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Foreword

Last year, the search for a successor to the office of PTB president was successfully concluded. Certain turbulences had led to my extending my term as president until the end of 2011. This I was happy to do, as the work at PTB has brought me (mostly) great pleasure for over 17 years – to the last day. Starting from 1 January 2012, Professor Joachim Ullrich is assuming this office. He is coming to PTB from the Max- Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics) in Heidelberg. PTB welcomes its new president and I wish him much joy and success in his new office.

However, not everything has come to a good conclusion: Thus the actually unexpected continuation of the reduction of permanent posts last year has taken away nearly every leeway to take on new challenges, e.g. in the fields of energy, environment or health. Our strategic planning has had to be largely restricted to concluding tasks, whereby after almost 20 years of post reductions – as has already been the case in recent years – it has no longer been possible to avoid painful cuts also in the core service, with correspondingly unpleasant reactions from our customers. This situation has not at all been remedied by the welcome increase in the number of staff members with short-term contracts funded by third parties; they could not and must not be employed with core tasks. With regard to the funds raised through third parties, the Metrology Research Programme funded by the European Union is of special importance to us for strategic reasons.

Beyond that, however, the work content of PTB – fortunately – continues to promote its now approaching 125-year-old success story. The results presented in this Annual Report again fill me with pride and joy. Above all, my thanks go to all “PTBists”. But thanks are also due to “our” ministry, the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology) for its solid funding and for its support at the political level. Likewise, my thanks go to all third-party donors not listed individually here.

Our three largest projects on the redefinition of the base units of the International System of Units (“Avogadro”, “Boltzmann”, “Ampere and the Metrology Triangle”) have made great progress and will make quite a substantial contribution to the final redetermination of the base units. But also in many other fields, great progress has been made in metrological research and development. By way of example, I would like to mention the design and utilization of a cryogenic, single-crystal silicon resonator for the frequency stabilization of lasers, the first-time-ever realization of a quantum standard for electrical voltage on the basis of a semi-conductor (instead of a superconductor), the exciting NMR experiments in water in extremely small magnetic fields down to 0.1 μT (!) and – last but not least – the groundbreaking development of new mathematical and statistical methods for the analysis of dynamic measurements.

Also outstanding last year are the changes in legal metrology through the implementation of the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID). It was possible to implement and establish the resulting structural changes largely without problem. The close cooperation – increasing in the course of many years – with the manufacturers of measuring instruments, on the one hand, and the verification authorities of the federal states, on the other hand, has contributed considerably here. I am thankful for this too.

Since I have already said my good-byes in last year’s annual report, at this point I will restrict myself merely to expressing my best wishes to PTB and its employees and to wish them much success also for the next 125 years – true to our mission: “Progress and reliability in metrology for science, society, and the economy”.