The definition of a kilogram is officially going to change

Scientists set to change definition of the kilogram

The definition of a kilogram is set to change

Although the value of the kilogram will not change, the redefinition of the kilogram using a constant will ensure it remains reliable, and enable far more accurate mass measurements in the future.

The new method, decided at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Paris on Friday, will be a formula called the "Planck constant".

"We will now no longer be bound by the limitations of objects in our measurement of the world, but have universally accessible units that can pave the way to even greater accuracy, and even accelerate scientific advancement", he said.

The Kilogram update will bring an electrical measurement that Dr Stuart says will be "more stable, more accurate and more egalitarian".

At a meeting Friday in Versailles, France, representatives from the USA and 59 other nations adopted a resolution to define the familiar unit of mass in terms of the Planck constant, an unvarying and infinitesimal number at the heart of quantum physics. "I hope that such votes will be possible for many other issues in the world", said Sebastien Candel, president of the French Academy of Sciences.

"This is the most important decision that the BIPM has made in maybe 100 years, which may be a slight exaggeration, but at least since 1960 when they adopted the International System of Units", Terry Quinn, emeritus director of the BIPM, told Engadget last year.

Since 1889, a kilogram has been defined by a shiny lump of platinum-iridium kept in a special glass case and known as the global prototype of the kilogram. The second is defined as 9,192,631,770 natural oscillations of microwave radiation released by the element cesium and the meter is defined as the distance traveled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second.

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A kilogram was equal to the heft of this metal, and the cylinder, by definition, weighed exactly a kilogram.

"Those units, those constants chosen now, include everything we know, everything we have always known and provide that springboard for us to go pursue those things that we don't know", he said.

The current kilogram mass exerts a specific amount of force in Earth's gravity. The new formula-based definition of the kilogram will have multiple advantages over the precision-crafted metal lump that has set the standard for more than a century. It is also created to facilitate today's constant technical innovations.

The resolution will take effect on May 20, 2019.

In a similar way, the SI unit for the ampere will now be based on the constant for the charge of the electron.

In 2013, scientists discovered that the kilogram Prototype had gained tens of micrograms of mass from surface contamination.

Unlike the old physical measurement, the new "electric kilo" formula can not accumulate particles of dust and pollution, decay over a period of time time, or be dropped and damaged.

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