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Meet NIST's League of SI Superheroes!

The League of SI Superheroes use their incredible powers of measurement to perform amazing feats of science and engineering.

Emerging from their environmentally shielded world headquarters at NIST, the superheroes are dedicated to the fight against uncertainty, imprecision and inaccuracy and to improving the quality of our lives and the things we build.

The League of SI Superheroes' work is never done. They toil tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the measurements that interweave our lives are as accurate and precise as possible. And they hope to release another of their harrowing adventures to the public soon.

In their pilot episode, Desperate Measures, the SI Superheroes use the power of measurement to help a stranded soccer player get home:

In their second suspenseful episode, Running Out of Time, the League battles archvillain Major Uncertainty in a race to keep the world's satellite navigation system "on time" to help a traveler and his son lost in the desert:

In their third episode, the nefarious Major Uncertainty has kidnapped Monsieur Kilogram, putting the world’s measurements of mass in jeopardy. As the world spirals into Mass Hysteria, the remaining SI Superheroes, champions of the metric system, leap into action to save the day, and hopefully Monsieur Kilogram as well:

Learn more about the League of SI Superheroes and measurement.

The Superheroes:

With his immensely strong arms, Monsieur Kilogram is the master of mass.

The kilogram is a cylinder of special metal about 39 millimeters wide by 39 millimeters tall that serves as the world’s mass standard.

By reading the vibrations of her laser-cooled cesium atoms, Professor Second can synchronize any frequency and correct any clock.

A second is the time it takes an excited cesium atom to vibrate 9,192,631,770 times.

With his sharp eyes and stretchy ruler arms, no distance is too big or small for Meter Man to measure.

A meter is the distance light travels in a tiny fraction of a second.

Ms. Ampere has a shocking amount of power over the flow of electrons—electrical current.

In practical terms, an ampere is the measure of the flow of electrons past a point—about 6 quintillion electrons (that’s a 6 followed by 18 zeros!) per second.

With the ability to speed up or slow down particles, Dr. Kelvin can measure any temperature.

The Kelvin temperature scale begins at absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature and the point at which even atoms would stand perfectly still.

Don’t let her small size fool you, Candela’s power over light helps to brighten the whole world.

A candela is a measure of brightness about equal to the light given off by a single candle.

Able to sniff out and count the atoms of every element, the Mole is the king of chemistry.

Equal to about 600 sextillion (that’s a 6 followed by 23 zeros!), a mole is a shorthand way to talk about huge numbers, especially of tiny things.

An alien invader from parts unknown, Major Uncertainty uses his less-than-trustworthy monkey wrench to generate a dreadful "chaos beam," which causes us to doubt the accuracy and precision of our measurements.

Major Uncertainty feeds on this doubt, which makes him bigger, stronger, and less pleasant to be around.

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Created: May 1, 2015
Last updated: February 02, 2016
Contact: inquiries@nist.gov


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