Nations finally approved on Friday a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements, coming together in a way that they fail to do on so many other issues behind new definitions for the kilogram and other scientific units.
Scientists witnessed years of work come to a payoff and satisfaction as they cheered on receiving the nod from over 50 nations to the update. Nobel prize winner William Phillips called it the greatest revolution in the metrics system of meters and kilogram.
“Grand K” kilogram, a cylinder of polished platinum-iridium alloy that has been the world’s sole true kilo since 1889, is set to retire. The decision took place in Versailles in the west of Paris. The new formula based definition will have numerous advantages over the precision-crafted metal lump that has set the standard for more than a century.
The metal kilo is being replaced by a definition based on Planck’s constant, which is part of one of the most celebrated equations in physics but also really difficult to understand.