Working at New Scientist means that every day, I learn something new and fascinating. I have been terribly lax about blogging these amazing discoveries, but here’s one I loved. I never gave much thought to metrology - the science of measurement - but it’s fascinating and really important. Anyway, NS ran a piece this week about how some scientists are lobbying for more precise measurements. I kind of wondered, “What’s the big deal? What’s wrong with our old measurements?” Turns out, A LOT.
“The first sign that the SI was flawed was noticed in 1949 in a check on a lump of metal kept inside a vault at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Paris. By definition, it is the only object in existence with a mass of exactly 1 kilogram – one of the seven SI base units – so metrologists were unsettled to discover that this mass had changed.”
I’m sorry, what?! The kilogram is based on some lump of metal somewhere? How archaic. (Sidenote: doesn’t the Bureau of Weights and Measures sound like something from Harry Potter? I totally want to visit there. I picture it like a museum with cases of strange measurement objects.)
Anyway, go on over and read about the changes on the horizon for measurements.