Logo der PTB - Messen, Forschen, Wissen
Der Eingangsbereich der PTB in Braunschweig

Facts about PTB

PTB is the National Metrology Institute of Germany with scientific and technical service tasks. PTB measures with the highest accuracy and reliability – metrology as the core competence. PTB stands for progress and reliability in metrology for the benefit of society, trade and industry, and science.


Entrance of PTB's campus in Braunschweig
(Source: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt)

Bundesallee 100
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49(0)531 592-0

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PTB's oldest building, the "Observatory"
(Source: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt)

Abbestraße 2-12
10587 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Phone: +49(0)30 3481-0

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Aerial view of the Campus Adlershof
(Source: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt)

Willy Wien Laboratory with the Metrology Light Source:
Magnusstr. 9
12489 Berlin

Albert-Einstein-Str. 15
12489 Berlin

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A total of approx. 1900 employees work at PTB, 1500 of them in Braunschweig.

Dr.-Ing. Prof. h. c. Frank Härtig, Vice-President of Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt

Vice-President: Dr.-Ing. Prof. h. c. Frank Härtig

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Member of the Presidential Board: Dr. Jörn Stenger

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PTB consists of ten scientific-technical divisions. Two of them, Division 7 (Temperature and Synchrotron Radiation) and Division 8 (Medical Physics and Metrological Information Technology) are located in Berlin. The divisions are divided into about 77 departments or sections and about 200 working groups.

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Annual budget

Total budget: approx. 185 million euros

Additional third-party funds raised for research projects: approx. 15 million eu

Together with Opens external link in new windowNIST (USA) and the Opens external link in new windowNPL(Great Britain), PTB ranks among the worldwide leading institutes of metrology (metrology = the science of exact measurement). As Germany's national metrology institute, PTB is Germany's highest authority when it comes to correct and reliable measurements.

In the Units and Time Act (Federal Law Gazette, volume 2008, part I, No. 28, p. 1185 ff., 11 July 2008), all tasks related with the realization and dissemination of the units have been assigned to it. All legally relevant aspects of the units as well as the competencies of PTB have been combined in this Act.

PTB's tasks are the determination of fundamental and natural constants, the realization, maintenance and dissemination of the legal units of the SI, and safety technology – supplemented by services such as the Opens external link in new windowGerman Calibration Service (Deutscher Kalibrierdienst, DKD) and metrology for the area regulated by law, for industry, and for technology transfer. As the basis for its tasks, PTB conducts fundamental research and development in the field of metrology in close cooperation with universities, other research institutions, and industry.

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1887: Foundation of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR) in Berlin on the basis of the ideas of Werner von Siemens and Hermann von Helmholtz and on their joint initiative. Helmholtz is nominated the PTR’s first president.
1898: First legal tasks: realization and maintenance of the electric units; testing of instruments for measuring electric quantities.
1950: Foundation of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig.
1953: Integration of the PTR in Berlin-Charlottenburg as "Berlin Institute" into PTB.
1977: State and industry found the Deutschen Kalibrierdienst (DKD, German Calibration Service) for the state-certified calibration of standards and measuring instruments, which is managed by PTB.
1990: Assumption of some of the tasks of the metrology department of the "Amt für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung" (ASMW, Agency for Standardization, Metrology and Commodities Testing) of the former German Democratic Republic. At this point in time, PTB has a staff of 2,000.
2002: Evaluation of the PTB by an expert committee appointed by the Federal Ministry of Economics.
2008: PTB is evaluated by the Science Council by order of the Federal Government - with excellent results.
2012: "125 years exactly": PTB looks back on a 125-year-old (success) story in March 2012 – with an international symposium and a festive ceremony in the Braunschweiger Stadthalle (Braunschweig Civic Centre)