writes: Electromechanical balances have got to be better than an aged lump of platinum and iridium right? Teams are working to get kilograms measured and shipped to Paris in time for a test to see whether the technology (along with another that uses ultrapure silicon spheres) is now ready to redefine the kilogram.
Why is this redefinition interesting? Because it's about using physics to overcome one problem with weight standards based on tightly held exemplars in standards bodies' inner sanctums: the mass of those exemplars can change, however subtly, introducing uncertainty and confusion. From the article: The world's metrologists aim to change this state of affairs in 2018 by fixing the kilogram to the Planck constant, a fundamental physical constant. That shift would, at least in principle, allow any laboratory to "realize" the kilogram from scratch with a series of experiments and specialized equipment. But for that scheme to work, the kilogram derived by one laboratory must be the same as those derived by others.