The full monty of the â€œLe SystÃ¨me International d’UnitÃ©s,” commonly known as SI.
Bladon accomplishes a difficult task: creating a dictionary of measurement units that both educates and enthralls. Despite one drawback–it would have been helpful to have more in-depth explanations of what various quantities mean (what, for example, â€œluminous flux” should signal to the layman)–this dictionary provides enough curiosities to entertain and inform metric-system novices and prove an indispensable, vest-pocket reference tool for professionals. The author clearly presents units, symbols and quantities with a few short comments. The tone is authoritative, and the exposition bell-clear. In addition to expected material–names translated to symbols, the use of prefixes and factors–Bladon provides intriguing notes to add interest, such as explanations of the surnames of famous scientists used for units. It’s no great stretch to imagine that a newton is named after Sir Isaac, but there is grim fascination in discovering that a gray, or an absorbed dose of radiation, came from Louis Harold Gray. In addition, Bladon includes a brief appendix of metric units that are not strictly SI units, such as hectares, litres and tonnes, but don’t expect to find an inch, foot or yard here.
A highly accessible guide to the metric system.