Mega-, giga and nano. At one time those words sounded strange. As prefixes, they describe something very big or very small.
Now the words are common in science, but also in the language of advertisements, and in everyday speech.
New prefixes for the multiple unit of numbers will be added. It is already used in the sciences, for example tsepto and so.
A zepto is one thousand trillionth of something, say a ceptogram. Something heavy can weigh, on the other hand, a quadrillion grams, just a gram.
Set dimension experts decided on Friday that the arsenal of these prefixes is growing.
The new prefixes were confirmed on Friday by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures BIPM. It involves dozens of countries.
Last Friday, the BIPM Weights and Measures conference was held near Paris, says the science magazine New Scientist. The conference confirmed the presented dimensions.
For use brand new prefixes Ronna (R) and kvetta (Q) were already taken over the weekend.
The prefix Ronna describes a number with 27 zeros after the number. In Kveta, there are as many as 30 zeros after the number.
At least researchers start using prefixes when they have to talk about very large phenomena.
That’s how they immediately became a part International System of Units (SI). That SI got its name and confirmed dimensions in 1960. It is based on the old metric system, which was established in France at the end of the 18th century.
Respectively the prefixes ronto (r) and kvekto (q) are introduced in very small numbers.
At this end, the powers of the new prefixes are therefore negative. They are marked with lowercase letters. The number of negative potential zeros is 27 in ronto and 30 in kvekto.
There are quite a few descriptive phenomena in nature for which we need those numbers – yet. But such phenomena can accumulate.
Now of course you can already say that the Sun weighs about 1989 kettagrams and an electron 0.911 rontograms, says Technology and Economy.
SI system defines the basic units of various measurements, such as the kilogram and the meter, and a large number of their derivatives.
Prefixes are still based on Greek and Latin reading words. For example, meters, grams and kilos are familiar to the layman.
Rarer but also prefixes are the prefixes mentioned at the beginning mega, giga and nano.
In Finland, the implementation of the SI system is responsible and “guarded” by the Measurement Technology Center in Espoo.
Prefixes maybe they seem strange to the Finnish language. As if they were chosen at random. However, there is a certain logic in the words.
“R” and “Q” were letters of the English alphabet that are not already present in other different prefixes. In Finnish, however, the letter q bends to the form kv, as does z to the form ts.
Prefixes describing large almost always end with the letter a, and those describing small end with the letter o.
Renew dimension prefixes were named before this in 1991.
At that time, numbers with 21 or 24 zeros were prefixed with zetta (for example, 10 to the power of 21) and jota (10 to the power of 24).
The corresponding zero rows with a minus sign were named zepto (for example, 10 to the power of –21) and jokto (10 to the power of –24).
More than 30 years ago, there was no known reason to name new prefixes. However, the women and men of their time were far from wise.
When such concepts are established in time, other informal and competing prefixes are forgotten. This is how new words become common as part of scientific expression.
The amount of data on the internet, for example, is predicted to rise to 175 zettabytes (ZB) already in 2025.
It can still be 25 years before you really need a kvetta or ronto.
Fix Nov 24 at 915: Corrected mention that prefixes describing small units of measure are minus signs. Their powers have minus signs. Instead of kilos, you should be talking about grams.