International System of Units

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The International System of Units [1] (abbreviated SI from the French Système international d'unités[2]) is the modern form of the metric system and is generally a system of units of measurement devised around seven base units and the convenience of the number ten. It is the world's most widely used system of measurement, both in everyday commerce and in science.[3][4]

The older metric system included several groups of units. The SI was developed in 1960 from the old metre-kilogram-second system, rather than the centimetre-gram-second system, which, in turn, had a few variants. Because the SI is not static, units are created and definitions are modified through international agreement among many nations as the technology of measurement progresses, and as the precision of measurements improves.

The system has been nearly globally adopted. Three principal exceptions are Burma (Myanmar), Liberia, and the United States. The United Kingdom has officially adopted the International System of Units but not with the intention of replacing customary measures entirely.

Contents

History

The metric system was conceived by a group of scientists (among them, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, who is known as the "father of modern chemistry") who had been commissioned by the assemblee nationale and Louis XVI of France to create a unified and rational system of measures.[5] On 1 August 1793, the National Convention adopted the new decimal metre with a provisional length as well as the other decimal units with preliminary definitions and terms. On 7 April 1795 (Loi du 18 germinal, an III) the terms gramme and kilogramme replaced the former terms gravet (correctly milligrave) and grave. On 10 December 1799 (a month after Napoleon's coup d'état), the metric system was definitively adopted in France.

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