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Saturday, September 15, 2007

 

Official prototype of kilogram mysteriously losing weight

‘A kilogram just isn’t what it used to be.

A 118-year-old cylinder that has been the international prototype for the metric mass, and kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing its weight – if ever so slightly.

Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies.

“The mystery is that they were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart,” he said.

“We don’t really have a good hypothesis for it,” Davis said in a phone interview Wednesday.’




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