Sunday, 29 March 2015

weights and measures or avogadro’s number

German alchemists in Braunschweig (DE/EN), hoping to counter the ultimately violate nature of relying on a physical and slowly dematerialising objects for the definition of the kilogram—the prototypical and fiat Kilogram being a lump of metal housed in a safe in Paris, are hoping to restate the standard purely in numerical terms.
Should this elusive, precise number of atoms that makes up a mass of exactly one kilogram be calculated, then the definition becomes something constant and re-duplicable everywhere, not subject to the ravages of time, albeit they minuscule. As an intermediate step researchers are creating something that they can count with the requisite accuracy, a flawless crystal ball, whose elemental silicon lattice structure is being crafted to have the target-mass of one kilo, not speck more or less. Having a model independent of some artefact for weights and measures is certainly something, but repairing to precision on this level—as science is doing with time as well—makes me wonder if the Universe, even on a human-scale, isn’t supposed to wind-down a little bit, allowed to grow a little dotty and disperse in old age and the expectation of consistency is an illusionary or a false one.