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Gateway for scientists


Here you will find current news from PTB's diverse research activities as well as a short guide to PTB.



“Your temperature is 102 degrees – that’s a fever!” “Excuse me?” You could experience a confusing conversation like this if you feel ill during your vacation in the U.S. and need to see a doctor. Temperatures are measured in Fahrenheit in the U.S.; 102 degrees Fahrenheit are equivalent to 38.9 degrees Celsius. This type of confusion (or even serious misunderstandings!) occurs very rarely – at least when measurement units are used in science. We can thank a historical event which is commemorated on 20 May each year on World Metrology Day for this: the establishment of the Metre Convention. This contract was signed in 1875 by the most important industrial nations of that era. Since that date, almost all other countries in the world have followed suit and pledged to use only metric units. The U.S. and a few other countries represent a minority which still uses Anglo-Saxon units – but only in daily life. The metric system and the...

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Prof. Dr. Piet O. Schmidt

It is about fundamental questions of modern fundamental physics: Is our description of nature complete? What is dark matter? Do natural constants change with time or place? Theoretical predictions attest optical clocks based on highly charged ions a 20-fold sensitivity to these effects compared to previous clocks. With a concept for the first-time realization of such special clocks, in which the highly charged ions are controlled by quantum techniques and measured by laser spectroscopy, Prof. Dr. Piet O. Schmidt (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt and Leibniz Universität Hannover) has now obtained one of the most prestigious research grants: an ERC Advanced Grant. With this, the European Research Council (ERC) is providing almost 2.5 million euros for a five-year project. Schmidt's goal: to achieve at least a 10-fold improvement in the limits for new forces and changes in natural constants and also to address important questions in...

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Contact with colleagues

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Are you seeking contact with PTB scientists? Then in the chapter Opens internal link in current windowStructure & Divisions you can look up who is working in a suitable field of activity.

Research topics

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In the new International System of Units (SI), seven fundamental constants are determined as defining reference values. (Diagram: PTB)

An overview of the diverse research landscape of PTB as well as some particularly highlighted topics (for example, PTB research surrounding the International System of Units SI) you will find in the chapter Opens internal link in current windowResearch & Development). In addition, it is always worthwhile to look at the Opens internal link in current windowmain Homepage as well as the homepages of the respective Opens internal link in current windowDivisions. How reputable PTB is among researchers you can see at Opens internal link in current windowPTB in the World of Research. Furthermore, PTB has been – specifically its R&D component, in particular – evaluated repeatedly with excellent results. You can download the respective documents (which are in German only) in the right column as a pdf file.

Scientific publications

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In the database Opens internal link in current windowPTB-Publica you can search for scientific publications by PTB staff members. Furthermore, some divisions maintain their own overview lists on the publications of their staff members. These you will find via the respective Opens internal link in current windowhomepages of the divisions.

Research collaborations

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The many collaborations of the individual PTB divisions you will find in the Annual Report under the column Opens internal link in current windowFrom the Divisions. International collaborations of PTB, e.g. with other metrology institutes within the framework of the European Metrology Research Programme EMRP/EMPIR, you will find at Opens internal link in current windowInternational Affairs. Some current EMRP dates you will find in the current issue of Opens internal link in current windowPTB-News.

What PTB offers doctoral candidates

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PTB's broad range of offers for students, doctoral candidates, and also extending beyond the doctorate degree you will find in the chapter Opens internal link in current windowAbout Us & Careers.