- Friday, April 13, 2018
- 3:30 PM–5:30 PM
- Science Building Lecture Hall 010
A Historic change is coming in the definitions of our most basic units of measure.
Speaker: Dr. Jim Olthoff, a Calvin Physics Alumnus, is the current Director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Olthoff represents the US on several international science committees and technology working groups.
Description: Contrary to popular belief, all measurements in the United States are based upon the International System of Units (SI) or the metric system. In fact, the U.S. is actually a “metric country.” While this may not be a critical fact for the average citizen, it is an essential reality for scientists and engineers. So some understanding of the origins of the SI, or metric system, is important to those of us interested in technology and science. But perhaps more important, is to understand how the SI is changing and evolving with technology. In fact, unbeknownst to many, the SI is poised for the most significant “upgrade” in over 50 years. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been responsible for maintaining and advancing the measurement standards for the U.S. since the days of the horse and carriage, and now is leading the changes to the SI that are advancing measurements critical to everything from quantum computing to bioengineering. Dr. Olthoff will discuss these impending changes within the context of the history of the SI from its inception.