NIST symposium to highlight metric system

May 20 is World Metrology Day, and NIST is planning a celebration

In case you hadn't heard, this Wednesday is World Metrology Day, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is all about metrics, is celebrating with a symposium at its headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures established May 20 as World Metrology Day. It might sound frivolous, but the name of the symposium indicates otherwise: “Measurements in Commerce: Metrology Underpinning Economic Development.” In these trying times, anything that can help underpin economic development is welcome.

One of the topics being covered is what NIST’s Elizabeth Gentry calls the United States’ subtle transition to the International System of Units, commonly known as the metric system. For example, food nutrition labels are expressed almost exclusively in the metric system. The use of metric measurements in international markets makes them increasingly important to U.S. business, and Gentry said consumers are getting a feel for metric units without necessarily realizing it. Assuming they read nutrition labels, of course.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

inside gcn

  • power grid (elxeneize/

    Electric grid protection through low-cost sensors, machine learning

Reader Comments

Wed, May 20, 2009

For those Morons that think the Metric system is a Panicea, think again. The standard families of Metric finethread nuts and bolts will always freeze up in corrosive environments first, because their pitch to diameter is as they is! Likewise, there is nothing so stupid than having to deal with fractional mm anything, so please go soak your heads. Besides, WW-II was won with English made hardware, that pretty much proves that war-mongering humans still need the English Measurement System if it is to survive.

Fri, May 15, 2009 Windstone

This blog run by a Frenchman living in the United States ( published in last December a rumor about the United States going metric very soon. Would it be the first step ?

Thu, May 14, 2009 Bob Chicago, IL

We may use metric units in a few areas, but we really need to move forward to the metric system in the USA. We are way behind everyone else in using this superior standard of measure. Our feet, inches, and gallons just don't cut it compared to logical metric units.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group