconnected, it works on things like trade between individual human beings, companies, whole countries. Fair trade relies on our ability to measure things, for example, to check that 1 kg of rice in England is the same as 1 kg of rice in Spain. This is the science of measurements, based around definition of measurement units of which there are seven base units. NPL is the government lab that specialises in measurement. We hold the UK master copies of standard measurements and many experts in measuring things very precisely work here.

      My group is the time and frequency group. We create the time for the whole country, the time is what we say it is! We do this by having lots of clocks and comparing them. Comparing clocks is important as with only one clock you do not know whether it is running on time, you can only tell this by comparing with a more accurate clock. The measurement unit of time is the second and here at NPL we have the Caesium fountain clock which is the nations most accurate clock. I work on helping the group which runs and maintains the Cs fountain clock, as well as on the ACES mission, which would allow clock comparisons between France, Germany, Japan and America to a greater accuracy than is currently available with existing satellite based techniques.

    • Photo: Andrew Margetts-Kelly

      Andrew Margetts-Kelly answered on 19 Jun 2018:

      I hope everything I do will have a positive impact on our world.

      One thing that I work on is cameras that are used in “precision farming”. This is where we photograph crops everyday in lots of different colours so we can tell how healthy the crop is. We then selectively water and fertilise the crop only where it is needed. This increases the amount of food we can grow in the same area using less water and fertiliser. It means we can feed more people and we cause less eutrophication (which is killing rivers and lakes because of too much fertiliser).

    • Photo: Ian Jones

      Ian Jones answered on 19 Jun 2018:

      Space engineering is vitally important for the future of the world. Look at how the population of the world is growing:

      Key Facts

      From space we can get an overview of what is going on. We can help to manage water and food supplies, we can help navigation and communication, we can help keep people safe and secure and we can play our part in making sure that the world is a good place to be.

      There aren’t that many professions that can do all that!!!!!