Scientists to Vote on Metric Makeover

After decades of groundbreaking laboratory work, the world’s scientific and technical community is about to redefine four of the seven base units for the International System of Units (SI).  A vote to adopt the change is slated for November 16, 2018, at Versailles, France. An affirmative vote would mean the kilogram (mass), kelvin (temperature), ampere (electric current) and mole (amount of substance) would be determined by fundamental constants of nature rather than by physical objects. This historic change will be the largest single shift in international measurement since the Treaty of the Meter was signed in 1875. Scientists expect this change will spur technological innovation and lower the cost of many high-tech manufacturing processes. Video is produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

If the resolution is approved, the SI will be based on seven physical constants, and thus inherently stable. Most notably, this will mark the end of the last remaining physical artefact in the SI system – a cylinder of metal known as the International Prototype of the Kilogram.


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