Things are going to get a bit lighter...

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Graham's Number
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Things are going to get a bit lighter...

Postby Graham's Number » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:24 pm UTC

Here is an interesting article on Wired.com about scientists making a new standard for the kilogram. Apparently, the current standard has lost as much as 50 micrograms over the past century and so they've decided it's time for a new one. Apparently it will be the 'roundest object in the world', surpassing even the Gravity Probe B gyroscopes.
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Postby GusPatsy » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:23 am UTC

It does look awesome, so I guess I'm okay with it, as long as they choose a name equal to or better than "Le Grand K!" Pressure's on Aussies.
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Postby Pathway » Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:35 am UTC

Why, oh why, is the kilogram not defined as a multiple of the rest mass of some particle?
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Postby Gelsamel » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:19 am UTC

Well technically it's defined as how ever many molecules etc. are in the standard times it's molecular mass.

However if you want to compare this mass against something then you would need to weigh it against the standard, but the standard is consistently under wear and tear, they can minimize it but not get rid of it. Thus after a long period of time the standard will have lost a significant amount of mass.
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Postby Zohar » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:54 pm UTC

Pathway wrote:Why, oh why, is the kilogram not defined as a multiple of the rest mass of some particle?


It doesn't matter really, considering you'd never be able to count the molecules accurately enough. A definition is useless if you can't employ it, regardless of how accurate or well defined it is.
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Postby zenten » Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:17 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Well technically it's defined as how ever many molecules etc. are in the standard times it's molecular mass.

However if you want to compare this mass against something then you would need to weigh it against the standard, but the standard is consistently under wear and tear, they can minimize it but not get rid of it. Thus after a long period of time the standard will have lost a significant amount of mass.


Look at periodic table, and get the atomic mass of the element being used. Multiply that by the number given. Tada, you now have a standard.

Now, that won't actually help you measure, but you can now do your own measurements to find out, and as such we're not relying on the physical integrity of a one kilogram object in a vault somewhere.

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Postby Khonsu » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:21 pm UTC

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Postby Schmendreck » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:10 am UTC

If we now have the technology to measure the standard within a few micrograms and tell whether it is correct or not, what is even the point of a new standard?

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Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:11 am UTC

zenten wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Well technically it's defined as how ever many molecules etc. are in the standard times it's molecular mass.

However if you want to compare this mass against something then you would need to weigh it against the standard, but the standard is consistently under wear and tear, they can minimize it but not get rid of it. Thus after a long period of time the standard will have lost a significant amount of mass.


Look at periodic table, and get the atomic mass of the element being used. Multiply that by the number given. Tada, you now have a standard.

Now, that won't actually help you measure, but you can now do your own measurements to find out, and as such we're not relying on the physical integrity of a one kilogram object in a vault somewhere.


After all, the meter's length keeps changing a bit as we get more and more precise in measuring the speed of light.
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Postby Vaniver » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:32 am UTC

If we now have the technology to measure the standard within a few micrograms and tell whether it is correct or not, what is even the point of a new standard?
You need something to calibrate your measuring devices with, and you need some number to settle on. Saying "it agrees with Le Grand Scale" is as bad as "it's the measurement of Le Grand K."
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Postby Gelsamel » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:41 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:After all, the meter's length keeps changing a bit as we get more and more precise in measuring the speed of light.


Not the length of a meter, just how accurate we've measured the meter.

Edit: Also, zenten you said "that won't actually help you measure"

Then you say "you can now do your own measurements to find out".

Not sure what you're trying to say... how would we do the measurements? Unless we had some standard to compare it against?
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