April 30th, 2007

Laptop with wireless mouse

Units of Scientific Measurement

Last week, I noted that the first controlled nuclear reaction occurred in a squash court, which implies there was a squash court going spare - or requisitionable for a large, military-funded research project - in 1942. This week, I noted that ENIAC was built in a room the size of a squash court (but presumably not an actual ex-squash court). Suddenly wondering if large science projects of the twentieth century were all measured in terms of squash courts, I superficially did a web search for answers.

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I thought I had a conclusive case, but it turns out that tennis courts are also used as a scientific measurement. Satellites and lumps of gold are both measured in terms of tennis courts. Alveoli are special, as they can be measured in both tennis courts AND in badminton courts. Only oceanographers and engineers use volleyball courts, however.

And as for the future of scientific measurement, that lies in handball courts. (PDF)