The Institute of Physics has signalled a willingness to compromise on its previous hard-line stance regarding the kilogram. The move will be welcomed by non-physicists, many of whom have, at best, a limited interest in how their weight might vary if they lived on a different planet or relocated to the centre of the earth.
‘We were swimming against the tide’, said a spokesman. ‘We lobbied for years to get WeightWatchers to change their name to MassWatchers. If they can’t prioritise scientific accuracy over marketing and profits, then what hope do they have? And don’t get me started on the kilocalorie.
‘Eventually some of us lost our virginities, and after that we couldn’t be bothered trying to correct people’.
Many physicists are depressed by the news. ‘I suppose it’s a sign of the times’, said one. ‘It’ll be velocity next, you mark my words. Don’t blame me if you experience an unexpected force when changing direction at constant speed. Wouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, no sir. No surprise at all. A little guy called Newton could have explained it to you, but if you insist on thinking a kilogram’s a unit of weight, well, what can I say?’
Physics fundamentalists have threatened a day of protest, with synchronised jumping up and down which won’t cause a tsunami, followed by extensive explanations of why nothing much happened. ‘If we can’t explain things, in depth and at length, to anybody who can’t back away quickly enough, then what do we have left?’