The European Centre for
Mathematics and Statistics in Metrology


The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK’s National Measurement Institute and is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology. For more than a century NPL has developed and maintained the UK’s primary measurement standards. These standards underpin an infrastructure of traceability throughout the UK and many other parts of the world, thus ensuring accuracy and consistency of measurement.
NPL employs over 500 scientists, based in south-west London. Our laboratory is a 36,000 square-metre purpose-built measurement building with 388 of the world's most extensive and sophisticated measurement science laboratories. As of one minute past midnight on 1 January 2015, shares in NPL Management Limited (NPLML) transferred from Serco to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). In practical terms, this means that BIS now owns NPLML and NPL will operate as a public corporation.

NPL has a highly experienced team of technical experts in the area of uncertainty evaluation and computationally expensive systems. The group has wide experience of delivering knowledge transfer in the form of guides, reports and papers, workshops and training courses, and associated supporting software. NPL’s Mathematics and Modelling for Metrology group contains 12 staff, several of whom are regarded as international leaders in uncertainty evaluation and mathematical modelling for metrology applications. The work of the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM) and the development of supporting documents to the GUM rely on the leadership provided by NPL’s mathematicians. In addition, in conjunction with PTB and SP, NPL also leads a successful EURAMET inter-disciplinary research project on uncertainty analysis applied to dynamic measurement problems that organises a series of international workshops devoted to this topic.

Key personnel

Louise Wright

Louise received an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University in 1994, and an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Analysis from Oxford University in 1995. She spent four years working with FE in industry before joining NPL in 1999. Louise is a member of the NAFEMS Working Group on Computational Structural Mechanics, and is a founding member of the NAFEMS Professional Simulation Engineer certification scheme.

Louise Wright leads NPL's continuous modelling work, applying numerical techniques such as finite element (FE) methods, finite difference methods, boundary element methods and meshless methods to metrology problems from a wide range of areas of physics, including static and dynamic stress analysis, heat transfer, and acoustics. She is interested in optimisation and uncertainty evaluation applied to finite element models, particularly for use in improving confidence in FE as a design tool.

She is also interested in extending continuum methods to simulate objects that are nano-scale in some dimensions and micro-scale in other dimensions, such as graphene sheets, carbon nano-tubes and ultra-thin coatings, and in linking atomistic and continuum scale models to form multi-scale simulations.

Contact directly: EmailLouise

Alistair Forbes

Alistair Forbes joined NPL in 1985 after studing mathematics at the University of Aberdeen (BSc, First Class honours), University of Newcastle upon Tyne (MSc) and the University of Pennsylvania (MA). He has carried out research in mathematical and statistical modelling, algorithm design, uncertainty evaluation, numerical software development and validation with applications to metrology. He is an NPL Fellow in the Mathematics & Modelling Group and Science Area Leader for Data Analysis and Uncertainty Evaluation.

Alistair is Visiting Professor in Industrial Mathematics at the University of Huddersfield; Member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications; a Chartered Mathematician; Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society; and Scientific Secretary of IMEKO TC21 'Mathematical Tools for Measurements'. He is on the Editorial Boards of Acta IMEKO and The International Journal of Metrology and Quality Engineering, and is on the organising committee or international programme committee for a number of international conferences, including: Advanced Mathematical and Computational Tools for Metrology (AMCTM, co-chair 2011, 2014), IMEKO World Congress September, 2018, Belfast.

Contact directly: EmailAlistair

Peter Harris

Dr Peter Harris has worked at NPL since 1986 in the areas of mathematical and statistical modelling and experimental data analysis, uncertainty evaluation, algorithm design, numerical software development and software testing applied to a variety of measurement problems, including those arising in the areas of acoustical, electrical, dimensional, mass and time metrology, and analytical science. He received a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Bath in 1986 and his PhD on spline approximation from the University of Brunel in 1991. He is a Principal Research Scientist in the Mathematics & Modelling Group at NPL.

Peter is a member of BSI Committees SS/6 Precision of test methods, SS/6/-/3 Measurement uncertainty, SS/2 Statistical interpretation of data, and a member of the CCAUV Key Comparison Working Group.

Contact directly: EmailPeter

Maurice Cox

Maurice received a BSc in Applied Mathematics from City University, London, and a PhD in Numerical Analysis (spline functions) also from City University.

Maurice worked for several years at the General Electric Company and since 1968 at NPL. He is an NPL Senior Fellow and currently a consultant to NPL where he is concerned with generic approaches to the evaluation of measurement uncertainty and methods for the evaluation of interlaboratory comparison data. He has much experience in applying these approaches to diverse fields.

Since the 1990s a main interest has been measurement uncertainty evaluation. Maurice has made major contributions to Supplements to the Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (GUM) and other related guides through his membership of the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM). He has editorial responsibility for producing a revised version of the GUM. With NPL colleagues he has delivered training courses on measurement uncertainty evaluation for many years in the UK and other countries, and regularly at NPL.

Maurice is Visiting Professor in Computational Mathematics at Kingston University, and chairs a number of national and international committees and working groups, namely, British Standards Committee SS/6 on Precision of Test Methods, and Panel SS/6/-/3 on Measurement Uncertainty, and International Standards Organization ISO/TC 69/SC 6/WG 7 on Statistical methods to support measurement uncertainty evaluation. He also chairs BIPM Director's Advisory Group on Measurement Uncertainty. Maurice is JCGM liaison for ISO/TC 69.

Maurice is a Fellow and founder member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. He is also a Chartered Mathematician and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Contact directly: EmailMaurice

Trevor Esward

Leads NPL’s work on signal processing and dynamic systems within the UK’s government-funded Mathematics and Modelling for Metrology programme and is technical area leader for mathematical modelling within NPL’s electronics and modelling group.

Contact directly: EmailTrevor

Key publications

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