The new kilogram and how scientists showed us the way

Scientists from 60 nations approved a new definition of the kilogram on Friday. For over a hundred years, the weight of a kilogram was based on a hunk of metal (Platinium Iridium to be precise) in France.

For industries and research that depend on pinpoint measurement accuracy, basing our measurement on a hunk of metal resulted in minor discrepancies over time. However, with Friday’s vote, the scientists agreed to base it on the “Planck’s constant” – a value that will stay constant over time.

Jon Pratt, one of the leading scientists, grinned with pride as he acknowledged a symbolic moment. As the Washington Post put it beautifully – “It is an acknowledgment of an immutable truth — that nature has laws to which all of us are subject. And it’s one more step toward a lofty dream — that, in understanding nature’s laws, scientists can help build a better world.”

To summarize, we had a certain approach to measuring something important. Scientists realized that there was a better way. So, they figured out a path to the better way and had peers from all over the world sign off on the change.

At this time of contention and discord, that is such a big deal.

I am grateful to the scientific community for showing us how change for the better gets done.