Heads Up, High School Class of ’19: New Measurement Unit Definitions Are Coming

In 2018, the SI's seven base units (top row) are expected to be redefined in terms of invariant fundamental universal constants (bottom). A new publication will help high-school teachers communicate this change in the classroom. Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

From NIST News January 23, 2017

Next year, scientists expect to change the way we define the basic units with which we measure our universe. An article by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) written for teachers will help ensure high school physics students are hip to the news.

The brief, six-page article (link is external), which appears in this month’s issue of The Physics Teacher, is designed to be a resource for teachers who are introducing the International System of Units (SI) into their classrooms. The SI, as the modern form of the metric system, has seven fundamental units, including the meter and the second. It is expected that in 2018, for the first time in history, all seven of these units will be defined in terms of fundamental constants of the universe such as the speed of light or the charge of a single electron. Only recently were all the relevant fundamental constants known with sufficient certainty to make such a redefinition possible, and the authors are eager to help students realize the change’s importance.

Source: https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2017/01/heads-high-school-class-19-new-measurement-unit-definitions-are-coming

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