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Measurements

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Measurements are generally taken for granted although they have a long history. A thorough examination of different measuring systems draws attention to their ubiquity. Length, weight, area, volume, and even temperature are the categories that involve diverse measurements which represent the foundation to various fields, including sciences. People are used to implement them not only in their professional life but also in their daily routine. Therefore, it is essential to emphasize that the necessity of measurements has emerged along with the humankind.

Measurements started playing a crucial role in the lives of the ancestors as they were among the earliest tools invented by man. Rudimentary measures were essential to organize various routines in a day-to-day activity of primitive societies. These tasks applied to constructing dwellings of an appropriate shape and size; calculating the obtained harvest or catch in order to share it equally among the members of the group; trading or, to be precise, bartering raw materials, food, and other significant goods.  Therefore, in order to perform the abovementioned tasks, people relied on the most secure way to measure using the natural surroundings and even parts of their bodies. According to early Babylonian and Egyptian records, the length was initially measured with the finger, hand, and forearm. In order to identify the volume of different containers and facilitate their comparison, people used the seeds of a plant. After filling clay or metal vessels, they counted the amount of seeds that could fit into these containers; thus a first method of measuring the volume emerged. Seeds and stones served as standards even after the development of scales as a means for weighing. For instance, the term “carat” derived from the carob seed, but it is still used as a mass unit for gems. Astronomical observation contributed towards the measurement of time which was based on the periods of various heavenly bodies including the Sun and the Moon (A Brief History of Measurement Systems, n.d.).

Despite their superficial primitivism, the first measurements served as a highly effective instrument which was implemented in many spheres of daily life of those times. Nevertheless, societies gradually evolved causing the emergence of considerably more complex measurements.  

The life of a contemporary human being is surrounded by diverse measurements although they become familiar and even unnoticeable. This ubiquitous presence reveals their undeniable significance. In addition, it is essential that not all measurements have to be conducted with a rigorous mathematical implementation, because some of the measurements can be conducted on the basis of unaided human senses. If the result can omit its precision and accuracy, it can be estimated approximately. For instance, understanding weight of an object even without knowing the exact number allows estimating someone’s ability to lift or carry it. This comprehension comes on the basis of preconscious perception.  On the whole, measurements are widely implemented in building, creating, trading, and even cooking. When someone is ill, he or she needs to take medicine prescribed by the doctor, but it is crucial to take the appropriate amount for it can hurt or cause unnoticeable changes in the state of a patient. While shopping, people usually tend to keep in mind diverse numbers, amounts, and measurements. For instance, people estimate the amount of food they need for a week in order to avoid its decay, or they know the size of clothing they need in order to guarantee the proper fitting. When cooking, it is essential to know the temperature at which the food will be prepared but not burned. Thus, finding the implementation of measurements in the everyday life of an ordinary person is rather easy as it has become irreplaceable.

However, measurements serve as a basis not only for daily routines but also for diverse sciences. The invention of numbering systems and the science of mathematics contributed towards scientific research to a considerable degree. As a result, engineering and construction highly depend on qualitative and precise measurements as they are the pivotal base for these fields while even a slight inaccuracy can cause considerable consequences. In order to improve its overall performance, various sophisticated and complex systems are implemented. Moreover, the expansion of boundaries in the international arena caused the emergence of significant concepts of uniformity, which provide the base for standards and units as well as their global implementation.

The reason for the significance of measurements lies within their ability to organize things and provide structure, while destroying the chaos. Measurements result in the creation of a congruent method of understanding the surrounding world in terms of length, weight, volume, temperature and many other aspects. While examining the origin of measurements, it becomes obvious that they accompany the humankind in its process of evolution. Each round of history resulted in the emergence of more efficient and sophisticated methods of measurements. Thus, due to their ubiquity, measurements have become a significant part of daily life of a modern person although their implementation is so wide that people even tend not to notice them.

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