Transcript: Ep. 2 - Mass and Moles | Oct 08, 2013

The scene opens with a black and white clip of German tanks and the German army marching on French terrority.

Marcus says ON THE MORNING OF
THE 14th OF JUNE 1940, SEVERAL
GERMAN TANK DIVISIONS RUMBLED
THROUGH THE STREETS OF PARIS.
THE IMPOSSIBLE HAD HAPPENED.
GERMANY HAD INVADED, AND
FRANCE HAD FALLEN.
BUT THERE WAS ONE BUILDING ON
THE OUTSKIRTS OF PARIS THAT
THE NAZIS NEVER OCCUPIED.

The image changes to a large cream coloured building with windows covering its façade. Two trees flank the entrance to the door. Marcus walks into the building. He is bald, clean-shaven, and in his late forties. He wears blue jeans, a magenta, long-sleeved shirt, and a black blazer.

Marcus continues
THIS CHATEAU HAS THE SAME
STATUS AS AN INDEPENDENT
TERRITORY.
ITS CONTENTS ARE SO CLOSELY
GUARDED I HAVE TO HAND OVER MY
PASSPORT TO GAIN ACCESS.

He hands his passport to the doorman and walks down a stairwell. Below a group of older people wearing suits and dresses are mingling.

Marcus says TODAY, AN EMINENT GROUP OF
SCIENTISTS HAVE GATHERED FROM
ALL OVER THE WORLD TO WITNESS
A VERY SPECIAL EVENT.
SECURITY IS TIGHT, WITH KEY
HOLDERS ARRIVING FROM THREE
DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.
THE VAULT HOLDS ONE OF THE
MOST IMPORTANT ARTIFACTS IN
OUR WORLD.

Three men approach a white door and enter a key into separate locks.

Marcus says THIS IS A REAL PIECE OF
MEASUREMENT HISTORY.
NOT REALLY HISTORY AT ALL.
THIS IS THE KILO.
UNDER THREE LAYERS OF
PROTECTIVE GLASS IS THE
KILOGRAM MASTER KNOWN AS
LAH GRAN K.

Inside the room a man opens a safe. Inside the safe are three glass domes covering a rectangular prism.

Marcus says IT'S THE WEIGHT ON WHICH ALL
WEIGHTS HAVE BEEN BASED SINCE
1889.
ITS IMPORTANCE IS SO GREAT
THAT NEITHER THE NAZIS NOR THE
LIBERATING AMERICAN FORCES
DARED SET FOOT INSIDE HERE.
AND THE REASON WE'RE HERE
TODAY, WELL, JUST TO CHECK
IT'S STILL HERE.
BUT THERE'S A PROBLEM.
TESTS HAVE REVEALED THAT
LAH GRAN K, THIS SCIENTIFIC
CELEBRITY, IS LOSING WEIGHT,
CREATING A CRISIS IN THE
SCIENTIFIC WORLD.
IT'S LOSING APPROXIMATELY 20
BILLIONTHS OF A GRAM EVERY
YEAR.
BUT WHY ON EARTH SHOULD SUCH
A TINY CHANGE MATTER SO MUCH?

Marcus walks outside the chateau. He says I'M ON A JOURNEY TO
INVESTIGATE THE WORLD OF
MEASUREMENT.
AND TO SEE HOW OUR DRIVE FOR
PRECISION HAS REALLY CHANGED
THE COURSE OF HISTORY.

Images flash of the Earth revolving around its axis, laser beams, and clock towers.

Marcus says TODAY, WE CAN DESCRIBE THE
CHAOS AND COMPLEXITY OF THE
UNIVERSE WITH JUST SEVEN
FUNDAMENTAL UNITS, THE
BUILDING BLOCKS OF MODERN
SCIENCE.
AND SCIENCE IS OBSESSED WITH
DEFINING THESE UNITS WITH EVER
GREATER PRECISION.
IN THIS SERIES, I WANT TO
UNDERSTAND WHY SUCH EXTREME
LEVELS OF PRECISION ARE SO
IMPORTANT.
HOW WE DEFINE THESE UNITS AND
HOW, THROUGH HISTORY, EACH
STEP FORWARD HAS UNLEASHED A
TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION.

Images flash of hieroglyphics, marketplace scales, and metal weights.

Marcus says IN THIS PROGRAM, WE'LL EXPLORE
WHY BEING ABLE TO MEASURE
WEIGHT IS SO IMPORTANT.
AND HOW THE RACE TO REPLACE
THE AGING GRAND K MIGHT HOLD
THE KEY TO A NEW WAY OF
UNDERSTANDING OUR WORLD.
THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW WE
MASTERED WEIGHT.
The screen turns to black. A violet laser beam cuts through. The title of the show appears. It reads, "Precision: The Measure of All Things. Mass and Moles."

The episode opens on a sunny day. Marcus walks through an outside marketplace. A caption flashes across the screen. It reads, "Presented by Marcus du So-toy."

Marcus says HOW MUCH DO I HAVE IS A
QUESTION THAT HAS DRIVEN TRADE
AND COMMERCE SINCE THE DAWN OF
CIVILIZATION.
AND TODAY WEIGHTS ARE STILL
CENTRAL TO ALL OUR LIVES.
THE REASON WE'RE SO RELIANT ON
WEIGHTS AND SCALES IS, IN
PART, DOWN TO OUR OWN
INABILITY TO ACCURATELY GAUGE
WEIGHT.
WE TEND TO BELIEVE OUR EYES
RATHER THAN TRUSTING THE
WEIGHT IN OUR HANDS.
AND I'VE COME TO LONDON'S
BOROUGH MARKET TO PROVE THE
POINT.

Marcus stands behind a table with a variety of small weights in front of him.

He says EXCUSE ME, WONDER WHETHER I
COULD GET YOU TO TAKE PART IN
A LITTLE EXPERIMENT.

A woman says YES, YES.

She is in her early thirties with short brown hair. She wears a violet blouse, a grey blazer, and blue jeans.

Marcus says SO I'VE GOT A
SERIES OF WEIGHTS HERE, WHICH
I'VE PUT IN ORDER OF HEIGHT.
WHAT I'D LIKE YOU TO DO IS TO
PLACE THE HEAVIEST WEIGHT
HERE AND THE LIGHTEST ONE AT
YOUR END.
HAVE A GO.
SEE WHICH ONE YOU THINK IS THE
HEAVIEST.

The woman picks up each weight.

She says THAT'S...

The woman picks up the smallest weight and places it near Marcus. She picks up and rearranges the rest of the weights.

Marcus says THIS LITTLE GUY HERE,
THAT'S THE HEAVIEST.
OKAY, WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT
HEAVIEST?

The woman picks up the biggest weight and says I THINK THIS ONE, YEAH.
THAT'S THE LIGHTEST.

Marcus says THE LIGHTEST OF ALL.

The woman says I THINK.

Marcus says NOW THE REALLY
SURPRISING THING IS THAT THE
ONE YOU'VE PUT AT THIS END,
WHICH YOU THINK IS THE
LIGHTEST IS, IN FACT, THE
HEAVIEST.
AND THIS ONE HERE

He picks up the small weight and says SO YOU
THOUGHT THIS WAS THE HEAVIEST.
OKAY, I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU
BOTH OF THESE IN YOUR HAND.
THIS ONE IS ACTUALLY HEAVIER
THAN THAT ONE.

He hands her the big and small weight.

Marcus says DO YOU BELIEVE ME?

The woman balances the weights in her hand and says WELL, IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE
THAT.

Marcus says NO, IT DOESN'T.
LET'S USE THE SCALES.
SO I'M GOING TO WEIGH THE ONE
YOU THOUGHT WAS THE LIGHTEST.

He turns on a scale. The woman places the weights on the scale one by one.

Marcus says SO THAT COMES OUT ABOUT 424
GRAMS.
OKAY, LET'S PUT YOUR ONE ON.
YOU THINK THIS ONE IS HEAVIER.
IT'S ONLY 345 GRAMS.
ISN'T THAT EXTRAORDINARY?
BECAUSE EVEN WITH THAT
KNOWLEDGE, NOW TRY AND WEIGH
THEM AGAIN.
YOU'D SAY WHICH ONE IS HEAVIER?

The woman says THIS ONE.

Marcus says I KNOW.
ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
AND THAT'S WHY WE NEED A SET OF
WEIGHTS BECAUSE WE'RE SO BAD
AT PERCEPTION.

Images flash of different market goers walking by to the table.

Marcus says LIKE ANY GOOD SCIENTIST, I
CARRIED ON WITH THE TESTING.

A young man looking at the scale says HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Marcus says AND MY RANDOM
SHOPPERS, TO A MAN AND A
WOMAN, ALL CHOSE THE SAME TWO
WEIGHTS.
AND THEY ALL CHOSE WRONG.

A woman looks at the scale and says OKAY, WOW.

Marcus says SEEING IF SOMETHING
IS BIG OR SMALL MASSIVELY
SKEWS OUR PERCEPTION OF HOW
HEAVY IT IS.

An image shows a map of Mesopotamia.

Marcus says IT IS A PROBLEM OUR ANCESTORS
FIRST STARTED GRAPPLING WITH
MORE THAN 5,000 YEARS AGO.
OUR EARLIEST EVIDENCE COMES
FROM THE MIDDLE EAST...
AND WAS DRIVEN BY THE
EMERGENCE OF THE FIRST CITIES
IN MESOPOTAMIA AROUND 3,000
B.C.
AS POPULATIONS GREW, A WAY OF
FAIRLY TRADING GOODS WAS
URGENTLY NEEDED.

Images on the screen show a painting of a harbor, wheat swaying in the wind, and hieroglyphics.

Marcus continues
PEOPLE DEMANDED A SYSTEM OF
WEIGHT THAT EVERYONE COULD
TRUST.
TAKING THEIR INSPIRATION FROM
NATURE, THEY USED GRAIN.
UNIFORM IN SIZE AND SHAPE,
GRAIN WAS AVAILABLE TO ALL.
THE WORLD HAD ITS FIRST
WEIGHTS.
USING SIMPLE BEAM BALANCES,
WHICH WE CONTINUE TO USE
TODAY, WE STARTED TO TRADE
GOODS BASED ON THEIR WEIGHT
IN GRAINS.
IT WASN'T PERFECT, BUT WITH
GRAINS VARYING SO LITTLE IN
WEIGHT, THE SYSTEM WORKED.
IT MADE THE MOVEMENT AND SALE
OF GOODS POSSIBLE, ENABLING
HUMANS TO LIVE TOGETHER IN
BIGGER CITIES, AND ALLOWING
THE FIRST ECONOMIES TO GROW.
EMPIRES WERE NO LONGER BEING
BUILT SOLELY BY ARMIES.
THEY WERE BEING BUILT BY
TRADE.
AS COMMERCE DEVELOPED ACROSS
THE ANCIENT WORLD, A FASTER
MEANS IN WEIGHING PRODUCE WAS
NEEDED.

Marcus is shown sitting in a room surrounded by old artifacts. On the table in front of him are pieces of barley and different types of weights.

Marcus says AFTER ALL, IF I WANTED TO BUY
SOMETHING THAT WEIGHED 700
GRAINS OF BARLEY, I DON'T WANT
TO HAVE TO COUNT OUT 700
GRAINS EACH TIME.
SO, GRADUALLY, A STANDARDIZED
SYSTEM OF WEIGHTS BEGAN TO
EMERGE.
FIRST THE MESOPOTAMIANS, THEN
THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS
DEVELOPED STONES, AND THINGS
MADE OUT OF METALS AND BRASS
IN ORDER TO REPRESENT
DIFFERENT WEIGHTS OF GRAIN.
IT WAS SUCH AN EFFICIENT
SYSTEM, IT BEGAN TO BE COPIED
ACROSS THE CIVILIZED WORLD.

He holds up a thick weight in the shape of an I and says HERE WE HAVE STANDARD WEIGHTS
FROM CHINA.

Marcus holds up another weight and says THESE HEXAGONS ARE STANDARD
WEIGHTS USED IN SUDAN.
AND THE AMAZING THING IS THAT
DESPITE ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES, THEY
WERE ALL RELATED BACK TO THE
WEIGHT OF A GRAIN BECAUSE
EVERYONE TRUSTED HOW MUCH A
GRAIN WOULD WEIGH.
BY ROMAN TIMES, MILLIONS OF
TONS OF PRODUCE WERE BEING
TRADED AROUND THE WORLD EVERY
DAY.

The scene changes to Simon Schaffer sitting in a white-paneled room. He is clean-shaved, in his fifties and has short, brown hair. He wears glasses and a blue long-sleeved shirt. A caption reads, "Simon Schaffer: Historian."

Simon Schaffer says THE ABILITY
TO COMPARE THE WEIGHTS OR MASSES
OF TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOODS,
SO THAT YOU COULD WORK OUT HOW
TO EXCHANGE BETWEEN THEM, THAT'S
THE KEY TO ECONOMIC SUCCESS.
AND SO IT'S THE DEMAND FOR
ECONOMIC COMPARISON THAT
DRIVES WEIGHT STANDARDIZATION
THROUGHOUT HISTORY.

Marcus says BY THE END OF THE
13th CENTURY, THE WORLD HAD
HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT WEIGHTS.
AND NEARLY ALL WERE BASED ON A
FIXED NUMBER OF GRAINS.
IN ENGLAND, WE'D INHERITED THE
POUND FROM THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
IT WAS INITIALLY MADE UP OF
12 OUNCES, WHICH WERE
EQUIVALENT TO 437 GRAINS OF
BARLEY.
BUT THE PROBLEM ALL RULERS
FACED WAS HOW TO KEEP WEIGHT
STANDARDIZED ACROSS A NATION.
IT WAS CONSIDERED SUCH A BIG
ISSUE THAT EVEN THE MAGNA
CARTA, THE MOST CELEBRATED
LEGAL DOCUMENT IN ENGLISH
HISTORY, TRIED TO DEAL WITH IT.
'LET THERE BE ONE MEASURE OF
WINE THROUGHOUT OUR WHOLE
REALM, AND ONE MEASURE OF ALE,
AND ONE MEASURE OF CORN'.
IT ALL SOUNDED GREAT IN
THEORY BUT, IN PRACTICE, IT
WAS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO
ENFORCE.
CHEATING WAS SUCH A BIG
PROBLEM.
REGULAR TRIALS WERE HELD TO
CHECK MERCHANTS' WEIGHTS AND
MEASURES.
ANY FOUND TO BE WRONG WERE
IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.
ACCURATE SCALES WERE THE ONLY
WAY CHEATS COULD BE EXPOSED.
ACCURACY WAS POWER.

Now, Marcus is walking on a roof top. He faces a building with a golden statue of Themis on top.

Marcus says SCALES WERE NOT ONLY A GREAT
MEASURING DEVICE, THEY ALSO
CAME TO SYMBOLIZE FAIRNESS,
POWER, AND THE VERY LEGAL
SYSTEM ITSELF.

Images flash of hieroglyphics and paintings of people holding scales.

Marcus says FROM ANCIENT EGYPT'S FEATHER
OF TRUTH, TO THE PAINTINGS OF
THE GREAT DUTCH MASTERS,
SCALES HAVE FEATURED
THROUGHOUT HISTORY.
AS IT WAS WRITTEN IN THE
BIBLE, BY WEIGHT, MEASURE AND
NUMBER, GOD MADE ALL THINGS.

Back in the white-paneled room, Simon Schaffer says MEASUREMENT
HAS ALWAYS BEEN ASSOCIATED IN
CULTURE WITH JUSTICE AND LAW
AND CRIME.
BECAUSE WHAT IT DOES IS TO
ESTABLISH THE EQUIVALENCE
BETWEEN TWO THINGS THAT YOU
OTHERWISE COULD NOT COMPARE.
THAT'S WHAT JUSTICE MEANS.
SO IT'S NO COINCIDENCE THAT
THE FIGURE OF JUSTICE IS SHOWN
CARRYING SCALES, CARRYING
BALANCE PAN.
AND FOR CENTURIES, WHEN YOU
MADE A WEIGHT MEASUREMENT,
YOU HAD TO SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
WHAT YOU WERE DOING.
PARTLY TO AVOID THE
POSSIBILITY OF DECEIT, BUT
ALSO TO SHOW HOW JUST YOU
WERE.
TO BE JUST WAS PRECISELY TO
USE BALANCE.

Marcus says SO WITH ALL THIS
MORAL WEIGHTINESS FLYING
AROUND, THE PUNISHMENT FOR
USING FALSE MEASURES COULD BE
SEVERE.
IN 1772 B.C., THE CODE OF
HAMMURABI WAS INTRODUCED INTO
BABYLONIAN LAW THAT SAID ANY
TAVERNER USING FALSE WEIGHTS
COULD BE SERVED UP WITH A
DEATH PENALTY.

Fast clips show the a slete with a relief of Hammurabi on top. Below are numerous laws written in cuneiform.

The image changes back to Marcus on a building rooftop. He says AND IN THE 18th CENTURY,
BANKERS CAUGHT CHEATING WOULD
HAVE TO STAND IN PILLORY, AND
BREWERS IN THE DUNG CART.

A clip shows an old drawing of a man with his foot in a public square. His sits down with hit foot inside of a stock while people stare.

Marcus continues
BUT DESPITE THE IMPORTANCE WE
PLACED ON WEIGHT AND GETTING
IT RIGHT, IT TOOK ONE
REMARKABLE ENGLISHMAN TO
REALIZE THE MEASUREMENT OF
WEIGHT HAS A FUNDAMENTAL
PROBLEM.
IT WAS THE GREAT SIR ISAAC
NEWTON WHO FIRST REALIZED THAT
WEIGHT CHANGES DEPENDING ON
WHERE AND WHEN YOU ARE
MEASURING IT.

The scene changes to Marcus walking down a lush countryside.

Marcus says IT WAS 1665, AND BRITAIN WAS
GRIPPED BY THE PLAGUE.
SO NEWTON DECIDED TO FLEE HIS
COLLEGE IN CAMBRIDGE, AND HE
CAME TO THE SAFETY OF HIS
COUNTRY RETREAT, HERE AT
WOOLSTHORPE MANOR.
AND HERE IS THE FAMOUS APPLE
TREE THAT INSPIRED HIS
OBSERVATIONS.
SO MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT
THIS APPLE TREE, IT REALLY HAS
BECOME A SYMBOL FOR THE
TURNING POINT IN OUR
UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE.
NEWTON'S EUREKA MOMENT WAS
WITNESSED BY A FRIEND.
'AFTER DINNER, THE WEATHER
BEING WARM, WE WENT INTO THE
GARDEN AND DRANK TEA UNDER THE
SHADE OF SOME APPLE TREES.
THE NOTION OF GRAVITATION CAME
INTO HIS MIND.
WHY SHOULD THAT APPLE ALWAYS
DESCEND PERPENDICULARLY TO THE
GROUND?'
NEWTON REALIZED THERE MUST BE
A FORCE ACTING ON THAT APPLE,
PULLING IT TO THE GROUND,
OTHERWISE, WHY WOULDN'T IT
JUST FLOAT IN THE AIR OR MOVE
SIDEWAYS, OR GO UPWARDS?
HE NAMED THAT FORCE GRAVITY,
AFTER THE LATIN WORD GRAVITAS
FOR HEAVINESS.
NEWTON'S LAW OF GRAVITY WAS TO
COMPLETELY CHANGE THE WAY WE
THINK ABOUT WEIGHT.

A clip shows an apple falling down in the air. An equation appears on the screen. It reads, "F equals G times m sub 1 times m sub 2 over r squared."

Marcus continues
WE FINALLY UNDERSTOOD THE
SUBTLE BUT VITAL DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN WEIGHT AND MASS, AND
IT PAVED THE WAY FOR MODERN
MEASUREMENT.

The scene changes to Marcus on top of a roof. He walks towards a covered scale. Inside is a cylindrical weight.

Marcus says NOW TO SHOW HOW IMPORTANT
NEWTON'S DISCOVERY WAS, I'VE
GOT A PIECE OF METAL HERE AND
AN INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE SET OF
SCALES.
NOW THE SCALES SAY THIS PIECE
OF METAL WEIGHS 368.70254,
IT'S KIND OF FLICKERING
BETWEEN THE TWO, IT'S SO
SENSITIVE.
NOW LET'S TAKE THIS PIECE OF
METAL TO THE TOP OF THIS BLOCK
OF FLATS AND SEE HOW MUCH IT
WEIGHS UP THERE.

Marcus climbs a ladder to the roof of a higher building. He walks over to a scale with the weight inside.

Marcus says NOW, UP HERE, THE METAL WEIGHS
368.69 GRAMS.
SO I SEEM TO HAVE LOST 10
MILLIGRAMS.
BUT, OF COURSE, THE MASS HASN'T
CHANGED.
WHAT'S CHANGED IS THE GRAVITY.
I'VE GOT LESS GRAVITY UP HERE
THAN I HAVE GOT DOWN AT THE
BOTTOM OF THE BLOCK OF FLATS.
IF I TOOK THIS PIECE OF METAL
ANOTHER HUNDRED THOUSAND
METRES UP INTO SPACE, THEN IT
WOULD WEIGH HARDLY ANYTHING AT
ALL.
SIMPLY PUT, MASS IS MEASURING
THE AMOUNT OF STUFF THERE IS
INSIDE HERE, AND THAT DOESN'T
CHANGE WHETHER I'M AT SEA
LEVEL OR OUT IN SPACE, BUT THE
WEIGHT DOES.

A clip shows the Earth revolving on its axis. An equation appears on the screen. It reads, "F equals G times m sub 1 times m sub 2 over r squared."

Marcus says IN ONE SIMPLE EQUATION,
NEWTON'S GENIUS REVOLUTIONIZED
HOW WE THOUGHT ABOUT WEIGHT
AND MASS.
BUT IT WOULD TAKE A REAL
REVOLUTION IN FRANCE TO
FINALLY CREATE THE MEASURE OF
MASS THAT WE ALL USE TODAY...
THE KILOGRAM.

Now Marcus is driving down a street in a small town.

Marcus says BY THE MIDDLE OF THE 18th
CENTURY, WEIGHT MEASUREMENT,
LIKE LENGTH, WAS IN A TOTAL
MESS.
NOBODY HAD IT WORSE THAN THE
FRENCH.
PEOPLE WERE SUPPOSED TO USE
THE KING'S MEASURES FOR POUNDS
AND OUNCES BUT, IN REALITY,
EVERY VILLAGE AND TOWN HAD
THEIR OWN SYSTEM, ALL SLIGHTLY
DIFFERENT.
DISPUTES AND ARGUMENTS WERE SO
COMMONPLACE THAT THE VILLAGE
TOOK TO CHAINING THE WEIGHTS
AND MEASURES TO THE WALL OF
THE LOCAL CHURCH.
TRADE WAS PAINFULLY SLOW AND
OPEN TO CORRUPTION.
AND NO ONE COULD AGREE ON
WHOSE WEIGHT WAS RIGHT.
A NEW INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF
MEASUREMENT WAS URGENTLY
NEEDED.
LETTERS FLEW BETWEEN THE
POWERS OF EUROPE.
TOO LONG HAVE GREAT BRITAIN
AND FRANCE BEEN AT VARIANCE
WITH EACH OTHER FOR EMPTY
HONOUR OR GUILTY INTERESTS.
IT IS TIME THAT THE TWO FREE
NATIONS SHOULD UNITE THEIR
EXERTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION OF
A DISCOVERY THAT MUST BE
USEFUL TO MANKIND.
ON THE EVE OF THE FRENCH
REVOLUTION, THE GREAT AND GOOD
OF THE FRENCH SCIENTIFIC
COMMUNITY APPROACHED THE
DOOMED LOUIS THE SIXTEENTH FOR
PERMISSION TO CREATE A NEW
SYSTEM OF LENGTH, MASS AND
VOLUME MEASUREMENT.

An image of Louis the 16th standing in a royal chamber. He is a chubby man adorned in royal clothing. He wears a white wig and holds a scepter. A moment later Marcus is shown walking into a large room. Busts of famous philosophers and scholars fill the walls.

Marcus says THE GREATEST MINDS OF THE DAY
GATHERED HERE AT THE
PRESTIGIOUS ACADEMY OF
SCIENCES IN PARIS TO
BRAINSTORM A SOLUTION.
THEY DECIDED TO BASE THEIR NEW
SYSTEM ON SOMETHING UNIVERSAL
AND UNCHANGING...
THE EARTH.
IT WAS THE BIRTH OF
METRICATION.
THE FIRST UNIT THEY FIXED WAS
THE METRE, BASING IT ON ONE
TEN MILLIONTH OF THE DISTANCE
BETWEEN THE NORTH POLE AND THE
EQUATOR.
THE NEXT WAS THE KILOGRAM.
AND THE TASK WAS GIVEN TO THE
FATHER OF MODERN CHEMISTRY,
ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER.
BY DAY, HE WAS A WEALTHY TAX
COLLECTOR, BY NIGHT, HE WAS
THE GREATEST CHEMIST IN THE
LAND.
THE FRENCH VISIONARIES BEHIND
THE METRIC SYSTEM WANTED ALL
THE NEW MEASUREMENTS TO BE
LINKED, SO THEY CAME UP WITH
AN ELEGANT SOLUTION.
THE NEW KILOGRAM WAS TO BE
EQUAL TO THE WEIGHT OF ONE
PERFECT CUBIC DECIMETRE OF
WATER.
A LITRE.

The scene changes to Marcus sitting at a French café.

He says THE IDEA WAS VERY SIMPLE.
ANYBODY WITH A METRE RULER AND
SOME WATER COULD CREATE THEIR
OWN KILO.
BUT MAKING A KILO BASED ON THE
WEIGHT OF A CUBIC DECIMETRE OF
WATER TURNED OUT TO BE MUCH
MORE DIFFICULT THAN THEY
THOUGHT.

The scene changes to Marcus inside of brick room. In front of him is a table with two graduated cylinders.

Marcus says NOW I'VE GOT TWO PERFECT
DECIMETRES OF WATER HERE.
THE TROUBLE IS THAT THESE
DON'T WEIGH THE SAME AMOUNT.
THE COLDER WATER WEIGHS 998
GRAMS, WHILST THE HOTTER
WATER, 957 GRAMS.
BECAUSE THE HOTTER WATER IS,
THE LESS DENSE IT IS.

He places a thermometer in one of the graduated cylinders.

Marcus says AND THAT'S THE TROUBLE, THE
WEIGHT DEPENDS ON THE
TEMPERATURE.
NOT ONLY THAT, IT'LL DEPEND
ON WHAT IMPURITIES ARE INSIDE
THE WATER, WHAT THE
ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE IS, HOW
FAR I AM ABOVE SEA LEVEL.
THERE'S A REAL PROBLEM WITH
TRYING TO DEFINE THE KILO
BASED ON THE WEIGHT OF WATER.
LAVOISIER CAME CLOSE TO
SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF HOW TO
ACCURATELY WEIGH WATER.
BUT HIS BRILLIANT CAREER MET
AN ABRUPT END AT THE HANDS OF
THE GUILLOTINE ON THE 8th OF
MAY, 1794.
HIS TAX COLLECTING DAY JOB WAS
HIS DOWNFALL.

An image shows a painting of a man being led to a guillotine in a public square.

Marcus continues
NEXT TO TAKE UP THE KILO
CHALLENGE WAS SCIENTIST LOUIS
LEFEVRE-GINEAU AND GIOVANNI
FABBRONI.
FOUR YEARS LATER, THEY FINALLY
PERFECTED HOW TO MEASURE A
CUBIC DECIMETRE OF DISTILLED
WATER.
A MASTER METAL KILOGRAM COULD
FINALLY BE CAST.

The scene changes to Marcus walking down a cobblestone street.

He says AND ON THE 22nd OF JUNE, 1799,
THEY PRESENTED THEIR PROTOTYPE
KILOGRAM TO THE NATION.
CALLED THE KILOGRAM DES
ARCHIVES, IT WAS MADE OUT OF
THE NEW WONDER METAL PLATINUM.
SOON, KILOGRAM CLONES, AS WELL
AS COPIES OF THE METRE BAR,
WERE BEING SENT TO VILLAGES
AND TOWNS ACROSS THE NATION TO
BRING UNIFORMITY TO THE FRENCH
EMPIRE.
THEIR VISION WAS BRILLIANT.
BUT THERE WAS A FLAW.
THE TROUBLE WAS THAT PURE
PLATINUM, ALTHOUGH RESISTANT
TO AIR AND WATER, IS ACTUALLY
RATHER SOFT AND PRONE TO
DAMAGE.
AND THAT MEANT BITS WERE
EASILY KNOCKED OFF, GRADUALLY
RENDERING THE HUNDREDS OF
CLONED KILOS INACCURATE.
THE ACADEMIES' GRAND IDEA WAS
SLOWLY BEING ERODED.
IT WOULD TAKE NEARLY 70 YEARS
TO REALIZE A NEW, MORE STABLE,
MASTER KILO.
AND THEN, A SET OF CLONES
WOULD BE NEEDED.
LONDON METALLURGISTS JOHNSON
MATTHEY WERE GIVEN THE ORDER
TO PRODUCE 250 KILOGRAMS OF
PLATINUM MIXED WITH
STRENGTH-GIVING IRIDIUM.

Paintings show metal workers pressing metal.

Marcus continues
IT WAS A BIG ORDER WORTH 2.2
MILLION POUNDS AT TODAY'S
PRICES.
THE MAN IN CHARGE OF
PRODUCTION, GEORGE MATTHEY,
THE WORLD'S LEADING EXPERT
IN CASTING PLATINUM, OFFERED
TO MAKE THE KILOS AT HIS
STATE-OF-THE-ART FURNACES AT
HATTON GARDEN.
BUT FRENCH PRIDE INTERVENED,
INSISTING IT HAPPEN HERE,
AT THE CONSERVATOIRE IN PARIS.

Marcus is shown standing outside the Conservatoire. It is an elegant yellow building with stone steps leads to the entrance.

Marcus says IT WAS A DISASTER.
THE PLATINUM GOT CONTAMINATED
BY IRON, RENDERING THE WHOLE
CONSIGNMENT USELESS.
IT WAS A HUGE EMBARRASSMENT...
BOTH THEIR FRENCH PRIDE AND
THEIR POCKETS.
BUT IT WASN'T THE DEATH OF THE
KILO OR THE METRIC SYSTEM.
WITH INTERNATIONAL TRADE
BOOMING, THE BENEFITS OF
HAVING ONE COMMON MEASUREMENT
SYSTEM WERE CLEAR FOR ALL TO
SEE.
AND IN 1785, DIPLOMATS FROM 17
COUNTRIES MET HERE IN PARIS
AND AGREED TO FORMALLY ADOPT
THE METRIC SYSTEM.

Fast clips show paintings of metal workers, a contract, and old buildings.
Marcus says WITH GREAT ZEAL, A NEW
KILOGRAM MASTER WAS
COMMISSIONED.
THE ORDER, ONCE AGAIN, WENT TO
JOHNSON MATTHEY, AND THIS TIME,
GEORGE MATTHEY WAS FINALLY
ALLOWED TO CAST THE MOST
ACCURATE PLATINUM AND IRIDIUM
KILO EVER MADE.
CHRISTENED LAH GRAN K, IT WAS
CONSIGNED TO A SPECIALLY MADE
VAULT AT A NEWLY ESTABLISHED
INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF
MEASUREMENT OUTSIDE PARIS.

Marcus walks up with a green gate. Behind it is a white building.

He says AND HERE IT IS, THE BUREAU
INTERNATIONALE DES POIDS ET
MESURES, THE BIPM OR, IN
ENGLISH, THE INTERNATIONAL
BUREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.
AND THIS IS REALLY
INTERNATIONAL TERRITORY.
IT'S KIND OF A MARK OF HOW
IMPORTANT MEASUREMENT IS TO
THE WORLD THAT WE'VE CREATED
A U.N. OF MEASUREMENT.
FROM THE BEGINNING, THE BIPM'S
MISSION WAS TO MAKE SURE
MEASUREMENTS WERE CONSISTENT
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
THIS IS THE BUILDING THAT WAS
ONCE HOME TO ALL THE WORLD'S
MASTER MEASUREMENTS.
TODAY MOST HAVE BEEN RETIRED.
REPLACED BY NEW DEFINITIONS
BASED ON THE UNIVERSAL AN
UNCHANGING LAWS OF NATURE,
LIKE THE SPEED OF LIGHT...

Images flashes of bright light, the Earth, and lah gran k.

Marcus says AND THE MOVEMENT OF ATOMS.
LAH GRAN K IS, IN FACT, THE
ONLY ARTIFACT THAT IS STILL
IN USE.
A MEASUREMENT DINOSAUR.
TODAY, HERE AT THE BIPM,
THEY'RE STILL MAKING CLONES OF
THAT GRAND K.

A man wearing a white safety suit is shown moving a weight back and forth in a rapidly spinning machine.

Marcus walks up to him and says FABRISE HERE IS POLISHING
THIS UNTIL IT EXACTLY MATCHES
THE MASS OF LAH GRAN K SITTING
IN THE VAULT DOWNSTAIRS.
OVER HALF THE COUNTRIES IN THE
WORLD HAVE ONE OF THESE
CLONES.
THE NEXT ONE HE'S WORKING ON
IS CLONE NUMBER 103, THAT'S
GOING TO GO TO... WELL, WE'RE
ACTUALLY NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW
WHERE IT'S GOING TO GO.
WITHOUT LAH GRAN K, OUR
ENTIRE GLOBAL SYSTEM OF MASS
AND WEIGHT MEASUREMENT WOULD
CRUMBLE.

The finished clone is placed inside a scale.
Marcus is shown walking outside the building.

He says UNFORTUNATELY, CRUMBLE IS A
LITTLE BIT OF A TOUCHY WORD
INSIDE THIS BUILDING BECAUSE
THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING TO LE
GRAND K.
I MEAN, IT'S NOT LITERALLY
CRUMBLING, BUT DESPITE THE KID
GLOVE TREATMENT IT'S RECEIVED
OVER THE LAST 150 YEARS, IT'S
BELIEVED THAT IT'S CHANGED BY
THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE GRAIN OF
SAND DURING ITS LIFETIME.
AND THAT'S BAD NEWS.
BECAUSE IT NO LONGER MATCHES
THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD'S
CLONES.
A NEW WAY TO DEFINE MASS IS
URGENTLY NEEDED.
NOW THE RACE IS ON TO REPLACE
THE DEFINITION OF THE KILO
WITH SOMETHING MORE FITTING
FOR THE 21st CENTURY,
SOMETHING BASED ON A UNIVERSAL
CONSTANT THAT CAN BE MEASURED
WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE
UNIVERSE.

A clip shows the Earth revolving on its axis.

Marcus continues
WE'VE DONE IT FOR LENGTH,
THAT'S NOW TIED TO THE SPEED
OF LIGHT.
FOR TIME, THAT'S RELATED TO
THE MOVEMENT OF ELECTRONS IN
THE ATOM.
NOW WE WANT TO DO IT FOR THE
KILO.
IT'S A HEAD-TO-HEAD RACE
BETWEEN TWO INTERNATIONAL
TEAMS.
EACH ONE TAKING A RADICALLY
DIFFERENT APPROACH TO SOLVING
THE KILO CRISIS.
IN AMERICA, TEAM WATT BALANCE
ARE COMBINING THE POWER OF
ELECTRICITY WITH SCALES WHOSE
PRINCIPLES DATE BACK 5,000
YEARS. THEIR DREAM, TO REDEFINE THE
KILO BASED ON ENERGY.

The image shows a giant machine revolving slowly.

Marcus says 6,000 KILOMETRES AWAY IN
GERMANY, TEAM SILICON SPHERE
ARE TRYING TO COUNT EVERY
SINGLE ATOM IN A PERFECT BALL
OF SILICON.

The image shows a scientist picking up a shiny sphere of silicon.

Marcus says IT'S AN IMMENSE TASK, LIKE
COVERING THE EARTH IN SAND AND
TRYING TO COUNT EVERY SINGLE
GRANULE.
AS THE BEST MINDS IN
MEASUREMENT SCIENCE FIGHT IT
OUT, LAH GRAN K'S LONG AND
ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER COULD SOON
BE OVER, BUT ITS LEGACY HAS
BEEN STAGGERING.

Fast clips show the Earth in space and then lah gran k.

Marcus says FROM THE MOMENT IT WAS
ADOPTED, THE MOVEMENT AND SALE
OF GOODS BECAME MUCH EASIER
AND MORE EFFICIENT.
THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY
JUMPED ON THE NEW METRIC
SYSTEM, LOVING ITS SIMPLICITY,
AND THE EASE THEY COULD SPLIT
OR MULTIPLY THE METRE AND
KILOGRAM BY TEN.

Fast clips sow large machines sorting crates of goods and men securing the goods with rope.

Marcus says BUT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF
ITS LIFE, IN THE 18th CENTURY,
THE PUBLIC REMAINED LESS
CONVINCED.

Back in the white-paneled room, Simon Schaffer says PEOPLE WERE
JUST NOT INTERESTED IN
REVOLUTIONIZING THEIR EVERYDAY
LIFE, WHAT THEY DID WHEN THEY
WENT SHOPPING, HOW THEY
EXCHANGED AND BOUGHT IN THE
NAME OF REVOLUTIONARY PURITY.

Marcus says THE KILO CONTINUES
TO DIVIDE OPINION.
IN THE UK, IT WAS ONLY ADOPTED
IN THE 1960s, AND ITS ARRIVAL
WAS MET WITH OUTRIGHT
HOSTILITY.

An old news clip is played. A middle aged man walks into a barn filled with cows.
He then talks into a reporter’s microphone.

The man says ALL WE ASK IS THE FREEDOM
OF CHOICE TO RECORD IN THE
NATIVE AND STILL LEGAL
MEASURES OF THIS COUNTRY,
INSTEAD OF THESE COCK-EYED
KILOGRAMS, WHICH MAKE NO SENSE
AT ALL.

Marcus says BUT DESPITE THE
OPPOSITION, TODAY ALL BUT
THREE NATIONS... THE UNITED
STATES, LIBERIA, AND MYANMAR...
HAVE EMBRACED THE KILO AND
THE METRIC SYSTEM.

An image of a world map flashes on the screen. The U.S. appears in red as well as Liberia, on the western coast of Africa, and Myanmar, on the southeast coast of Asia.

Marcus continues
WHILE THE WORLD WAS MOVING
TOWARDS A UNIFIED WEIGHT
MEASUREMENT SYSTEM, THE ACTUAL
TECHNOLOGY OF WEIGHING WAS NOW
LAGGING BEHIND.
VARIATIONS ON ANCIENT
MESOPOTAMIAN AND EGYPTIAN BEAM
BALANCES REMAINED OUR SCALES
OF CHOICE RIGHT UP TO THE 19th
CENTURY.

Images flash of hieroglyphics of people using scales.

Marcus continues
THE PROBLEM WAS THEY TOOK SO
LONG TO USE.
IN THE UK, WEIGHING WAS MADE
MUCH WORSE BY THE TURNPIKE ACT
OF 1752.
EAGER TO TAX THE MOVEMENT OF
GOODS, THE GOVERNMENT ORDERED
ALL TOWNS TO ERECT A CRANE
MACHINE OR ENGINE FOR THE
WEIGHING CARTS AND WAGONS.
AT EACH LOCATION, CARTS HAD
TO BE UNLOADED, WEIGHED,
RELOADED, AND WEIGHED ONCE
AGAIN.
AND TO ADD TO THE DAILY
MISERY, EVERY KEY ROAD
DEMANDED TOLLS, TOO, ALL
PAYABLE ON THE WEIGHT YOU WERE
CARRYING.
WITH THE BIRTH OF THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, THINGS
HAD TO CHANGE.
FACTORIES TO FORGES NOW NEEDED
RAW MATERIALS IN UNPRECEDENTED
QUANTITIES.

Fast clips show raw material like coal and sand being transferred and processed in large factories.

Marcus says AND THEY HAD TO BE WEIGHED,
BOUGHT AND TRANSPORTED WITH
EVER INCREASING SPEED AND
PRECISION.
A FASTER, MORE EFFICIENT MEANS
OF WEIGHS WAS DESPERATELY
NEEDED.
THE SOLUTION WAS THE WEIGH
BRIDGE.
A TECHNOLOGICAL TRIUMPH, THE
WEIGH BRIDGE, WITH ITS BALANCE
SCALE HIDDEN BENEATH THE
FLOOR, WOULD PLAY A KEY ROLE
IN DRIVING OUR INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION ONWARDS.

A picture shows a mound of scales the length of a small bridge.

Marcus says NOW LOADS COULD BE WEIGHED IN
SECONDS AS THEY ROLLED ON AND
OFF THE BRIDGE.
BUT IT WOULD TAKE ELECTRICITY
TO DRIVE THE NEXT BIG
BREAKTHROUGH IN WEIGHING.
INVENTOR CHARLES WHEATSTONE
CHAMPIONED THE USE OF
ELECTRICITY IN THE 1840s.

An image shows black and white photo of Charles. He is in his fifties with dark hair combed over his head. He wears small spectacles a suit and bowtie.

Marcus says EXPERIMENTING WITH SIMPLE
ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS, HE
DEVISED A WAY OF MEASURING
ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE.
BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL A CENTURY
LATER THAT PEOPLE REALIZED
THIS VERY SAME TECHNOLOGY
COULD BE USED TO MEASURE
WEIGHT.
TODAY THE NEED FOR SPEEDY
MASS MEASUREMENT DRIVES OUR
WORLD.

The scene changes to Marcus standing on a train platform. He is wearing a highlighter yellow coat, protective hat, and an orange vest. A green train moves past him slowly.

Marcus says THIS TRAIN IS DELIVERING COAL
TO RUGELEY POWER STATION AND,
AS IT RUNS OVER THE TRACK,
IT'S BEING WEIGHED BY LOAD
CELLS WHICH ARE UNDERNEATH
THE TRACK.
IF WE COME IN HERE, WE CAN SEE
HOW MUCH WE'VE WEIGHED SO FAR.

He walks into a room behind him.

Marcus walks up to a man dressed in bright orange with a white hardhat.

Marcus says SO HI, ANDY.

Andrew Tomlinson says HI.

Marcus points a screen and says SO THIS IS THE
FIRST CARRIAGE THAT'S GONE
OVER.
SO WE'VE GOT 100 TONS.

Andrew Tomlinson says YEAH.

Marcus says MUCH MORE EFFICIENT
THAN WEIGHING IT ALL BY HAND.

A caption reads, "Andrew Tomlinson: Avery Weigh-Tronix."

Andrew Tomlinson says OH, YEAH,
VERY MUCH SO, YEAH.
AND WE CAN MEASURE AT 70
KILOMETRES AN HOUR, SO YOU'RE
TALKING LESS THAN A SECOND PER
WAGON, PROBABLY.

Marcus says THAT'S EXTRAORDINARY.

Andrew Tomlinson says YEAH.

Now outside on the train tracks, Marcus says SO HOW'S THIS PIECE
OF TRACK ACTUALLY WEIGHING THE
TRAIN?
WELL, UNDERNEATH THE TRACK ARE
SEVERAL OF THESE.

He picks up a shiny cylindrical instrument from the ground. There is a system of wires and tubes inside the cylinder.

Marcus says THEY'RE CALLED LOAD CELLS.
AND, ACTUALLY, IT'S THIS LITTLE
SYSTEM OF WIRES ON THE ROD
WHICH IS DOING THE WEIGHING.
BUT AS SOON AS SOMETHING RUNS
OVER THE TRACK, IT COMPRESSES
THE ROD AND THE WIRES GET
SHORTER AND FATTER.
THE RESISTANCE GOES DOWN, I
GET MORE ELECTRICAL CURRENT
RUNNING THROUGH IT, AND
SUDDENLY, I'M GETTING A
READING.
WHAT'S AMAZING IS THERE'S A
DIRECT MATHEMATICAL
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE
INCREASE IN ELECTRICAL CURRENT
AND THE WEIGHT GOING OVER THE
WIRES.
SO WE'RE USING THE ELECTRICITY
TO WEIGH THE TRAIN.
IN FACT, THIS THING IS SO
SENSITIVE, THAT EVEN IF I
STEP ON IT, I ACTUALLY CAN GET
HOW MUCH I WEIGH.
SO LET'S SEE.
SO HOW MUCH DO I WEIGH, ANDY?

Andrew Tomlinson says 84.

Marcus says 84 KILOS?

Andrew Tomlinson says YEAH.

Marcus says I DON'T WEIGH 84
KILOS.

He looks at the load cell and says MUST BE THE WEIGHT OF THIS.

Fast clips show trucks driving on the road, people weighing groceries, and cranes moving crates.

Marcus says TODAY LOAD CELLS ARE USED THE
WORLD OVER.
WE'VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE
THE DAYS OF THE BEAM BALANCE.
NOW EVERYWHERE FROM ROADSIDE
WEIGH STATIONS TO SUPERMARKET
CHECKOUTS USE THEM.
MEASURING MASS WITH ELECTRICITY
HAS CHANGED OUR WORLD.
WE CAN NOW WEIGH, TRANSPORT,
AND DELIVER BILLIONS OF TONS
WORTH OF PRODUCE WITH A SPEED
AND ACCURACY OUR VICTORIAN
FOREFATHERS WOULD NEVER HAVE
DREAMT POSSIBLE.
PRECISION MASS MEASUREMENT IS
KEY TO WORLD COMMERCE.
NOW IT'S THE TURN OF THE VERY
SMALL TO PUSH THE LIMITS OF
MASS MEASUREMENT.

Now Marcus is walking into a tall white building.

He says HERE IN AMERICA, I'VE COME TO
MEET A TEAM WHO'VE COME UP
WITH A UNIQUE APPROACH TO
MEASURING SOME OF THE SMALLEST
LIVING THINGS ON EARTH.
CELLS.

Images show cells in different stages of mitosis.

Marcus says PROJECT LEADER SCOTT MANALIS
IS USING MASS TO MONITOR THE
GROWTH OF CELLS.
HIS WORK COULD ONE DAY
REVOLUTIONIZE OUR FIGHT
AGAINST CANCER.
IN HIS LAB, HE HAS BUILT THE
WORLD'S SMALLEST WEIGHING
STATION.
HERE, INSIDE A MICROCHIP JUST
MILLIMETRES IN SIZE, CELLS ARE
CAPTURED AND PASSED OVER A
SENSOR.

The image shows a small microchip with a number of wires leading away from it. The image then changes to a white rectangular box with a section cut out from it. A long thin piece juts over the empty section. The top of the box shows a pathway leading from one end of the box, all the way down the long thin piece and out the other end. A small ball rolls through the pathway followed by a red laser.

Marcus continues
THE LONG THIN SECTION
HIGHLIGHTED HERE ACTS A BIT
LIKE A DIVING BOARD.
WHEN A CELL PASSES OVER IT,
IT VIBRATES, JUST LIKE A DIVING
BOARD MOVES AFTER A DIVER
JUMPS OFF IT.
THE SPEED OF THE VIBRATION IS
DIRECTLY LINKED TO THE WEIGHT
OF THE CELL.
SO USING SIMPLE MATHS, SCOTT
CAN MEASURE THE CELL WITH
INCREDIBLE ACCURACY.

Marcus stands next to Scott in a laboratory. Scott is in his forties, clean-shaved, with short brown hair. He wears glasses and a light-blue button down.

Scott Manalis says THIS CELL IS
EQUIVALENT TO A WHITE BLOOD
CELL IN TERMS OF ITS SIZE.

Marcus says OKAY.

Scott Manalis says AND IT WEIGHS
100 PICOGRAMS.

Marcus says PICOGRAMS.
SO THAT'S...

Scott Manalis says 10 TO THE
MINUS 12.

Marcus says SO NOUGHT POINTS.

Scott Manalis says A LOT OF
ZEROS.

Marcus says SO THIS IS AN
INCREDIBLY SMALL THING YOU'RE
MEASURING.

Scott Manalis says SO THE CELL
DOESN'T WEIGH VERY MUCH, AND
THE PRECISION AT WHICH WE CAN
WEIGH IT WITH IS FOUR ORDERS
OF MAGNITUDE BELOW THAT.

Marcus says THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

Scott Manalis says THAT'S TEN
FEMTOGRAMS.
SO THAT TAKES US FROM
MINUS 12 TO MINUS 15.
ONE PART IN 10,000.

Marcus says 10,000.
YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.

Scott Manalis says WE CARE A
LOT ABOUT THESE THINGS.

The image shows cells under a microscope.

Marcus says WE'RE SOON IN THE
DOMAIN OF EXTREME NUMBERS, BUT
WHAT'S AMAZING IS SCOTT'S
MEASURING THE WEIGHT OF A
SINGLE CELL TO WITHIN A
THOUSAND TRILLIONTH OF A GRAM.
HIS WORK IS REVOLUTIONIZING
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW CELLS
GROW.
AND BY MEASURING HOW CELLS
RESPOND TO A DRUG, IT COULD
LEAD TO PERSONALIZED AND FAR
MORE EFFECTIVE CANCER
TREATMENT.

Fast clips show outer space, weights, lah gran k, and the silicon sphere.

Marcus continues
IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THE
LIMITS WE ARE NOW PUSHING MASS
MEASUREMENT.
BUT SCIENTISTS ARE FRUSTRATED.
AND IT'S BECAUSE WE'RE STILL
TRYING TO TIE MASS BACK TO
THAT AGING LUMP OF METAL IN
PARIS, LAH GRAN K.
AND WITH LAH GRAN K'S WEIGHT
UNSTABLE, THERE'S A REAL
URGENCY TO FIND A NEW, EVEN
MORE ACCURATE WAY TO DEFINE
MASS.
NOW A RACE IS BEING FOUGHT
ACROSS TWO CONTINENTS TO
RETIRE LAH GRAN K.

The scene changes to a green field with a sidewalk leading to a rectangular shaped building made of wood. A caption reads, "National Institute of Standards and Technology: Maryland, U.S.A."

While walking down the sidewalk, Marcus says 20 MILES NORTH OF WASHINGTON
IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST
ACCURATE SET OF SCALES.
THIS WHOLE AREA IS A CAR-FREE
ZONE, AND THAT'S BECAUSE THE
SCALES THAT ARE BEING USED
HERE ARE SO SENSITIVE THAT
EVEN THE MAGNETIC FIELD CAUSED
BY THE METAL INSIDE THE CARS
CAN AFFECT THE MEASUREMENTS.
WELCOME TO TEAM WATT BALANCE.
MOST THINGS IN THE STRANGE
LOOKING BUILDING ARE MADE OF
WOOD AND CLAD IN VINYL TO
MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF
MAGNETISM.
EVERYTHING FROM THE POWER
LINES TO THE PLUMBING PIPES
ARE ENCASED IN SHIELDED
PLASTIC DUCTS.
AND EVERY SINGLE BIT OF METAL
THAT ENTERS THE LAB, DOWN TO
THIS TINY SPARE PART, HAS TO
BE CHECKED FOR ITS LEVELS OF
MAGNETISM.

Images flash of tiny pieces of metal being suspended in the air by wires. A moment later, Marcus is walking up the stairs with Stephan Shlamminger. He is clean-shaven with short, brown hair. He wears glasses, a yellow button-down, and jeans.

Stephan Shlammingger says I
SHOULD POINT OUT TO YOU THIS
BUILDING, THIS IS ALL A WOODEN
STRUCTURE...

Marcus says STEPHAN
SCHLAMMINGER'S PROJECT IS ONE
OF THE LONGEST RUNNING
METROLOGY EXPERIMENTS IN THE
WORLD.
ITS FOUNDERS HAVE LONG SINCE
RETIRED, BUT NOW THE TEAM HERE
ARE CLOSE TO FULFILLING THEIR
DREAM.
AND THIS IS THEIR BRAINCHILD.
THE WATT BALANCE.

The image shows several scientists sitting in a room talking and laughing. The image changes to a spacious and tall room with brown walls. A giant machine sits in the middle. Levers and gears slowly move around.

INSIDE THIS CAGE OF PURE
COPPER IS A WEIGHING SCALE
WHOSE PRINCIPLES GO BACK TO
THE VERY FIRST BALANCES 5,000
YEARS AGO.
AND IT'S SO SENSITIVE IT CAN
MEASURE THE KILO TO 8 DECIMAL
PLACES.

Stephan Shlammingger says SO
HERE'S OUR WATT BALANCE.

Marcus says IT IS A THING OF
BEAUTY, WOW.

Stephan Shlammingger says IT
REALLY IS.
AND YOU SEE UP HERE THIS WHEEL
IS LIKE THE BEAM IN AN
OLD-FASHIONED BEAM BALANCE.

Marcus says THAT'S QUITE
ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY, ISN'T IT?

Stephan Shlammingger says YEAH.
IT'S THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD
TECHNOLOGY UP ON TOP, BUT DOWN
HERE, YOU WILL SEE THE COIL
THAT'S CONNECTED TO THREE
RODS, AND THIS WILL PROVIDE
THE COUNTERFORCE TO THE
GRAVITATIONAL FORCE THAT THIS
MASS IS PROVIDING.

Marcus says ON ONE SIDE OF THE
SCALES, DEEP INSIDE THE
MECHANISM, SITS A CLONE OF LE
GRAND K.
WHAT'S SO EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT
THIS DEVICE IS THAT ON THE
OTHER SIDE, INSTEAD OF A
WEIGHT, THE TEAM ARE USING
ELECTRICAL FORCE TO
COUNTERBALANCE IT.

Stephan Shlammingger says THE
WATT BALANCE DEFINES THE
KILOGRAM BY LINKING MECHANICAL
POWER TO ELECTRICAL POWER.
THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE
WATT BALANCE.

Marcus says RIGHT.
THEIR GOAL IS TO MEASURE THE
AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY NEEDED
TO PERFECTLY COUNTERBALANCE
THE KILO CLONE AND REDEFINE
THE KILOGRAM BASED ON
ELECTRICAL POWER.
IT SOUNDS STRAIGHTFORWARD, BUT
WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH ONE
OF THE MOST SENSITIVE SCALES
IN THE WORLD, EVERYTHING FROM
CAR ENGINES TO THE MOVEMENT OF
THE LOCAL DEER POPULATION
OUTSIDE CAN AFFECT ITS
READINGS.

Images flash of deer running outside the facility and a colourful map of the globe showing the different gravity levels of each area.

Marcus continues
EVEN TINY SHIFTS IN GRAVITY,
LIKE THE PHASE OF THE MOON AND
THE LEVEL OF GROUND WATER,
NEED TO BE MEASURED AND TAKEN
INTO ACCOUNT WHEN THIS
EXPERIMENT IS RUNNING.
IT SEEMS YOU ARE HAVING TO
KEEP TRACK OF SO MANY
DIFFERENT THINGS IN ORDER TO
PIN DOWN THAT KILO.

The image shows a large spiral slowly moves up and down the watt balance.

Stephan Shlammingger says THAT'S
THE ART.

Marcus says THAT'S THE ART, THE
ART AND THE SCIENCE OF THIS.
THAT'S AMAZING.

Stephan Shlammingger says SO WE
TRY TO MEASURE THIS KILO TO
ABOUT FOUR PARTS PER HUNDRED
MILLION, AND IN ORDER TO DO
SO, WE NEED TO MEASURE ALL
THESE AUXILIARY QUANTITIES
LIKE WATTAGE, RESISTANCE,
GRAVITY, METRE, SECOND, TO
MUCH BETTER THAN FOUR PARTS
PER HUNDRED MILLION.

Marcus says NOW, AFTER MORE
THAN 30 YEARS OF PERFECTING
THE SCALE'S ACCURACY, TEAM
WATT BALANCE ARE VERY CLOSE TO
ACHIEVING THEIR HOLY GRAIL...
A NEW ELECTRONIC KILOGRAM.

The scene changes to Marcus walking down a beach.

Marcus says I LEFT THE WATT BALANCE TEAM
REALIZING I WAS WITNESSING A
POTENTIALLY HISTORIC MOMENT
IN THE LIFE OF THE KILOGRAM.
THE DAYS OF THE AMERICAN KILO
MAKING ITS TRANSATLANTIC
JOURNEY TO PARIS TO BE
COMPARED AGAINST LAH GRAN K ARE
PROBABLY NUMBERED.
BUT THE WATT BALANCE TEAM HAVE
GOT A RIVAL.
IN GERMANY, TEAM SILICON
SPHERE HAVE GOT A COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT APPROACH TO
REDEFINING THE KILO.
AND IT INVOLVES COUNTING THE
NUMBER OF ATOMS IN A KILOGRAM
OF SILICON CRYSTAL.
PEOPLE OFTEN TALK ABOUT
COUNTING THE NUMBER OF GRAINS
OF SAND ON A BEACH, BUT WHAT
TEAM SILICON SPHERE ARE
PROPOSING TO DO IS IN A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEAGUE.
IT'S LIKE TRYING TO COVER THE
WHOLE GLOBE IN SAND AND
COUNTING EVERY GRAIN.

The image changes to electrons spiraling around the nucleus of an atom. A moment later, a black and white drawing of John Dalton sitting in his laboratory. He is in his forties, wearing circle-framed glasses and a suit. He is surrounded by scientific instruments.

Marcus says BUT WHAT ARE THESE ATOMS
THEY'RE TRYING TO COUNT?
IT WAS THE ANCIENT GREEKS WHO
FIRST CAME UP WITH THE WORD
ATOM TO DEFINE THE SMALLEST
INDIVISIBLE PARTICLE OF
MATTER.
BUT IT TOOK ENGLISHMAN, JOHN
DALTON, IN THE 19th CENTURY,
TO SHED LIGHT ON WHAT ATOMS
REALLY ARE.
AT THE TIME, WE KNEW THAT ALL
MATTER WAS MADE UP OF
DIFFERENT ELEMENTS LIKE CARBON
AND OXYGEN.
DALTON'S BRILLIANCE WAS A
RADICAL THEORY THAT EACH
ELEMENT MUST CONSIST OF ATOMS
OF A SINGLE UNIQUE TYPE AND
MASS.
DALTON WOULD NEVER HAVE DREAMT
IT POSSIBLE TO SEE OR COUNT
THESE ATOMS.
BUT NOW, IN A REMOTE LAB IN
NORTHERN GERMANY, SCIENTISTS
ARE ATTEMPTING TO DO JUST
THAT.

Now, Marcus walks into a tall white building. A fountain leads up to the entrance. A caption reads, "National Metrology Institute of Germany: Braunschweig."

Marcus continues
WHAT DALTON DIDN'T REALIZE IS
THE SHEER NUMBER OF ATOMS
INSIDE THINGS.
THAT THERE ARE TRILLION UPON
TRILLION INSIDE A SINGLE KILO
OF SILICON.
AND IT'S BY COUNTING THESE
ATOMS THAT THE SILICON SPHERE
TEAM HOPE TO DEFINE THE KILO.

Marcus stands in front of a shiny sphere sitting on top of a cloth.

He says THIS IS A PERFECT KILOGRAM
SPHERE OF PURE SILICON.
THE CULMINATION OF 30 YEARS
WORK.
IT REPRESENTS ONE OF THE MOST
AMBITIOUS CHALLENGES EVER TO
BE UNDERTAKEN IN MEASUREMENT
HISTORY.
LIKE THE WATT BALANCE, THE
SILICON SPHERE PROJECT STARTED
IN THE 1970s.

The scene changes Peter Becker sitting in a laboratory surrounded by large machines. He is in his late sixties with grey hair and a mustache. He wears a grey button down and a charcoal coat.
A caption reads, "Peter Becker: National Metrology Institute of Germany."

Peter Becker says THE GOAL WAS
TO MEASURE THE ATOMIC
DISTANCES, THE DISTANCE
BETWEEN THE ATOMS IN A VERY
PERFECT CRYSTAL.
SILICON WAS, AT THAT TIME, A
MATERIAL WHICH WAS USED FOR
THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY
AND WAS FIRST VERY PERFECT
MATERIAL FOR THAT USE.

Marcus says SILICON ATOMS LINE
UP IN AN EXTREMELY RIGID AND
REGULAR PATTERN, WHICH IN
THEORY MAKES THEM EASIER TO
COUNT.
THE IDEA WAS TO CREATE A
PERFECT SPHERE OF SILICON,
MEASURE ITS DIMENSIONS WITH
EXTREME PRECISION, AND THEN
CALCULATE THE SPACES BETWEEN
THE ATOMS USING A TECHNIQUE
CALLED X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY.
THEN, USING SIMPLE MATHS,
THEY COULD WORK OUT THE TOTAL
NUMBER OF ATOMS IN THE SPHERE.
THE PROJECT WAS SUPPOSED TO
TAKE A COUPLE OF YEARS.
BUT THEY FACED MANY
CHALLENGES.

Fast clips show the creation of the silicon sphere in different stages of production.

Marcus says THE FIRST WAS HOW TO CREATE A
PERFECT SPHERE.
THE LEVELS OF PERFECTION THE
TEAM WAS SEEKING WERE BEYOND
THE CAPABILITIES OF ANY
MACHINE.
THEY SCOURED THE GLOBE AND
FOUND THE ONLY WAY TO CREATE A
SPHERE TO THE LEVEL OF
PERFECTION THEY NEEDED WAS TO
DO IT BY HAND.
AND ONLY ONE MAN WAS CAPABLE
OF THIS... AUSTRALIAN LENS
MAKER AKIM LEZNER.

An image shows a man wearing glasses with a black and white beard looking at the silicon sphere.

Marcus continues
HE LITERALLY USED HIS HANDS TO
SHAPE THE BALL TO SUCH AN
INCREDIBLE LEVEL OF
PERFECTION, THAT IF YOU
LIKENED IT TO THE EARTH, THE
LEVEL OF ITS SURFACE WOULD
NEVER VARY MORE THAN A FEW
METRES.
USING HIS EXTRAORDINARY SENSE
OF TOUCH, IT'S SAID ACHIM
COULD FEEL SILICON'S ATOMIC
STRUCTURE WITH HIS FINGERTIPS.

Back in the laboratory, Peter Becker says YOU NEED
REALLY A FEELING HOW MANY
ATOMS YOU HAVE TO REMOVE ON
THAT SIDE OR ON OTHER SIDE
OF THE SPHERE.
SO HE HAD AN ATOMIC FEELING
IN HIS HANDS.

Marcus says IT TOOK MONTHS FOR
ACHIM TO PERFECT HIS SPHERE.
FINALLY, THE TASK OF ANALYZING
THE SPACE BETWEEN THE SILICON
ATOMS COULD BEGIN.
BUT ON THE CUSP OF REALIZING
THEIR DREAM, DISASTER STRUCK.
THERE WAS A FLAW IN THE VERY
MAKE-UP OF THE SILICON.

Now, Marcus stands in a luminous hallway. He says IN ITS NATURAL STATE, SILICON
CONSISTS OF THREE DIFFERENT
FORMS CALLED ISOTOPES.
NOW EACH DIFFERENT ATOM HAS A
DIFFERENT MASS.
LEISTNER'S SPHERE CONTAINED ALL
THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF THESE
ATOMS.
THE TEAM NEEDED A PURE SOURCE
OF SILICON OR ELSE THE PROJECT
WAS OVER.
THE SOLUTION CAME FROM AN
UNLIKELY SOURCE.
A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY.

The image changes to the outside of a large secluded building. Smoke billows out from a tall tower.

Back in the laboratory, Peter Becker says THE COLD WAR
WAS OVER, AND A LOT OF
CENTRIFUGE IN RUSSIA WERE NOT
RUNNING FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
SO WE WERE LUCKY TO RENT SOME
OF THESE CENTRIFUGE TO PREPARE
SILICON FOR OUR PURPOSE.

Fast clips show workers sitting around benches in the nuclear weapons facility.

Marcus says A NEW BATCH OF
SILICON WAS SENT TO RUSSIA
AND SPUN IN THE SAME
CENTRIFUGE THAT WAS FORMERLY
USED TO ENRICH URANIUM.
THIS FORCED OUT THE WAYWARD
EXTRA ISOTOPES PRODUCING PURE
SILICON 28.
THEN LEISTNER HAD TO START THE
JOB OF POLISHING ALL OVER
AGAIN.
FINALLY, AFTER MANY YEARS, THE
SCIENTISTS ONCE AGAIN STARTED
COUNTING THE SPACE BETWEEN THE
ATOMS.
AND TRILLIONS OF ATOMS LATER,
THEY'VE NEARLY COMPLETED THEIR
TASK.

The image changes to Arnold Nicolaus in a laboratory. He is in his early fifties with a black and white goatee. He is balding with short black and white hair around his head. Arnold wears a grey shirt and a blue tie with small, white polka dots. A caption reads, "Arnold Nicolaus: National Metrology Institute of Germany."

Arnold Nicolaus WE HOPE IN
TWO YEARS WE WILL HAVE ALL THE
INFORMATION TOGETHER FOR A NEW
DEFINITION THAT MEANS WE HAVE
A VALUE WITH A VERY SMALL
UNCERTAINTY, LET'S SAY BELOW
TWO TIMES TEN TO MINUS EIGHT.

Marcus says AND THAT'S AN
ACCURACY TO 8 DECIMAL PLACES.
IT'S THE SAME LEVEL OF
PRECISION AS TEAM WATT BALANCE
IN AMERICA ARE STRIVING FOR.

An image shows Arnold putting on black latex gloves. He picks up the silicon sphere.

Back in the laboratory, Peter Becker AT THE
MOMENT, WE ARE IN THE POLE
POSITION TO WIN THIS RACE.

Marcus says WITHIN A FEW YEARS,
LAH GRAN K COULD BE RETIRED.
BUT THE WORK HERE COULD
REVOLUTIONIZE ANOTHER OF THE
SEVEN FUNDAMENTAL UNITS WE USE
TO DESCRIBE OUR WORLD.

The scene changes to Marcus walking into a German restaurant. A waitress approaches.
Marcus speaks in German. The waitress walks away.

A moment later, Marcus says IF THE SILICON TEAM ARE
SUCCESSFUL, THEN THEY WON'T
JUST REDEFINE THE KILO.
THEY COULD END UP REDEFINING
THE S.I. UNIT MOST FEARED BY
CHEMISTRY STUDENTS ACROSS THE
WORLD.
THE MOLE.
IT'S A WORD WHICH COMES FROM
LATIN MEANING MASSIVE HEAP OF
MATERIAL.

The waitress returns and places and cup of coffee in front of Marcus.

Marcus says NOW CHEMISTS PROBABLY WON'T
LIKE THIS, BUT CONSIDER THIS
CUP OF COFFEE.
THERE'S A CERTAIN RATIO OF
MILK TO COFFEE, SAY ONE PART
MILK TO NINE PARTS COFFEE,
WHICH COMBINED MAKES ONE PART
PERFECT MILKY COFFEE.
NOW THE MOLE DOES A SIMILAR
THING FOR CHEMISTS, BUT
REPLACE THE COFFEE AND THE
MILK WITH ATOMS AND MOLECULES.

He picks up the cup of coffee. He takes a sip.

Marcus says YEAH, PERFECT.
ALL THIS LEADS BACK TO OUR
FRIEND DALTON AND HIS WORK
IN THE 19th CENTURY.
WHEN HE BEGAN HIS INVESTIGATION
INTO ATOMS, HE DISCOVERED
THAT ATOMS FROM DIFFERENT
ELEMENTS WEIGHED DIFFERENT
AMOUNTS.
AT THE CENTRE OF EVERY ATOM IS
A NUCLEUS CONTAINING PROTONS
AND NEUTRONS.

An image shows two electrons orbiting around a proton and neutron.

Marcus continues
DIFFERENT ELEMENTS HAVE
DIFFERENT NUMBERS OF THESE
PROTONS AND NEUTRONS, WHICH IS
WHY THEY WEIGH DIFFERENT
AMOUNTS.
THROUGHOUT THE 19th CENTURY,
THE GREATEST CHEMISTS OF THE
DAY FEVERISHLY TRIED TO WORK
OUT THE ATOMIC WEIGHTS OF ALL
THE KNOWN ELEMENTS.
IT LED TO ONE OF SCIENCE'S
GREATEST EVER ACHIEVEMENTS.
DMITRI MENDELEEV'S PERIODIC
TABLE.

A black and white photograph shows Dmitri sitting in a chair. He is in his fifties with unruly dark hair and a bushy goatee. A moment later, an image of the periodic table appears.

Marcus says AND IF YOU LOOK AT EACH
ELEMENT ON THAT TABLE, YOU'LL
SEE THEIR ATOMIC MASS WRITTEN
JUST BELOW THEM.
IT WAS A HUGE BREAKTHROUGH.
CHEMISTS COULD FINALLY MIX AND
MANIPULATE ELEMENTS WITH
NEWFOUND PRECISION.
BUT ATOMS ARE FAR TOO SMALL TO
LOOK AT AND MANIPULATE
INDIVIDUALLY.
WHAT CHEMISTS NEEDED WAS A WAY
OF SCALING UP ATOMIC WEIGHT
INTO SOMETHING MORE TANGIBLE
THEY COULD WEIGH.
AND THE ANSWER WAS THE MOLE.

Black and white clips shows scientists holding up beakers and conducting a variety of experiments in fume hoods.

Marcus says THE MOLE IS REALLY JUST A BIG
NUMBER.
A HUGE NUMBER, IN FACT.
WHICH WHEN YOU COMBINE IT WITH
THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF EACH
ELEMENT ALLOWS YOU TO WORK OUT
HOW MANY ATOMS THERE ARE
INSIDE SOMETHING.
IT'S THE CHEMIST'S WAY OF
SCALING UP THE MICROSCOPIC
WORLD OF THE ATOM TO OUR WORLD
OF THE GRAM.
IT'S REALLY THE BEDROCK OF
MODERN CHEMISTRY, ALLOWING US
TO MIX THINGS FROM DRUGS TO
FUEL WITH SUCH PRECISION.
BUT IT LEAVES OPEN ONE BIG
QUESTION.
EXACTLY HOW MANY ATOMS ARE
THERE INSIDE A MOLE?

The image changes to Martin Milton sitting in an office. He is in his forties with short, brown hair. He wears rectangle-framed glasses, and a blue and light green striped button down. A caption reads, "Martin Milton: International Bureau of Weights and Measures."

Martin Milton says THE NUMBER
OF ATOMS THAT WE HAVE IN A
MOLE IS WHAT WE CALL
AVOGADRO'S NUMBER.

A black and white clip plays showing Einstein smoking a pipe doing calculations.

Martin continues
WE CAN GO BACK TO EINSTEIN,
FOR INSTANCE, IN 1905.
HE CAME UP WITH ONE OF THE
FIRST ESTIMATES OF JUST HOW
BIG THIS NUMBER IS.
FROM LOOKING DOWN MICROSCOPES
AT POLLEN GRAINS, AND FROM
THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET ONE OF
OUR FIRST ESTIMATES OF THE
NUMBER.
HE GOT THE FIRST NUMBER RIGHT.
HE GOT THE 6 RIGHT, AND HE GOT
THE 23 ZEROS RIGHT.

Marcus says WHILE EINSTEIN'S
GROUND-BREAKING WORK GOT CLOSE
TO DEFINING THE ELUSIVE
AVOGADRO'S NUMBER, IT'S THE
SILICON SPHERE TEAM THAT COULD
NOT ONLY SOLVE THE KILO
CONUNDRUM, BUT ALSO SOLVE THE
CENTURIES OLD QUESTION OF HOW
MANY ATOMS THERE ARE IN A
MOLE...
AND, ONCE AND FOR ALL, DEFINE
AVOGADRO'S NUMBER.
IF THIS HAPPENS, IT WILL BE A
REMARKABLE MOMENT IN
MEASUREMENT HISTORY.
IN ONE ASTONISHING EXPERIMENT,
TWO GOLDEN UNITS OF
MEASUREMENT COULD BE
REDEFINED.

The image changes to Marcus walking down a street.

He says WE'VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE
THE DAYS OF USING BARLEY CORN
WEIGHTS.
OUR QUEST FOR EVER GREATER
PRECISION HAS LED US INTO THE
VERY FABRIC OF OUR UNIVERSE,
ALLOWING US TO WEIGH AND
ANALYZE THINGS WITH INCREDIBLE
SPEED, SCALE AND PRECISION.
IN A FEW YEARS TIME, ALL GOING
WELL, THE BIPM WILL DECIDE
BETWEEN ATOMS OR ELECTRICAL
FORCE TO REDEFINE THE KILO.
THE WINNER IS KIND OF
IRRELEVANT.
BOTH TEAM WATT BALANCE AND
SILICON BALL HAVE DONE WHAT
SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE, TO REDEFINE
THE KILO BASED ON THE UNCHANGING
LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE.

Clips show scientists working with the watts balance in the U.S. and Arnold Nicolaus holding up the silicon sphere in Germany.

Marcus continues
IN THE PURSUIT OF EVER GREATER
ACCURACY, THESE REMARKABLE
PROJECTS HAVE BROUGHT TOGETHER
THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF
SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVOUR.
BUT OUR QUEST FOR EVER GREATER
PRECISION DOESN'T STOP HERE.
THE LAST GREAT MEASUREMENT
FRONTIER WILL BE TO JOURNEY
INSIDE ATOMS THEMSELVES TO
DISCOVER WHAT MASS REALLY IS.

The image changes to an underground system of long tunnels filled with pipes.
100 METRES UNDER THE SWISS
FRENCH BORDER AT CERN'S
PARTICLE ACCELERATOR,
SCIENTISTS THINK THEY'VE
DISCOVERED A PARTICLE THAT
GIVES THINGS MASS...
THE HIGGS BOSON.
AND ONE DAY, OUR HUMAN DESIRE
FOR EVER GREATER PRECISION MAY
EVEN SEE MASS REDEFINED ONCE
MORE AND TIED TO HIGGS ITSELF.
IF IT HAPPENS, WHO KNOWS WHAT
THE TECHNOLOGICAL IMPACTS WILL
BE.

Fast clips show scientists clapping, the Big Bang, and the Milky Way swirling in space.

Marcus continues
AND THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF
MEASUREMENT.
EVERY LEAP IN PRECISION LEADS
TO NEW SCIENTIFIC AND
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES.
MEASUREMENT HAS SHAPED OUR
HISTORY AND WILL CONTINUE TO
CHANGE OUR WORLD.

Fast clips show Marcus walking into a building, a man shoveling coal into a furnace, a lightning storm, and boiling water.

Marcus says NEXT WE EXPLORE THE WORLD OF
ENERGY AND HOW THE
MEASUREMENT OF LIGHT, HEAT AND
ELECTRICITY HAVE TRANSFORMED
OUR LIVES...
AS I CONTINUE MY JOURNEY INTO
MEASUREMENT.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

Director: Mike Cunliffe.
Producer: Mark Woodward.

A logo reads, "A Big Wave Production for BBC."

Watch: Ep. 2 - Mass and Moles