Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

SI Educational Opportunity at NIST

On Friday, April 16, 2010, 10:30 am, Terry Quinn, Director Emeritus, BIPM will present "The Metre, The Kilogram and the Creation of the BIPM" during the NIST Colloquium Series. The event will be held at the NIST Administration building, Green Auditorium. Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge. For more information, contact: Kum Ham, 301-975-4203, kham [at] (kham[at]nist[dot]gov). Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.


The cubit, the foot, and the yard, and the grain, the stone, and the pound -- after more than 2000 years of use, it was time for a fundamental change. This is the story of events and personalities surrounding the Metre Commission in 1872, the Diplomatic Conference of the Metre Convention in 1875, and the 15 years of work that led to the new international prototypes of the metre and the kilogram being adopted by the first General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1889. This all epitomises the fact, well known but sometimes overlooked, that it is personal, institutional and national pride and aims that decide the outcome of events such as these. Location: Administration Building, Green Auditorium.

Graphic Credit: International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), Sevres, France

By selecting these links, you will be leaving NIST webspace. We have provided these links to other web sites because they may have information that would be of interest to you. No inferences should be drawn on account of other sites being referenced, or not, from this page. There may be other web sites that are more appropriate for your purpose. NIST does not necessarily endorse the views expressed, or concur with the facts presented on these sites. Further, NIST does not endorse any commercial products that may be mentioned on these sites. Please address comments about this page to TheSI [at] (TheSI[at]nist[dot]gov)
Created June 9, 2010, Updated August 25, 2016