Business

Weights n Measures Stand Changed …

Posted on May 20, 2019. Filed under: Business |

The Way We Define Kilogram, Metres and Seconds Changes Today –

May 20, 2019, marks one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of measurement – and the new standards on how we define units of mass, length, time and so on are not easy to explain.

We measure stuff all the time – how long, how heavy, how hot, and so on – because we need to for things such as trade, health and knowledge. But making sure our measurements compare apples with apples has been a challenge: how to know if my kilogram weight or metre length is the same as yours.

Attempts have been made to define the units of measurement over the years. But today – International Metrology Day – sees the complete revision of those standards come into play.

You won’t notice anything – you will not be heavier or lighter than yesterday – because the transition has been made to be seamless.

Just the definitions of the seven base units of the SI (Système International d’Unités, or the International System of Units) are now completely different from yesterday.

Humans have always been able to count, but as we evolved we quickly moved to measuring lengths, weights and time.

The Egyptian Pharaohs caused pyramids to be built based on the length of the royal forearm, known as the Royal Cubit. This was kept and promulgated by engineer priests who maintained the standard under pain of death.

But the cubit wasn’t a fixed unit over time – it was about half a metre, plus or minus a few tens of millimetres by today’s measure.

The first suggestion of a universal set of decimal measures was made by John Wilkins, in 1668, then Secretary of the Royal Society in London.

The impetus for doing something practical came with the French Revolution. It was the French who defined the first standards of length and mass, with two platinum standards representing the metre  and the kilogram on June 22, 1799, in the Archives de la République in Paris.

Scientists backed the idea, the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss being particularly keen. Representatives of 17 nations came together to create the International System of Units by signing the Metre Convention treaty on May 20, 1875.

France, whose street cred had taken a battering in the Franco-Prussian war and was not the scientific power it once was, offered a beaten-up chateau in the Forest of Saint-Cloud as an international home for the new system.

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.)

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.) Imperial system, which it still mostly uses today.

The US may have rued that decision in 1999, however, when the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) went missing in action. The report into the incident, quaintly called a “mishap” (which cost $193.1 million in 1999), said: […] the root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file, “Small Forces”, used in trajectory models.

Essentially the spacecraft was lost in the atmosphere of Mars as it entered orbit lower than planned.

So why the change today? The main problems with the previous definitions were, in the case of the kilogram, they were not stable and, for the unit of electric current, the ampere, could not be realised.

And from weighings against official copies, we think the Big K was slowly losing mass.

All the units are now defined in a common way using what the BIPM calls the “explicit constant” formulation.

The idea is that we take a universal constant – for example, the speed of light in a vacuum – and from now on fix its numerical value at our best-measured value, without uncertainty.

Reality is fixed, the number is fixed, and so the units are now defined.

We therefore needed to find seven constants and make sure all  measurements are consistent, within measurement uncertainty, and then start the countdown to today. (All the technical details are available here.)

Australia had a hand in fashioning the roundest macroscopic object on the Earth, a silicon sphere used to measure the Avogadro constant, the number of entities in a fixed amount of substance. This now defines the SI unit, mole, used largely in chemistry.

We measure stuff all the time – how long, how heavy, how hot, and so on – because we need to for things such as trade, health and knowledge. But making sure our measurements compare apples with apples has been a challenge: how to know if my kilogram weight or metre length is the same as yours.

Attempts have been made to define the units of measurement over the years. But today – International Metrology Day – sees the complete revision of those standards come into play.

You won’t notice anything – you will not be heavier or lighter than yesterday – because the transition has been made to be seamless.

Just the definitions of the seven base units of the SI (Système International d’Unités, or the International System of Units) are now completely different from yesterday.

How we used to measure

Humans have always been able to count, but as we evolved we quickly moved to measuring lengths, weights and time.

The Egyptian Pharaohs caused pyramids to be built based on the length of the royal forearm, known as the Royal Cubit. This was kept and promulgated by engineer priests who maintained the standard under pain of death.

But the cubit wasn’t a fixed unit over time – it was about half a metre, plus or minus a few tens of millimetres by today’s measure.

The first suggestion of a universal set of decimal measures was made by John Wilkins, in 1668, then Secretary of the Royal Society in London.

The impetus for doing something practical came with the French Revolution. It was the French who defined the first standards of length and mass, with two platinum standards representing the metre and the kilogram on June 22, 1799, in the Archives de la République in Paris.

Agreed standards

Scientists backed the idea, the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss being particularly keen. Representatives of 17 nations came together to create the International System of Units by signing the Metre Convention treaty on May 20, 1875.

France, whose street cred had taken a battering in the Franco-Prussian war and was not the scientific power it once was, offered a beaten-up chateau in the Forest of Saint-Cloud as an international home for the new system.

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.)

The British, who had been prominent in the discussions and had provided the platinum-iridium kilogram, refused to sign the Treaty until 1884.

Even then the new system was only used by scientists, with everyday life being measured in traditional Imperial units such as pounds and ounces, feet and inches.

The United States signed the Treaty on the day, but then never actually implemented it, hanging on to its own version of the British Imperial system, which it still mostly uses today.

The US may have rued that decision in 1999, however, when the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) went missing in action. The report into the incident, quaintly called a “mishap” (which cost $193.1 million in 1999), said:

[…] the root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file, “Small Forces”, used in trajectory models.

Essentially the spacecraft was lost in the atmosphere of Mars as it entered orbit lower than planned.

The new SI definitions

So why the change today? The main problems with the previous definitions were, in the case of the kilogram, they were not stable and, for the unit of electric current, the ampere, could not be realised.

And from weighings against official copies, we think the Big K was slowly losing mass.

All the units are now defined in a common way using what the BIPM calls the “explicit constant” formulation.

The idea is that we take a universal constant – for example, the speed of light in a vacuum – and from now on fix its numerical value at our best-measured value, without uncertainty.

Reality is fixed, the number is fixed, and so the units are now defined.

We therefore needed to find seven constants and make sure all measurements are consistent, within measurement uncertainty, and then start the countdown to today. (All the technical details are available here.)

Australia had a hand in fashioning the roundest macroscopic object on the Earth, a silicon sphere used to measure the Avogadro constant, the number of entities in a fixed amount of substance. This now defines the SI unit, mole, used largely in chemistry.

From standard to artefact

What of the Big K – the standard kilogram? Today it becomes an object of great historical significance that can be weighed and its mass will have measurement uncertainty.

From today the kilogram is defined using the Planck constant, something that doesn’t change from quantum physics.

The challenge now though is to explain these new definitions to people – especially non-scientists – so they understand. Comparing a kilogram to a metal block is easy.

Technically a kilogram (kg) is now defined:

[…] by taking the fixed numerical value of the Planck constant hto be 6.626 070 15 × 10–34 when expressed in the unit J s, which is equal to kg m2 s–1, where the metre and the second are defined in terms of c and ΔνCs.

Try explaining that to someone!

David Brynn Hibbert, Emeritus Professor of Analytical Chemistry, UNSW



Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Green Back – How longer will it Remain World Currency …

Posted on October 7, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-03/the-tyranny-of-the-u-s-dollar?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Well, Well, Well – Facebook is Really an Ad Biz!!! …

Posted on July 19, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://slate.com/technology/2018/07/zuckerberg-called-trump-to-congratulate-him-after-winning-the-election-because-facebook-is-an-ad-u.html

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Trumps US – China Trade War …

Posted on July 11, 2018. Filed under: Business |

President Trump is doing what hardly any US President has ever done …. ….. ….  He just might end up making the US once again, Great …

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-trump-china-tariffs-20180711-story.html

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

US – China: Trade War …

Posted on July 5, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/trumps-trade-war-with-china-is-finally-here–and-it-wont-be-pretty/2018/07/05/0e43048c-802c-11e8-b9f0-61b08cdd0ea1_story.html?utm_term=.4363754ab492

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Colonialism in 21st Century …

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/how-a-nationalist-govt-lets-india-be-digitally-colonised/articleshow/64155509.cms

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Walmart in India …

Posted on May 12, 2018. Filed under: Business |

You Never Win with Walmart –

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/you-never-win-with-walmart-warns-man-who-tracked-american-behemoth/articleshow/64134786.cms

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

US – China Race in Hi-Tech …

Posted on May 7, 2018. Filed under: Business |

From CNN Tech – Some of the brightest minds in tech believe we are headed toward a bipolar future where the United States and China close their tech markets to one another and fight for conquest of the rest of the world.

There will be an American and a Chinese version of everything — an Amazon and an Alibaba; a Google and a Baidu; an Uber and a Didi Chuxing — and each pair will compete for rights to Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Tech dominance will be how the US and China establish political and economic influence over the rest of the world. The lines of the new geopolitical map will be drawn by tech companies, on a country-by-country basis. Longstanding political and military alliances will shift due to new economic considerations.

Today’s PACIFIC – Good morning. The US-China trade talks have ended without a deal.

In the last 10 days we’ve met with lawmakers in Washington, business leaders in Beverly Hills and VCs and tech executives in New Orleans. Guess what they all want to talk about? China. China. China. China. The issue is also likely to be a key focus at Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders summit in Omaha this weekend.

China’s rise as a technological power is, to me, the most important story of our time. As General David Petraeus said earlier this week at the Milken Global Conference, “There’s a new dialectic, a new competition of ideas.”

“Our political model is being contested,” said Tony Blair, on stage with Petraeus. “We have to understand our position in the world is going to be challenged not just economically but politically.”

Rise of China: Xi Jinping on offense – President Trump’s effort to slow China’s technological rise, including the threat of an executive order that would ban Huawei and ZTE from the US, has only emboldened China’s support of its tech and telecom firms.

• “President Xi Jinping has responded … by vowing to pour even more resources into research and achieve home-grown breakthroughs. He urged China last week to “cast aside illusions” it could rely on others for help.”

• During the trade talks, the US delegation asked China to stop subsidizing its technology companies. “The hosts said their technological advancement goal isn’t on the table.”

• “‘The more pressure the U.S. puts on China, the more urgently the country has to develop its own high-tech products to reduce reliance on the U.S.,’ said Xu Jianwei, a senior economist for greater China at Natixis SA in Hong Kong.”

The Big Picture: China is committed to a $300 billion Made in China 2025 development plan that would make it a global leader in ten categories, including robotics, biotech and aerospace. It is also committed to becoming “the world’s premier artificial intelligence innovation center” by 2030. US threats are highly unlikely to curb those ambitions.

What’s Next: “Investors are preparing for a blockbuster year of Chinese tech IPOs,” per CNNMoney’s Sherisse Pham: “Smartphone maker Xiaomi filed this week to go public in Hong Kong … It is one of several major Chinese tech companies that could make their stock exchange debuts this year.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

World Economies 2018 …

Posted on May 5, 2018. Filed under: Business |

1. United States $19.391 trillion
2. China $12.015 trillion
3. Japan $4.872 trillion
4. Germany $3.685 trillion
5. California $2.747 trillion
6. United Kingdom $2.625 trillion                                                                             7. India $2.611 trillion
8. France $2.584 trillion
9. Brazil $2.055 trillion
10. Italy $1.938 trillion
11. Texas $1.696 trillion
12. Canada $1.652 trillion                                                                                        13.  New York $1.547 trillion
14. South Korea $1.538 trillion
15. Russia $1.527 trillion

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

TATAs TCS Strides Strong …

Posted on April 25, 2018. Filed under: Business |

How did TCS manage to buck the trend when Indian IT companies are struggling with emerging technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence hitting their conventional business models and visa restrictions in the US impacting their revenues?

TCS has been quick in adapting to the changing business environment. “Our full-year growth has been lower than it has been in the recent past but our Q4 growth gives us optimism that we are back on to double-digit growth,” CEO Rajesh Gopin ..
It says building capabilities using talent from its nearly 4,00,000 workforce and help incubate new ideas keeps it relevant in a market that is witnessing technology shifts.

Last year, TCS launched an ambitious artificial intelligence product, Ignio. Indian IT companies have so far always sold their AI platforms as part of services and TCS is among the first to sell it as a standalone product. “TCS has taken a different app ..

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...