Holy moley

Refining Avogadro constant could lead to a more reliable kilogram

By Marissa Cevallos, 18:44 PM October 18, 2010

The kilogram may finally get a break from its yo-yo diet. An international team of scientists is closer to redefining the unit of mass based on fundamental constants, instead of a piece of metal in France that loses weight only to put it back on again.

Since 1889, the international standard for the kilogram has been a cylinder of platinum, tucked under a glass jar inside another glass jar, stored in a vault outside Paris. But despite exceedingly stringent storage conditions, the cylinder (and...

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