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.

"What is The SI?" A Proposal for an Educational Adjunct to the Redefinition of the International System of Units

Published

Author(s)

Neil M. Zimmerman, David B. Newell

Abstract

We discuss how the likely 2018 redefinition of the SI system of units might affect the ability of students to understand the link between the units and the new system. The likely redefinition will no longer define a set of base units, but rather a set of constants of nature, such as the speed of light $c$ and a particular hyperfine splitting in Cs $\Δ\nu(^{133}$Cs)$\sub{}{hfs}$. We point out that this list of constants need not be the only way to introduce students to the subject, either in class or in textbooks. We suggest an alternative way to introduce high school and undergraduate students to the redefined SI, by suggesting a list of experiments for some units; this list would be completely compatible with the redefined SI, and would have all of the same scientific and technological advantages. We demonstrate by questionnaire results that this alternative is more appealing to students. We hope to spur a discussion amongst teachers regarding this important topic for high school and undergraduate physics courses.
Citation
Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Volume
123

Keywords

SI units, redefinition, introduction for students

Citation

Zimmerman, N. and Newell, D. (2018), "What is The SI?" A Proposal for an Educational Adjunct to the Redefinition of the International System of Units, Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/jres.123.024 (Accessed August 10, 2022)
Created December 14, 2018, Updated December 17, 2018