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1.National Institute of Standards and Technology, “ International System of Units (SI),” <>.
2.Bureau International des Poids et Mesures, <>.
3. T. J. Quinn, From Artefacts to Atoms: The BIPM and the Search for Ultimate Measurement Standards ( Oxford U.P., New York, 2012).
4. R. S. Davis, “ Possible new definitions of the kilogram,” Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. 363, 22492264 (2005).
5. Robert P. Crease, World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement ( Norton, New York, 2011), Chap. 12.
6. R. Kohlrausch and W. Weber, “ Elektrodynamische Maasbestimmungen insbesondere zurückführung der Stromintensitäts-Messungen auf mechanisches Maass,” Abhundlungen der Königlich Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften 5, 219292 (1857),
6.reprinted in Wilhelm Webers Werke, edited by H. Weber ( Springer, Berlin, 1893), v. III, pp. 609676.
6.A short version of this paper was published as W. Weber and R. Kohlrausch, “ Ueber die Elektricitätsmenge, welche bei galvanische Strömen durch den Querschnitt der Kette fliesst,” Ann. Phys. 99, 1025 (1856).
6.An English translation of the short version by S. P. Johnson is published as “ On the amount of electricity which flows through the cross-section of the circuit in galvanic currents,” in Volta and the History of Electricity, edited by F. Bevilacqua and E. A. Giannetto ( Università degli Studi di Pavia and Editore Ulrico Hoepli, Milano, 2003), pp. 287297.
6. S. P. Johnson These short versions do not include the section discussed here, but a reprint of the short German version in Ostwalds Klassiker der Exakten Wissenschaften ( Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 1968), v. 5, pp. 114152, does include the relevant section.
7. W. Weber, “ Elektrodynamische Maassbestimmungen, insbesondere Widerstandsmessungen,” Abhandlungen der Königl. Sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, mathematisch-physiche Klasse 1, 199381 (1852), reprinted in Wilhelm Weber's Werke (Ref. 6), v. III, pp. 301–471 (see p. 366).
8. L. Rosenfeld, “ The velocity of light and the evolution of electrodynamics,” Nuovo Cim. Supplement to v. 4, 16301669 (1957).
9. André K. T. Assis, Weber's Electrodynamics ( Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1994), pp. 5253.
10. Armand Fizeau, “ Sur un exp érience relative à la vitesse de propagation de la lumière,” Comp. R. 29, 90 (1849),
10.English translation, “ The velocity of light,” in A Source Book in Physics, edited by William F. Magie ( McGraw-Hill, New York, 1935), pp. 340342.
11. L. Lorenz, “ On the identity of the vibrations of light with electric currents,” Philos. Mag. 34, 287301 (1867).
12. Kenneth S. Mendelson, “ The story of c,” Am. J. Phys. 74(11), 995997 (2006).
13. The standard meter developed by the BIPM after 1875 was made as close as possible to the meter in the French archives.
14.Quoted in Terry Quinn and Jean Kovalevsky, “ The development of modern metrology and its role today,” Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. A 363, 23072327 (2005).
15. Reference 5, Chap. 9.
16. Reference 5, pp. 212–213.
17. Reference 5, pp. 224–225.

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In the present SI system, the units of length and time are related by defining the speed of light as exactly 299,792,458 m/s. In 1857, Wilhelm Weber and Rudolf Kohlrausch proposed a system of units in which the units of length and time were also related by defining a speed, although not the speed of light. The system was extended to include a unit of mass. The Weber-Kohlrausch system was impractical and was apparently never adopted. Nevertheless, it remains of historical interest as an early attempt at a systematic treatment of physical units.


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