Say Goodbye to the Big K

Or Le Grande K, if you will.

For years the kilogram was defined by the weight of a metal cylinder kept under the strictest lock and key in Versailles, France. That little cylinder is affectionately called ‘Le Grande K’. However, despite the cylinder’s vacuum sealed climate control storage and the six clones kept in other parts of the world, the weight of this metal cylinder always varied ever so slightly, to the dismay of the scientists. This meant the kilogram measurement itself, one of the base SI units, was not entirely dependable. In fact, before recently, all other SI units are based on fundamental constants of nature, which means they are unchanging. But now, as of Friday, 11/16/2018, the Conference of Weights and Measures met in Versailles to agree, the kilogram will not be defined by the Big K any more.

After years of research and work, scientists have agreed base the kilogram on a fixed Planck’s constant, rather than basing Planck’s Constant on the kilogram. The kilogram now joins the other SI units as independent of any real world object.

As Confucius would say, “If I was made governor, the first thing I would do is rectify names.” Now we have rectified the kilogram and there is no more uncertainty in all our scientific modes of measurements.

Farewell Big K, you’ve served us well.

P.S. If you’re wondering what the pound is based on; fundamentally, it’s a ratio of the kilogram. So in one way we do use the metric system!

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