Larry Doolittle is a Senior Engineer/Scientist in the Engineering Division at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is an expert on digital LLRF control, participating in LLRF projects with SLAC/LCLS, Fermi@Elettra, Argonne/APS/SPX, and LBNL/APEX. His past assignments include diagnostics, electromagnetics, and RF control for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) MEBT. He has broad experience in accelerator and related technology. He worked for 11 years on the design and construction of the CEBAF superconducting RF Accelerator project, including RF controls, microphonic measurement, BPM hardware and software, EPICS, and operations research. He has training in Materials Science, especially Ion Beam Analysis and various X-ray and electron-beam materials analysis techniques.
All Non-SI Units Must Die!
Foot-pound? Acre? BTU? Die, die, die. Domain-specific units are bad for science, bad for engineering, and bad for communication. Depending on context, a ton can be 907.2 kg, 1016.0 kg, 1000.0 kg, or even 3.5 kW. It's not great that we are stuck with sexagesimal variants and worse in time (second, minute, hour, day, ...) and angle (degrees). But inches, feet, yards, rods, chains, miles, leagues? Puh-lease. Pressure units are the worst. PSI, Torr, inch of water? Die, die, die! All should be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Some eBay sellers attempt to be helpful by converting the torque of their small motor, printed on the box in units of in-oz, to cm-gm. They don't recognize that in this case the ounce is a unit of force. Thus it converts not to 28.35 grams (mass), but rather to 0.278 newtons (force). The SI unit of torque is N-m. Sure, the human made the mistake. But the mistake was enabled and encouraged by the common use of pre-Newtonian units. The solution is clear: all non-SI units must die!
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This page was last revised on Dec 28, 2021
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