fresh bytes
Subscribe to EE Journal Daily Newsletter

Scientists are about to change what a kilogram is

If Jon Pratt were an international criminal mastermind, he would fly to Paris, don an all-black suit and ski mask and sneak into the elegant French baroque building that serves as headquarters for the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures.

His mission: “To set the whole world’s system of mass into disarray,” Pratt said. “This is my dastardly plan.”

In this hypothetical scenario, Pratt slips past the security guards, disables the alarm system and picks the lock on a temperature-controlled, airtight safe deep in the bowels of the BIPM. Inside, he finds his target: a small platinum and iridium cylinder weighing exactly one kilogram. It’s the kilogram, crafted in 1889 to serve as the single standard by which all other kilograms are measured. People call it “le grand K.”

“I’d take out a nail file, and I’d scratch a little bit off,” Pratt said. Then he’d slip back into the night. “And the next time they take the thing out” (to test the accuracy of the world’s other kilograms) “everything else will be wrong.”

Continue reading at The Washington Post

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Sep 18, 2017
A friend of mine was saying the other day, “I want to be able to go to my car, type something like New York City , take a nap, and have the car wake me when I get there.” My friend lives in California; barring supersonic auto 2 [*] transportation, it would be a long...
Sep 15, 2017
Glass Weave Skew. For most people it probably sounds like a progressive rock band. But we’re talking about Glass Weave Skew and differential signals. Brandon Gore, Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer, and the Manager of Samtec’s Signal Integrity Group, R&D...
Sep 01, 2017
Achronix was delighted to attend the Hot Chips event in Cupertino once again this August. This year saw a bumper turnout, with some very fascinating speakers providing some great insights into the industry. The Achronix team had a chance to meet with many talented people in t...