An Exact Value for the Planck Constant: Why Reaching It Took 100 Years

Michael Trott, Wolfram Alpha, May 20, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article could take you quite a while to finish but it's a terrific read on a subject you won't normally see in the media or on the web: standards of weights and measurements. The Treaty of the Metre was signed 241 years ago to this day (that's 51500 days) and in two years the most significant changes to le Système international d’unités (SI) system of measurement will be made since that day. Oh, but this article is so much more. Written in the voice of  Jean-Charles de Borda, the article is a comprehensive history of the SI, mixing the personalities, the issues and controversies, and the stories. As an added bonus, the article is written in conjunction with Wolfram Alpha, giving the reader a new perspective on the use that engine can be put to in work such as this. There's a link at the end to a  Computable Document Format (CDF) version of the article (New to CDF? Get your copy for free with this one-time download). All-around one of the best pieces I've read this year. 

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