Show and Tell: The Kilogram

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 4:00 pm
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every Wednesday Mel & Jeziel catch up on the last week and share something they’ve learnt in the last 7 days for show and tell. Whether, it be a mind blowing moment or a small ah-uhhh moment, they bring it to the family to share they’ve learnt.

This week Jeziel discovered something a little heavy.

In a vault, deep beneath a castle in Paris, sits an apple sized, metal cylindar. This perfectly balanced chunk of platinum-iridium alloy determines the weight of the world.

That’s right, there is the kilogram. Forged after the French revolution, the international prototype of the kilogram was made. Lovingly known as “Le Grand K”, this is the weight against which all other weights are measured. Since 1889, The kilogram has only been disturbed 4 times. It’s vault may only be opened when the 3 living keyholders turn their keys at the same time (for security reasons these keyholders must be of different nationalities.)

the kilogram show and tell

But, the kilogram will soon be out of a job. Scientists all over the world have decided that there must be a more accurate way to measure weight. Each time Le Grand K has been taken out to use, it is cleaned and by the time it goes back into it’s vault, it has lost 50 milograms (the weight of 1 grain of sand). This is too inaccurate. The kilogram  will be replaced with a universal formula that defines the kilogram using the quantum laws of nature.

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