New definition of kilogram ditches old metal object for natural constants
New definition of kilogram ditches old metal object for natural constants
Source Enrico Massa and Carlo Sasso
News Why the kilogram is changing forever By Katrina Krämer16 November 2018
18 November, 2018, 08:20
Scientists, for whom the update represents decades of work, clapped, cheered and even wept as the 50-plus nations gathered in Versailles, west of Paris, and one by one said "yes" or "oui" to the change, hailed as a revolution for how humanity measures and quantifies its world.
In a historic vote, nations unanimously approved Friday a ground-breaking overhaul to the worldwide system of measurements, coming together in a way that they fail to do on so many other issues behind new definitions for the kilogram and other key units vital for trade and science.
The International System of Units was established in order to eliminate conflict among merchants, as they struggled to converse one local measuring unit to another.
Scientists say they used the constants and equations of quantum mechanics to develop the new standards. Yet, despite its heavy security, the cylinder has begun to wear away, causing slight inaccuracies in the way we define and measure a kilogram.
The ampere will now be defined by the elementary electrical charge, the kelvin by the Boltzmann constant and the mole by by the Avogadro constant.
The kilogram - which was and still is roughly equivalent to 2.2 pounds - was redefined in order to streamline scientific research and development involving ultra-precise measurements of mass. In fact, what the science community has done is define Planck's constant as a specific value: h = 6.62607015 × 10 J∙s. It is housed at the headquarters of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (whose French acronym is BIPM), just outside Paris.
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Le Grand K is stored at the International Bureau of Weights and Measurement in a vault, where it stands within three bell jars.
"The SI redefinition is a landmark moment in scientific progress", said Milton.
The new method, decided at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Paris on Friday, will be a formula called the "Planck constant". It also is expected to be more accurate when measuring very, very small or very, very large masses.
"We are truly honored to be joining the world community in taking this historic step that will accelerate innovation and usher in a new era of advancement for science and industry", said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Walter G. Copan. The new definitions will be effective on May 20, 2019, World Metrology Day, which celebrates the establishment of the SI, or metric system, in 1875. The size of the units will remain unchanged, however, to further improve stability, the four redefined units will join the second, the meter and the candela.
The Planck constant is, in turn, measured using an instrument known as the Kibble balance, first developed at NPL by the late physicist Bryan Kibble.
A complete rejection of the use of the standard kilogram held in may next year.
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