New measures for size, as world’s people surpass 8 billion

PARIS — What is bigger: A ronna or a quetta?

Scientists meeting outside of Paris on Friday — who have expanded the world’s measuring unit systems for the first time this century as the global population surges past 8 billion — have the answer.

Rapid scientific advances and vast worldwide data storage on the web, in smartphones and in the cloud mean that the very terms used to measure things in weight and size need extending too. And one British scientist led the push Friday to incorporate bold new, tongue-twisting prefixes on the gigantic and even the minuscule scale.

“Most people are familiar with prefixes like milli- as in milligram. But these are prefixes for the biggest and smallest levels ever measured,” Dr Richard Brown, head of Metrology at the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory who proposed the four new prefixes, told The Associated Press.

“In the last 30 years, the datasphere has increased exponentially, and data scientists have realized they will no longer have words to describe the levels of storage. These terms are upcoming, the future,” he explained.

There’s the gargantuan “ronna” (that’s 27 zeros after the one) and its big brother the “quetta” – (that’s 30 zeros).

Their ant-sized counterparts are the “ronto” (27 zeros after the decimal point), and the “quecto” (with 30 zeros after the decimal point) — representing the smaller numbers needed for quantum science and particle physics.

Brown presented the new prefixes to officials from 64 nations attending the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, outside of Paris — who approved them on Friday.

The conference, which takes place every four years in France, is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The new terms take effect immediately, marking the first time since 1991 that any new additions have been made.

Brown said the new terms also make it easier to describe things scientists already know about — reeling off a list of the smallest and biggest things discovered by humankind.

Did you know that the mass of an electron is one rontogram? And that a byte of data on a mobile increases the phone’s mass by one quectogram?

Further from home, the planet Jupiter is two just quettagrams in mass. While, incredibly, “the diameter of the entire observable universe is just one ronnameter,” Brown said.

He explained how the new names were not chosen at random: The first letter of the new prefixes had to be one not used in other prefixes and units.

“There were only the letters ‘r’ and ‘q’ that weren’t already taken. Following that, there’s a precedent that they sound similar to Greek letters and that big number prefixes end with an ‘a’ and smaller numbers with an ‘o,’” he added.

“It was high time. (We) need new words as things expand,” Brown said. “In just a few decades, the world has become a very different place.”

Source ABC

A tech blog author and superhero who writes about technology and its impact on society, business, and everyday life

Related Posts

On anniversary of NASA’s Webb telescope reaching destination, here are the most striking images so far

Tuesday marks one year since the James Webb Space Telescope reached its destination, orbiting 1 million miles away from Earth. The Webb telescope, which was launched on Christmas Day in…

Read more

Laravel – Geoip find timezone by country and region

In PHP 8.1 and Laravel, you can use the geoip package to find the timezone based on the country and region. The package provides an easy-to-use interface to the MaxMind…

Read more

Why some major Texas universities are blocking TikTok access on internet networks

A host of major Texas universities announced overnight that they have banned TikTok from government-issued devices and restricted access to the social media app on their internet networks. The University…

Read more

Collection of voice data for profit raises privacy fears

A customer-service center uses artificial intelligence to identify a caller’s agitation, an insurance company scans voice data to flag illness and raise rates, a five-star restaurant denies a reservation over…

Read more

Company creates 2 artificial intelligence interns: ‘They are hustling and grinding’

Artificial intelligence isn’t just making inroads in technology. Soon, AI may replace human beings in jobs as evidenced by one company that has created two AI interns. Kyle Monson, co-founder…

Read more

World leaders unprepared for rise in cyberwarfare in the ’90s, author says

World leaders were not prepared for the rise in cyberwarfare in the ’90s and today they still need to stay vigilant, according to an author who has been tracking online…

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *