The forthcoming documentary series THE STATE OF THE UNIT tells the story of the kilogram, the international unit of mass. Episodes cover the history of the kilogram from the French Revolution to the Quantum Revolution. How will this change influence you at the marketplace? And students in the classroom?
Each episode focuses on one aspect of the fascinating history of the kilogram:
- a symbol for equality and rational governance after the French Revolution
- its role as a standard for global commerce
- a new quantum physics concept to be taught in schools
- the next step in our ever-increasing desire for precision
- and a 200-year-old wish realized of scientists to create a mass standard that will never change with time, or space.
Blog Posts and Preview clips from Episodes
The First Last Judgment0:53 min
Cyphering Books1:52 min
Precision vs Accuracy1:40 min
Hilbert's Man on the Street2:34 min
A Rock is a Clock0:53 min
Losing weight: Science and tourism in the City of Light
In the image: stop-motion animation of Germany prototype K22, made in 1870. Michael Gläßer told the story that the kilogram was moved for safety during World War II, and was caught in a bomb explosion and damaged.
Top image: Michael Glaesser at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt with Kilogram 52, one of Germany's national kilograms. Typically the national kilograms are stored under multiple glass lids; a speck of dust would change a kilogram's weight a tiny bit, but still too much for experiments.
About the Director: Amy Young graduated from CalArts with an MFA in Film Directing. She began work on the The State of the Unit as part of an documentary film exchange program at La Fémis in Paris, France.
I hope that you find the history and redefinition of the kilogram as fascinating as I do.