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A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

Russ Rowlett, Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has gathered a wealth of knowledge in his online A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. If you are looking to find out how many shetlands of beer you will require for your BBQ party, or the t-sun between the needles used during your last visit to the acupuncturist, this would be the resource for you.

This dictionary began as a collection of notes describing the relationship between various English and metric units. It gradually grew until it finally became too large a word-processing document; I couldn't find my way around in it any more. So I turned it into a folder of html documents and added it to my Internet site. For many months, no one looked at the site except me and my students. Then, gradually, the dictionary began to attract users from around the world. Many users were kind enough to point out errors; others suggested additions and improvements. Questions about units began to appear in my email inbox. Sometimes I could answer the questions, sometimes not.

Today the dictionary has become a kind of interactive resource. It grows slowly and steadily, mostly through suggestions from readers and my efforts to answer questions posed by readers. You can participate in this process! Please let me know if you find any errors on the site, or if you can't find what you wanted to know, or if you know of units used in your field of study or in your part of the world that aren't included.