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How Should General Chemistry Teaching Faculty Handle the New SI Base Unit Definitions?


Robert Belford, Departmet of Chemistry, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Peter F. Rusch,


Chemistry is an empirical science and the units of measurement that underlay the quantification, preservation and communication of chemical observations are typically one of the first concepts covered in the introductory chemistry classroom.  In November of 2018 new definitions for the SI base units were approved during the General Conference on Weights and Measures.  The new definitions will be based on physical constants that are considered as invariants of nature.  Please see Peter Rusch's 2017 CCCE Newsletter article for information leading up to this change; Textbook and the SI Base Units, A Challenge for Authors and Editors .

The new definitions go into effect on May 20, 2019. The purpose of this paper is to look into these changes from the perspective of chemical education, with the goal of initiating a discussion that will assist teaching faculty as they approach this topic in their future classrooms.


05/20/19 to 05/22/19