July 01, 2008
Now Those are Some Smooth Balls
Posted by scott at July 01, 2008 03:24 PM
The metric standards police are taking another crack at re-defining the kilogram. Sometimes I wonder if our inability to unify gravity and quantum physics may be somehow linked to our inability to precisely define a unit of measurement for what gravity most directly affects.
Rrm... ah... sort of thing, eh?
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I didn't realize that the unit was so undefined. Seems that they should be able to define a theoretical standard simply by using the definition of a "pure" chunk of any particular atom they want. Take the current "closest" or most agreed upon source and then figure out a convenient # of atoms necessary to make up that weight.
All I need to know is that a kg is approx. 2.2 lbs.-good enough for me!
For true science-type work, I can understand this. I can also see that it's possible that redefining a term like this - even if it's just a bit off - can cause a huge amount of problems as now all sorts of expirements need to be recalibrated.
However, if it truly standardizes the measurement, it's worth it.
The gram/kilogram is one of the core SI units from which nearly all other units are derived, in some combination with meters, seconds, and moles. Changing the kilogram would also change the newton, joule, watt, calorie, and pretty much every other derived unit except the ones that measure velocity, acceleration, and a couple other esoteric units.