National Physical Laboratory

United States Ambassador to the UK visits NPL for an overview of cutting-edge scientific research

Woody Johnson, Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, visited NPL, the UK's National Measurement Institute (NMI) in Teddington.

United States Ambassador to the UK visits NPL for an overview of cutting-edge scientific research

He was accompanied by Mahvash Siddiqui, the Science, Technology and Health officer at the United States Embassy. The aim of the visit was to introduce Ambassador Johnson to some of the technologies that NPL has worked on over the last 100 years, as well as exciting new innovations it is bringing to market.

Ambassador Johnson was welcomed by NPL Chairman, Sir David Grant, and scientists and engineers responsible for NPL's cutting-edge work across areas like healthcare, the environment and digital. They conducted demonstrations of innovative new medical technologies, including a painless, more comfortable breast cancer screening platform and an imaging device which generates temperature maps of patients' feet to detect diabetic ulcers, DFIRST.

The Ambassador saw NPL's new unique SPECT-CT-PET imaging laboratory. This system will help deliver improved cancer detection and treatment optimisation using radiation imaging. A range of NPL's patient 'phantoms' were demonstrated, including 'Steve', a realistic patient head model that mimics the physical characteristics of human tissue. The forthcoming introduction of a new UK primary standard for proton radiotherapy and the benefits of this type of treatment were also discussed.

Ambassador Johnson also took tours of two important NPL laboratories – the NiCE-MSI and 5G labs. The NiCE-MSI use a variety of new techniques and instruments to study breast, bowel and pancreatic tumours, and has created the equivalent of a 'Google Earth' to study tumours. It will allow tumours to be analysed at in unprecedented detail – equivalent to identifying a house and where it is in a country, but also who's inside, what they're eating and watching on TV. NPL's 5G labs are working to improve mobile communications and underpin the smart cities of the future.

The Ambassador was also driven in a hydrogen-powered car to NPL's Bushy Park site, where London's first public-access electrolyser-powered hydrogen refuelling station is located. The hydrogen is generated here using only water and electricity and is capable of generating enough hydrogen to refuel 16 cars each day.

Mahvash Siddiqui, the Science Officer at the Embassy said:

"NPL represents the best of US-UK science and tech collaboration given its strong relationship with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). I am sure the collaboration could be deepened under the US-UK Science and Technology agreement signed last year. It is clear to me, after seeing the pioneering research projects underway at NPL, that the impressive work done here will address some of the biggest challenges facing us today, and in the future."

Sir David Grant, Chair of NPL, said:

"It has been a privilege to host the Ambassador. We are always proud to showcase our work and its impact, so we relish the opportunity to share it with guests as internationally renowned as the Ambassador."

Find out more about the cutting-edge work NPL does

Last Updated: 24 Apr 2018
Created: 24 Apr 2018

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