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Subject: mbishop: If the definition of kelvin
From: CCCE ConfChem <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CONFCHEM <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 May 2017 16:56:01 -0500

text/plain (47 lines)

To reply: [1]

If the definition of kelvin changes, how can the "kelvin...remain what it is
today", or do you mean the the "kelvin will stay essentially the same to the
limits of our ability to measure temperature"? Is the Boltzmann constant
going to be defined to keep the kelvin the same??? If so, does this mean that
the Boltzmann constant used in the definition (which may be the best value
available) will be defined as a value that is almost certainly not the exact
value for the true Boltzmann constant? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of
defining the base units in terms of constants that are assumed to be
invariant? If I understand the plan, wouldn't it be more true to define the
kelvin as, "“the unit of thermodynamic temperature for which the magnitude
is set by fixing the numerical value of the Boltzmann constant to be equal to
exactly 1.380 65 10-23 (which is close to the true value of the Boltzmann
constant) when it is expressed in the unit s-2 m2 kg K-1, which is equal to J
K-1.” If the number associated with the Boltzmann constant is going to be
fixed with an exact value, why are there dots in the number in the definition
(1.380 65... 10-23)? Can we assume that at some point the kelvin would be
redefined using a more accurate value for the Boltzmann constant that may be
determined in the future?

One of the things I do is edit scientific papers for Chinese scientists who
want to publish in English-language journals, and the editor in me really
doesn't like the "its" in the kelvin definition. Note that I substituted "for
which the" for "its".

Mark Bishop

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