Air Canada managed to have a passenger aircraft run out of fuel in mid-air due to confusion about metric units (Stephenson in Mars climate orbiter mishap investigation board phase I report, NASA, 1999), and NASA lost an entire spacecraft due to a misunderstanding amongst engineers about the units used in the propulsion system design (Witkin in Jet's fuel ran out after metric conversion errors, The New York Times, 1983). Measurements only make sense if the units are correct and well-defined. A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude of a quantity, defined by convention or law. Any other quantity of that kind can then be expressed as a multiple or submultiple of the unit of measurement. The Egyptians used the Farao as definite magnitude, while many years later, the french revolutionists introduced the earth as a reference and laid the foundations for the modern decimal system. Since recently, we have a truly universal and stable system that uses physics's natural constants and laws to define the base units of measurement. This paper explains how this new concept works and how it is implemented in practice.

The fundamental constants of physics and the International System of Units / Wiersma, Diederik Sybolt; Mana, Giovanni. - In: RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI. - ISSN 2037-4631. - (2021). [10.1007/s12210-021-01022-z]

The fundamental constants of physics and the International System of Units

Wiersma, Diederik Sybolt;Mana, Giovanni
2021

Abstract

Air Canada managed to have a passenger aircraft run out of fuel in mid-air due to confusion about metric units (Stephenson in Mars climate orbiter mishap investigation board phase I report, NASA, 1999), and NASA lost an entire spacecraft due to a misunderstanding amongst engineers about the units used in the propulsion system design (Witkin in Jet's fuel ran out after metric conversion errors, The New York Times, 1983). Measurements only make sense if the units are correct and well-defined. A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude of a quantity, defined by convention or law. Any other quantity of that kind can then be expressed as a multiple or submultiple of the unit of measurement. The Egyptians used the Farao as definite magnitude, while many years later, the french revolutionists introduced the earth as a reference and laid the foundations for the modern decimal system. Since recently, we have a truly universal and stable system that uses physics's natural constants and laws to define the base units of measurement. This paper explains how this new concept works and how it is implemented in practice.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11696/71890
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