Kilogram Gets A Makeover – India

Kilogram Gets A Makeover

India has adopted a global resolution to update the International Systems of Units (SI) that redefines the basic unit – Kilogram.


  • With the adoption of the resolution, the textbook definition of the kilogram is set to get a makeover.
  • So far, the measure of a kilogram is derived from the weight of a block of platinum-iridium alloy present in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (IBWM), France.
  • A reference block is housed at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi.
  • The resolution now puts an end to the measure basic units using physical objects.
  • The Kilogram will now be defined based on the Planck Constant.
  • Planck Constant: It is a constant of nature that relates to how mater releases energy.

Kibble Balance:

  • NPL is the official keeper of units of measurement.
  • After the adoption of the resolution, it has recommended updating the definition of kilogram in all school textbooks, engineering textbooks, and course curriculum.
  • The institute is also looking to develop its own ‘Kibble Balance’, a device that measures Planck Constant.
  • As per NPL, the cost of developing the device is Rs. 50 crore.

Does It Mean Replacing The Common Weight?

  • The change in definition doesn’t mean that existing Kg weights are thrown out.
  • Everyday calibration whether for retail weighing or high-precision weighing, it will be the same as before.
  • But, in the decades to come, with advancements in science and technology, the new units are set to play an important role.

Quantum World:

  • The resolution was passed in November 2018 at the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (IBWM).
  • The resolution was adopted by over 100 countries.
  • It also includes change of reference to units like – Kelvin, Mole and Ampere.
  • All the seven basic units – Kilogram, Kelvin, Mole, Ampere, Second, Metre, and Candela – are now linked to fundamental constants or quantum constants that are invariants of time and space.
  • This has opened up a new era for the quantum world which humanity is slowly coming to grasp of.
  • The numerous possibilities in the quantum world need universal standard units that are not dependent on artifacts (that can degrade over time).

Recommend Current Affairs:

Units And Calculation:

  • Metre – Calculated based on the speed of light
  • Kilogram – Calculated from Planck Constant
  • Second – Calculated based on radiation of caesium-33 atom
  • Ampere – calculated based on electron’s charge
  • Kelvin – Calculated based on boatsman constant
  • Mole – Calculated based on Avogardro Constant
  • Candela – From efficacy of light of specific frequency
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