How to define a kilogram instead of just weighing a random chunk of metal

So we just listened to a fascinating story on NPR about how a kilogram is defined as the weight of a cylinder of metal that is stored somewhere in England. There are several official “copies” of that kilogram that are used to set the standard. But now, apparently, not all the copies weigh the same as the original. So the guys at the bureau of weights and measures want to replace this object with a number.

But figuring out what that number should be is proving to be complicated. They are using a scale that is so sensitive that it detects variances in the Earth’s magnetic field and is affected by earthquakes on the other side of the planet. Oh, and then there is the matter of the raccoons that keep getting into the little shed in the woods where they keep the scale…but i’ll leave you to listen to that story on

They’ve spent 13 years trying to figure it out and think they’ll have the answer in another 6 years. But, I have an idea. . .

To determine the official weight of a kilogram: weigh that cylinder in a vacuum once a second for a lunar month and then average all those numbers out to find THE number.

This will help to compensate for the variances in magnetic field strength and other natural influences while at the same time “basing” the measurement on a division of time it takes the Earth to go around the sun as well as the amount of time it takes the moon to go around the Earth.

Or am I missing something?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top