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Submitted by on May 10, 2021

Measurement is the assignment of a number to an object or event, which can be compared to other objects or events. The scope and application of the measurement will vary by context and discipline. In the natural sciences and engineering, measurements are not applied to the nominal properties of objects or events, which is in line with the International vocabulary of metrology guidelines published by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. However, in other fields, such as statistics and in the social and behavioral sciences, measurements can have multiple levels, including nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio scales.

Measurement is the cornerstone of commerce, science, technology, and quantitative research across many disciplines. Historically, there have been many measurement systems for different areas of human existence that facilitate comparisons in these areas. They are often achieved through local agreements between trading partners or partners. Beginning in the 18th century, development proceeded towards the unification of generally accepted standards, which led to the modern International System of Units (SI). This system reduces all physical measurements to a mathematical combination of seven basic units. Measurement science is conducted in the field of metrology.

In measurements, the International System of Units (SI) is most often used as the basis for comparison. The system defines seven basic units of measurement: kilogram, meter, candela, second, ampere, kelvin, and mole. Six of these units are identified without reference to a specific physical object that serves as a reference (no artifacts), while the kilogram is still embodied in an artifact located at the headquarters International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres near Paris. Artifact-free definitions fix measurements to the exact value associated with a physical constant or other unchanging phenomena in nature, in contrast to standard artifacts, which are prone to deterioration or destruction. Instead, the unit of measure can always be changed only by improving the precision of determining the value of the constant with which it is associated.