Talk:Metre/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
< Talk:Metre  (Redirected from Talk:Metre/Archive1)
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2

Speed of light

Some of the comments below were added on or before 1 November 2001.

From a previous revision:

The speed of light is believed to be constant everywhere, and thus a definition based on light is easier to maintain and more consistent than a measurement based on the circumference of the Earth or the length of a metal bar.

Good concept, but I can't see how to integrate it nicely in the History section. Anybody?

As far as I know (and forgive me if I'm wrong) but the speed of light is not constant everywhere. In Physics, (and I'm quoting from my Year 11 Physics text book, 'Physics Impact'), it states "When light travels fom one medium to another it may change its speed... [it] causes the change in the direction of the light ray". So you should refer specifically to the 'speed of light in a vacuum' or 'speed of light in air'. Don't assume it's always the same.
You are right -- speed of light in a vacuum is constant, but speed of light can vary from medium to medium. The article makes clear that it is talking about speed of light in a vacuum -- the above quote is from an earlier revision (I think). -- SJK
Perhaps a more precise refinement of this statement would be to say that the speed of light in a vacuum in the absense of external gravitational forces is believed to be a universal constant. Since it's the whole basis for a metre, it seems relevant to include in the first paragraph of the main article when the metre is being defined? --Abqwildcat 22:18, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thought about it a bit, and decided it's not key to include in the main definition at the top of the article, but some mention would seem important. Gravity affects the path and depending upon the theoretical framework in mind MAY affect the speed of the light. The fact that this constant may not be constant and thus our metre may not be constant seems important. --Abqwildcat 22:22, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
We should retain the current definition because a vacuum is a space entirely devoid of matter, so there are no gravitational forces. While it may be the case that this is an impossibility in the Real universe, it is the case in the theoretical, closed system of absolute vacuum to which the definition refers. The appropriate modification in this case may be to change "vacuum" to "absolute vacuum". Also, this is the definition established by the authoritative International Bureau of Weights and Measures and used worldwide for all purposes.
I'm not especially knowledgeable in physics but, as I understand it, gravity wouldn't change the scalar speed of light so much as it would change the relation between the local time and the reference time. That is, while light may seem to be going slower when measuring it from the reference frame, in the local frame it would be going at the same universal constant speed in terms of distance and duration. - Centrx 23:32, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Exactly. After looking around a bit, I came to the same conclusion. It may warrant mentioning in the article, but the as I can tell - only the local definition of time would be changed. Absolutely correct. That also changes lengths, but I'm perfectly happy with changing vacuum to absolute vacuum. --Abqwildcat 23:37, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
You'd probably be best to say the "speed of light in an absolute vacuum in an intertial frame of reference" but this little birdie is telling me that we might be best to leave the general relativity aside on this one. Anyone who knows about this knows we mean in an inertial frame. Anyone who doesn't will just get bewildered. By the by, an absolute vacuum doesn't entail and absence of gravity. Suppose you could create an absolute vacuum in a little jar here on Earth, you'll still have gravity inside the jar. Jimp 10Oct05
Wouldn't it be sensible to bypass all this and link to Speed of light? That way the comparatively simple idea of defining a metre in terms of the speed of light is presented and curious readers can surf on to get more detail about c. robharper 2005-10-17

History of the metric system

Perhaps we should have a page dedicated to the history of the metric system (itself rather fascinating). From there, one might explain how and why the different measurements were chosen. --Fleeb

Perhaps this page sould be Metric system. Jimp 10Oct05
There is a History section in metric system. I know, I added a little bit to it, as well as the section of Goals which gives some background of why it was done the way it was. --DevaSatyam 07:54, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
How about a section on the Metric System as a Failed Experiment? Over 200 years later, it has failed to sweep the world. Maybe it's time to change back. Part of the resistance, I think, is that the units are so ludricrous--one ten-millionth the distance from the pole to the equator? Makes a neat definition, but what does that have to do with people? Up until that Michael Palin guy, that's a trip that no one had ever made. A pascal, supposed to be a unit of pressure, is so tiny that it's really a unit of vacuum. Centigrade/Celsius--so water boils at 0 and freezes at 100--no wait, that was Celsius's original definition, later reversed--why? Herr Fahrenheit was much more sensible: 0 is just about as cold as it gets, and 100 is about as hot as it gets--what could be more human? BillFlis 23:34, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Don't you think what you propose would violate NPOV? Besides, you are factually wrong: The metric system is used exclusively virtually anywhere in the world. Just not in the states ;) Esthurin 22:23, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Warning - dont go for a barbeque at BillFlis's place, any meat will be dangerously under cooked. Markb 11:26, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Should the Earth be lost or destroyed ...

Article said:

Since the speed of light is believed to be constant everywhere, a definition based on light is easier to maintain and more consistent than a measurement based on the circumference of the Earth or the length of a specific metal bar. Thus, should either object be destroyed or lost, the standard meter can still be easily recreated in any laboratory.

LOL! Destorying or losing the circumfrence of the Earth! (Made it less humorous now.) -- SJK

drat, I shouldn't have drawn attention to the article again with that little edit. I was wondering how long that joke would last in there. :) -BD

Improvement, especially wrt prefixes

This page could do with some improvement.

Discussion moved to Talk:Units of measurement/Format of articles about units

Multiple talk pages (metre, volt, coulomb) were discussing formats of unit articles. The talk page of Units of measurement seems more appropriate. Hope that is ok. Bobblewik 17:24, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Orders of magnitude

Um, why does the Orders of magnitude section only go down from the meter? Shouldn't we list decameter, hectometer, kilometer, megameter, gigameter, terameter, petameter, exameter, zettameter, and yottameter too? --Angr/tɔk tə mi 1 July 2005 06:12 (UTC)

Of those, only "kilometer" is even remotely commonly used. Unless there is something notable about a particular order of magnitude in terms of meters, it can easily be derived through the SI prefix article. In particular, for extremely large distances, either scientific notation is used, or a larger unit altogether such as the astronomical unit, light year, or parsec is used. Finally, the more esoteric units are already listed in the article Orders of magnitude (length). --Dachannien 21:37, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Electron diameter

Was listed as about 1 am (10-18 m). However the article Classical electron radius gives the (non-quantum) radius as 3 fm (10-15 m). And the article on the electron makes clear that specifying any size at all is misleading as quantum properties indicate an electron is effectively a dimensionless point with no substructure. --Blainster 6 July 2005 23:43 (UTC)

Calling it a point is misleading too. Jimp 10Oct05

10000/254 inch

The introduction states that 1 m is 10000/254 inch. Only after that the calculation is made. Am I to understand that the inch is defined in terms of the metre? If so, that should be stated, I'd say. DirkvdM 13:03, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

It is. Well, technically it is the yard which is officially defined as 0.9144 m, worldwide since 1959, and the inch as 1/36 yard. (In the U.S. from 1893 to 1959, an inch was defined so there were exactly 39.37 inches in a meter: the 1959 international less is exactly 2 parts per million shorter.) Gene Nygaard 15:36, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
I beieve that the 1959 international inch (exactly 25.4 mm) is *approximately* (not exactly) 2 parts per million shorter than the 1893 US inch (exactly 1/39.37 m, or approximately 25.40005 mm)". I believe that the present-day "US survey inch" is also identical to the 1893 US inch. —AlanBarrett 12:44, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Just figure it out. Isn't it true that 0.0254 = (1-0.000002)(100/3937) = 0.999998(100/3937)? That (1-0.000002) factor is what "exactly two parts per million less" means.
Yes, I got my arithmetic wrong. —AlanBarrett 13:53, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Inches aren't used in surveying. They use decimal fractions of a foot or of a chain, maybe occasionally decimal fractions of a rod. While it was a yard defined in the U.S. Federal Register Notice of 1 July 1959, it was the "Survey foot" for which the old definition was retained. Gene Nygaard 13:35, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
The inch article says that there's something called a "survey inch", which I assume is equal to 1/12 of a US survey foot. If the unit is not used in reality, then the discussion at inch should be changed.. —AlanBarrett 13:53, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
I moved the conversion out of the introduction section. A separate conversion section is a good idea, particularly if there are multiple unit conversions. That was how it was before it got reverted. Bobblewik 00:52, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Is the definition of the inch/yard in terms of the metric system an invention by the users of the latter? Or is it also accepted (or even defined) by the users of the imperial system? If so, that is surprising. Holding on to your system but defining it in terms of the other system is almost like admitting you're wrong.
Btw, I referred to the use of a fraction (10000/254) in stead of the actual figure 39.37. The latter suggests a measurement or calculation and the former a definition. This is a very essential distinction (and scientific custom if I'm not mistaken). Hence my question. But only now I notice that in this light something like "1 m = 1/0.9144 yards" looks very odd. Why is that not written as 1.0936? DirkvdM 08:19, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
The conversion "1 m = 1/0.9144 yards" or "1 yard = 0.9144 m" is exact. Saying "1 m = 1.0936 yards" would be only approximate, not exact. The exact figure is a consequence of the way the yard is officially defined in terms of the metre. —AlanBarrett 07:33, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Using a common standard makes it possible to make conversions to the precision you need, and it avoids any change whatsoever in the relationship between those units over time, because one standard is kept under different conditions than the other, or because one of the standards is upgraded. This way, when the definition of the meter changed in 1960 from being based on a physical artifact to so many wavelengths of a certain light emitted by a krypton atom, and in 1983 to be based on the speed of light, the English units followed right along in their ultimate definition.
Henry VIII did the same thing with the avoirdupois pound, abandoning independent standards for it, and redefining it with only a minor change in size in terms of another standard, the troy pound, as exactly 7000 grains troy. Since then, some people have considered the grain to be part of the avoirdupois system as well, though it really isn't (nobody would design a system to have 271132 grains in a dram). Gene Nygaard 11:00, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
I was just feeling some shame over being so 'metric-centric' because one might just as well say that the metre was defined in terms of the yard. But now it turns out that my ill-based assumption is true (which is good for my self-confidence; I'm right even when I shouldn't be :) ). But there's still the question why fractions are used. Such as the metre being the path that light travels in 1/299,792,458 s. Why is that not written as 3.335640952 x 10-9 ? DirkvdM 06:30, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
The figure 1/299,792,458 is exact. The figure 3.335640952 x 10-9 is only approximate. The exact figure is a consequence of the way the metre is defined in terms of the speed of light. —AlanBarrett 07:33, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
It's just that in general, these numbers can be expressed exactly in a terminating decimal fraction in only one direction. Same is true for one inch as 1/36 of a yard, which expresses it exactly, just as 1 yd = 36 in expresses it exactly. But if the inversion is carried out, the decimal representation of 1/36 will never end, being 0.02777777777... with the 7's repeating forever. If you terminate that representation anywhere, it is no longer "exact". That's why, when someone wants to express a conversion factor exactly, it often is expressed as a common fraction rather than a decimal fraction. Gene Nygaard 13:27, 22 September 2005 (UTC)


I always understood that a nanometer was the smallest known division of a meter. Now we have picometers, femptometers, attometers, zeptometers, and yoctometers. Also, I thought that a kilogram was the biggest meter measurement, but then we have megameters, gigameters, terameters, exameters, zettameters and yottometers. I've never heard those names before now! It would be impossible to divide beyond a billionth of a meter! That's the size of an atom! Is this some sort of joke? Scorpionman 01:53, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

The extensibility of the metric system is one of its features. Originally it only had multiplier prefixes in the range from a ten thousand (miria) to a thousandth (mili) in steps of ten because that was the range of most usual measures in those days. Nowadays we have extended the range of prefixes to several times that and we go in steps of thousands, we don't bother with prefixes for each intermediate power of ten. Even if those quantities could not be measured (which the size of an atom can) or other units are more often used for those (like amstrongs, parsecs and lightyears) or we use scientific notation, the flexibility is there, within the system, to stretch to any size, current or future.--DevaSatyam 07:35, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Meter vs. Metre

What is going on? It is "meter" in most languages. Also, does anyone besides the Brits (yes English is "their" language) use "metre"?-- 04:35, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

It doesn't matter what it is in most languages. Just as it doesn't matter what it is in French even though they were the ones who came up with the system. What matters is how it is in English as this is an English encyclopædia. Does anyone else besides the Brits use metre? Yes, except for the U.S. the rest of the English-speaking world does. "There are more of us." you might retort. It doesn't matter. The Wikipedia policy is perfectly clear on this: the article started out life with the Commonwealth spelling, it'll stay that way. Jimp 15Dec05
meter is better than metre, because metre is unphonetic. It's pronounced meet-er /mit@`/, not met-ray /mEtreI/. Therefore meter is the better spelling. 21:17, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

At first, also me, I thought the term "metre" surely should be a kind of pejorative mark, to signify "a strange, foreign, French one measure". And no doubt, initially, there should be here something like this. But after reflection: "metre" is nearer to the Greek origin "metron". The american term is good as well. But for the time being (and after have been corrected by Jimp;-) I decided to use, hence, principally the term "metre". Paul Martin 20:00, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

About "meter" being phonetic, it isn't. But neither is metre. If "meter" was phonetic, you would have to pronounce it mee-tehr (as in "ter" like terrain) and "metre" would be "mee-treh" (not "met-ray", and I have no idea where you got that from) but its actually.... well I can't actually spell it in English phonetically but if you know what a schwa is you'll know a phonetic spelling is metər or meetər.
I don't get what it is about so many people thinking American English is more regular than the rest. It isn't. The regularisations (such as color instead of colour), from what I have seen, aren't constistant enough. English (as in proper English), I think, just has far too many complicated RULES, such as "re" at the end of a word being pronounced "ər" and the same for "le" at the end being "əl" and in American English this (the "le" thing) wasn't fixed. - RHeodt 16:21, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Ahem, the last I heard, the United States of America is one country, not most countries? All other Anglophone countries use "metre".
In addition, since the Americans don't actually use SI units I don't see why their spelling should be preferred, or even treated equally with Cth spelling. --Sumple 10:28, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Brilliant point. I once thought that about some of its spellings on Wikipedia (like a distince would be given in miles then in "kilometers" in brackets) and wondered why it should be spelled the American way. I just forgot to add that. Also I think (although it does make things a bit more confusing) that "meter" should be reserved for things that count things (speedometer etc.) the way it is in all other types of English. - RHeodt 11:34, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Touché. I'd say to go with how SI spells it in official documents periodically setting standards. Evolauxia 08:48, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm Italian, I studied English at school. I spell metre and colour, I say 'I learnt' and 'Have you got a pen?': in Europe british english is taught. This version of Wikipedia is also used by many non-native english speakers, who are likely to know only the 'official' international spelling. Please, don't keep using american spelling, the USA are not the centre of the world. 24 June 2006

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was Do not move. —Centrxtalk • 06:31, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Requested move

metre to meter. Metre is unphonetic. It's pronounced meeter, not metray. Therefore meter is the better spelling. 21:26, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation and sign your vote with ~~~~
User: may not have noticed but not all words in English are spelt phonetically. Again I suggest User: read Wikipedia:Manual of Style. This is a question of Commonwealth vs. American spelling. According to the MoS it should stay at Metre. Jimp 01:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Yes, England is where the English language developed. But that does not mean that they can prevent other countries from changing it. With the exception of a few countries, each with relatively small populations, the world spells it "meter."
  • Oppose 1) Wikipedia policy says that US/UK spelling stays with what the original author used. 2) Metre is used everywhere in the English-speaking world outside of the US. 3) How phonetic the spelling is is not a criterion. User:Macrakis 00:22 21 Dec 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Google gives more results for meter than metre. 03:00, 21 December 2005 (UTC) (anon IP)
  • Oppose - Most of the world uses the metre spelling. Notice that the Olympics seems to use metre . Also some bias since US has more on Web and also getting mixed with download meter type meanings. - SimonLyall 04:58, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - As I've said before it's a question of what the original spelling was in the article. Wikipedia:Manual of Style recomends that the original spelling of a non-stub article should be kept (with some exceptions which don't apply here). Google hits, phonemic spelling, the ratio of American to non-American English speakers, the number of Commonwealth countries, the original French spelling and the Greek word from whence "metre" derives all have absolutely nothing to do with it. Jimp 06:14, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose just in case. Femto 14:33, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose Don't want to interefere, but just to say, that Metre or Metr is used all over Europe, whilst in the states its yards and feet. Moreover metre avoids creating a homograph meter, as in a measuring instrument. --Kuban kazak 01:08, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support and comment My personal viewpoint hinges on the Google hits, 92M vs 9.6M. I know this won't really help, but I think it should be the rule since I'd guess the number of times a variant is used on the 'net would be proportional to the number of times it should be used by a reference on the Internet. I believe that conforming to the expectations of the majority of (potential) users should be the priority (rather than trying to conform to some random ideal) on an relatively unimportant point such as this, especailly considering the ratio is so large.Shadow demon 05:15, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Googling for "meter" counts measuring devices, such as water meters and parking meters. In fact, all but two of the top 10 hits on Google use this meaning, with "bandwidth meter", "Auto Meter" and "Badger Meter" companies, "Rules-O-Meter", etc. So this Google comparison is irrelevant to what is the most common spelling of the unit of measurement.
  • Support - Stating that "Most of the world" uses the Commonwealth spelling is highly misleading. In fact, it's the other way around, with 2/3 of the population of English speakers using the North American convention. Besides, how can Americans ignore what is constantly being rubbed in their faces every day? Many (if not most) articles that primarily concern North American topics use metre as the primary unit of measurement (with feet, miles and acres in parenthesis if listed at all). In these articles, the unit is almost invariably spelled metre despite the North American subject matter. I should also note that meter is also spelled as such in Canada as well as the Philippines, adding another 100 million to the majority that already spell the word as meter. -- Brog likes Rocks April 28, 2006 (date convenvention is another debate)
  • Support - It is most certainly not "most of the world" -- it's just most Western Europeans, and the former British colonies. Japan and both Chinas (though not Hong Kong), for example, use American spelling. And, by the way, the "whichever was first" rule is routinely ignored. Just look at "Humour" -- Anglophiles are obviously making a concerted effort to make Wiki spellings British. (What we really need is an international English, one that would be neither British nor American, but people seem to be too nationalistic to be interested in such a project.) BrianinStockholm 20:29, 12 May 2006 (UTC).


  • Is a vote necessary at this stage? This must have been discussed to death (elsewhere, darned if I could find any of it now.) Femto 14:40, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I don't see the point in this either. Jimp 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I've removed this page's entry from Wikipedia:Requested moves due to a lack of consensus on the move. If this changes, feel free to add another request. --Lox (t,c) 22:01, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
    • I don't know that I'd use the phrase lack of consensus. The request was made by an unlogged in user and the only vote of support was from another unlogged in user. Both of these users seem to be suspected of vandalism ... if their Talk pages are anything to go by: see User talk: & User talk: I'd suggest the phrase overwhelming consensus against the request may be more appropriate ... well, all seemably serious votes were Oppose ... all five of them. If there was a lack of anything it was a lack of interest. Jimp 16:08, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

What's the significance of this number again?

1/299,792,458 Captain Jackson 04:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

One metre is the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. It's a definition. It was chosen to approximate the previous definition which in turn was chosen to approximate the one before that and so on until we get to the original definition which was one ten millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator via Paris. Jimp 16:29, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

length of a metre

refactored THIS SECTION down to compliance w/normal wikiettiquette/wikiBottompost conventions. FrankB

Was the original length of a meter based on anything,like a foot was based on the length of a foot, and an inch was based on knukle length etc, or was it originally an arbirary measurment, chosen because it is a convinient length to measure things with? --LeakeyJee 12:30, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

I wrote the article and I did not find any mention of common, everyday things that the metre might have been based on. It would seem that the metre was grandly formulated to be based on global constants, like the pendulum or the meridional definition. - Centrx 02:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
The article should say that it was similar to the nautical mile - both were ratio s relative to the best guess in their day (and in their own way) of the 'girth of de earth'; the nautical mile tried for a rational fraction in terms of rotation, the metre was the mean diameter at the equator, iirc. History of measurement should discuss if this article does not. Having said that, my interest herein is readability and I haven't looked into the permutation of the measurement standard as new standards have come about.
I would suggest it would be an interesting and clear result if someone were to put together a table from the original French metre to today's standard with our presumed more accurate standard to return a ratio of unity (i.e. 1:1). Thus I suggest a year of standard column, an absolute length column scaled in todays units, I'd guess [mm], and the ratios column which could be expressed as a decimal in the form X.yyyzzz or to greater precision, if needed.
Please do keep in mind to bottom post for people looking in off their watch page as is standard wikiConvention. If something seems better to be back posted above, a bottom post with a link to the nearest section header is pretty much standard practice. FrankB 03:01, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
None of the changes since the original metre bar of 1799 have had or intended any change in the length of the metre intended; all that chanes is replicability and precision to which it can be measured. Gene Nygaard 04:05, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Growth of science and technology

The article says:

It is not accidental or unrelated that the growth of science and technology grew hand-in-hand with the spread and use of the system, as the system utilises a series of suffixes related to multiples of ten and powers of ten, giving extreme ease of scaling and conversion, which being calculation intensive, are much more prone to error in less regularised systems.

This statement would be difficult to support and seems to be a personal opinion. Perhaps a reference would be good. Eric 10:10, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

First recorded usage—trivia

Centrx added a 1797 date for first recorded usage in English. That is for this particular meaning.

In 1790, the first U.S. Secretary of State proposed to the House of Representatives a decimal system based on the foot. In Jefferson's decimal system, a "metre" would have been a unit of volume, equal to 0.001 cubic foot or one cubic inch. A "metre" of cool water would have weighed an "ounce" (1/10 of a pound), and an ounce of 11/12 silver would have been worth a "dollar"—which was already decimally divided before then. Congress never acted on this proposal, or a less radical alternative eliminating eliminating variations in pounds and gallons without a complete shift to a decimal system.Plan for establishing uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States. Gene Nygaard 14:27, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Sea level definition & duplicability

The following was recently added: "In its early years, one of the universalistic claims of the metric system was that any country passing through the 45th north parallel could duplicate the surveying and get the same result, but the need to start and end at sea level would have geographically necessitated in any other such measurement requiring the cooperation of more than one country."

What is the source of this information? I do not find it at the top of a Google search for -"sea level" metre history- nor can I find it the three links listed at the bottom of the article or on the BIPM site. While the addition is a plausible deduction, it is not clear that it was considered in history or of any historical concern, or if it is sufficiently noteworthy historically. - Centrx 00:26, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Deleted from article, moved here:
  • ", hence starting and ending at sea level"
  • "In its early years, one of the universalistic claims of the metric system was that any country passing through the 45th north parallel could duplicate the surveying and get the same result, but the need to start and end at sea level would have geographically necessitated in any other such measurement requiring the cooperation of more than one country."
- Centrx 19:04, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Metre as a scientific measure

Why is the metre taken as a preference for measuring in scientific calculations, in the same way that a second is and a kilogram? Is there a specific reason? Moitio (talk) 21:33, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Historical reasons, just to make talking about science easier. See SI - - 8472 16:01, 30 May 2006 (UTC)~

How do I measure it?

Excuse my ignorance, but how do I go about measuring a metre using the definition if absolute vacuum does not exist? Thanks. PizzaMargherita 20:12, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

See the Speed of light page for some information on how fast light travels in other mediums. - 07:37, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, but that doesn't seem to answer my question. In practice, how do I measure 1 metre using the definition? PizzaMargherita 09:09, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
You cannot without complex equipment measure 1 metre using the universal definition. The pendulum definition may work, but it is not clear how much different the length is from what we have now. - Centrx 01:48, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I have truck loads of complex equipment. I have a circular accelerator in my backyard. You name it. How do I measure 1 metre using the definition? (Note, I don't have equipment to generate absolute vacuum because it does not exist.) PizzaMargherita 05:36, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Would you like to do some wild experiments together? - Centrx 19:39, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
You take a measurement in a good vacuum, compare it to a measurement in a better vacuum, and can deduce that further approaching the ideal limit would not alter the accuracy of your result. Femto 12:20, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
If a perfectly absolute vaccuum cannot exist, how are they sure there would be light there? - Centrx 19:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
In an imperfect vaccum, there still may be any finite length without matter in which light doesn't disappear. No reason to assume this doesn't scale up.
Basically, the "absolute vacuum" is just a shorthand instruction to get your permittivity and permeability close enough to their vacuum limit as not to screw up your lightspeed. Femto 14:48, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Timeline inside the history

I think it is best if there is no timeline and the information is included and part of the article. It would appear more like an encyclopaedic entry and would be more appropriate than to be enumerated. Lincher 04:06, 30 May 2006 (UTC)


Any reason to use these second-hand references rather than naming and linking to the actual source, that is the BIPM? -- Centrx 15:36, 1 June 2006 (UTC)