The measure of science: Redefining the kilogram

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 22 October

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: domeckopol via pixabay


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

If we cannot measure something, we cannot begin to understand it. In May 2019, the International System of Units, the ‘SI’, will be redefining the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole. In this talk, Michael de Podesta will explain the rationale for the forthcoming changes and why, even though you are unlikely to personally notice any changes, you should be happy about them.

The measure of science

‘The measure of science’ is a series of events in partnership with the Institute of Measurement and Control (InstMC) as part of the Festival of Measurement. On 20 May 2019, the SI units will be redefined in terms of physical constants and the InstMC will be celebrating the importance of measurement in all areas of life in the lead up to this change. To find out more, please see

About the speaker

Dr Michael de Podesta's wide-ranging research interests concern all aspects of temperature measurement: from building the most accurate thermometer ever made; to developing industrial sensors capable of surviving harsh conditions; to measuring the temperature underneath the wheel of a train travelling at over one hundred miles per hour; to representing NPL on the steering committee of the International Surface Temperature Initiative.

Michael graduated with a BSc from Sussex University in 1981 and then in 1985 completed a DPhil in the electronic properties of metals at cryogenic temperatures. After postdoctoral work at Bristol University, he was appointed a lecturer at the University of London in 1987, and joined NPL in 2000.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.

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