Tuesday, July 10, 2007

speak in english, measure in metric

when people from all parts of the world work together on projects of any topic, at some point it just makes efforts way more efficient to speak the same language! for a long time, the language of science was latin, but it switched to english sometime during the seventeenth century. this fact has made it very convenient for me to travel around the world doing astronomy because any astronomer can understand technical talks i give in english (assuming i do a good job at explaining my science, of course!). i admit, i'm spoiled in this respect and i'm very impressed by the number of people who receive PhD's in topics that they study in a non-native language!! while traveling, i've been able to learn a fair bit of the languages of the places i've lived, but i'm still confused about one thing regarding the US....

why oh WHY have we not switched to the metric system?? there are only 3 countries in the world who have not switched to the intuitive base-10, international system of units: the US, liberia (in western africa) and burma (also known as myanmar, in southeast asia).

i'm finally starting to gain my intuition to measure mountain heights in meters and kilometers. i can finally understand the feeling of the day when it's 10 degrees celsius outside!! i wish the US would just get rid of fahrenheit already!! as a simple example, it makes perfect sense to think that water boils at 100 degrees and freezes at zero degrees.... celsius!! it only seems familiar to say that water freezes at 32 degrees (fahrenheit) because thats what i learned as a kid.... but it doesnt make any sense!! why waste brain space memorizing a pointless fact like water freezes at 32 degrees fahrenheit when zero degrees celsium actually *makes sense*??

ok, i'm finished now.

1 comment:

Dr. Lemming said...

Should French scientists unlearn their French?

Embrace your cultural heratige of quaint metrics. Just don't use them in a talk.