Ronnometers and quettagrams will join the international system of units tomorrow

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Ronnometers and quettagrams will join the international system of units tomorrow
Ronnometers and quettagrams will join the international system of units tomorrow
18 November, 11:28SciencePhoto: Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images
The last additions were made over 30 years ago.

On Friday, the international system of units (SI) may be replenished with new prefixes, according to NewScientist. If the members of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) at Versailles vote in favor of this, then the prefixes "ronto" and "quecto" for the smallest numbers with 27 and 30 zeros and "ronna" and "queetta" for the most large.

SI is the standard accepted by most scientists and is the basis of all measurements. In addition to the kilogram and meter familiar to us, it determines how very large and very small numbers should be called. The last addition was made to the SI in 1991, when numbers with 21 or 24 zeros were given the prefixes "zetta" and "iotta" (large numbers) "zepto" and "iokto" (small numbers). Those changes were adopted ahead of time - at that time there was almost no reason to use them. However, with the growth of data created and stored on the Internet, they have become relevant - according to forecasts, by 2025 the volume of information will reach 175 zettabytes.

Some scholars are skeptical about the innovation. However, its initiators believe that "ronto" and "quecto" could find applications in radio astronomy - for example, to measure the very weak power of the cosmic microwave background left after the big bang. In addition, having a standard means that researchers can communicate their information more easily. According to scientists who participated in the development of new prefixes, the next ones will appear no earlier than in a quarter of a century.

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