Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Metric System

A lot of people wonder how the Metric system came into being. It has a

long history, dating back to the time when the Romans were establishing the

city of Carthage on the Nile River in Egypt. Because of the differences in

measurement systems between the Roman engineers who were building

structures like the Parthenon, and the Egyptian engineers who were building

pyramids like the temples at Luxor (not to be confused with the temple of

Angkor Wat at Chichen Itza), there was much confusion and it was realized

that a standardised system of measurement would help. So with the help of

Antony Caesar and Cleopatra, the scholars of the day created a system of

standards which could be used internationally.

Unfortunately this system was lost when the Roman civilization collapsed.

However, years later in Egypt, French troops under Napoleon dug up a large tablet or

monument, now known as the Rosetta Stone, which gave the measurements of

various different items in 3 different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphs,

Greek, and Latin. It was therefore an easy matter for Rennaissance

scholars to create a table of conversion factors. The scholars were headed

by the famous abbey, Bernard de Metrier, or in English, Bernard of

Metricia. Hence the system that they worked out was named the Metric

system in his honour.

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