What to know

The Definition of Kilogram Is Changing

The platinum-iridium alloy known as Le Grand K is no longer the measurement definition of a kilogram

Since 1889, a piece of platinum-iridium alloy known as “Le Grand K” has been the definition of a kilogram.

How much is kilogram exactly? Well we know that a kilogram is a kilogram by comparing it to other things of the same weight, or by weighing with a scale. But how do we know how much a kilogram is exactly?

Locked away in a Paris vault, lies what is known as the “Le Grand K”, a polished rod of platinum-iridium alloy, which, along with its clones stored around the world, is the exact kilogram. All other kilograms in the world rely on it for authentication.

But when scientists unanimously voted to change the way a kilogram is defined, the “Le Grand K” was put out of business. Scientists and representatives from 60 countries attended the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, France, to witness the occasion.

Alongside the true kilogram, scientists voted for three other International System of Units (SI), the ampere, the kelvin and the mole.

Don’t expect the change to have an effect on your weight or everyday life, it is more a modernization of how we keep track of how much a kilogram is rather than anything else. Starting May 2019, all units of measurements will be based on constants of nature. This way, the “control” is not in risk of decay, falling, or picking up dust, changing its true value.

It might not seem of much important to the average Joe, but this will help make scientific measurements and calculations more precise.

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