All base units of measurement now tied to defined constants rather than physical objects | 5/20/2019 | Staff
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Scales aren't changing and the weather won't be noticeably different, but on May 20 the definitions that underlie what your scale and thermometer report—along with standard definitions used in chemistry and electronics—are undergoing a major overhaul. That's the date that a more-than-centuries-long process of standardizing measurements reaches its conclusion.

At that time, the way we define an amount of light or electrical current—along with the more familiar measurements of volume and mass—will all be based on descriptions that could be replicated by anyone not just on Earth but in galaxies far, far away.

Nothing - Changes - Everything - Changes - Marc

"Nothing changes and everything changes," said Marc Salit, who helped define these measurements—known as the International System of Units, or SI units—at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for 28 years. He now directs an effort to apply similar rigor to definitions of biological measurements. That effort, called the Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology, or JIMB (pronounced Jim-Bee), was founded by NIST and Stanford in 2014 and is now part of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Salit said Monday's changes will be invisible to most people but represent a major change in the field of metrology. He was at the meeting in November where the assembled international representatives voted to adopt the proposed changes.

US - Voting - Yes - Russia - Ukraine

"It was cool to see the U.S. voting yes, Russia voting yes, Ukraine voting yes and China voting yes. All voting yes to adopt the resolution that redefines the SI," Salit said.

He equates metrology with kids trying to equally share a chocolate bar. "We each have an innate sense of justice and fairness," he said. "This redefined SI is how we share. It's the basis for trade. It's the basis for equity. It's the basis for knowledge that is quantitative and interoperable and communicable."

Effort - Measurements - Treaty

The international effort to standardize measurements began with a treaty in 1875, when...
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