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15 June, 2000

The Metric System

It is very interesting working with international folks. I am referring to Koni and Nick. Koni is my PI (principal investigator) for the science project I'm working on in Greenland. He's the boss. Koni is Swiss. He came to the US in 1990. Everything about him is European. It is a nice change. Nick is from New Zealand and he came to the US in 1997. They both have very strong accents and I must also have one as far as they are concerned.

What has been a source of humor in our little science tent we share is our use of measurements. Both Koni and Nick use the metric system exclusively. I will use both metric and US system interchangeably. Now since I know both systems, I am constantly converting from metric to US and back. So when Koni asks me to cut 2 meters of wire, I immediately think in US measurements (that's what I'm used to). Two meters is 6 feet 6 inches in US. It seems so much easier to use metric. What were we Americans thinking when we invented this system? Today, Nick and I were filling a water jug with 5 gallons of water and Nick kept talking about liters. Although the units do not exactly interchange, it can get very confusing. I will be a metric person after this trip. In fact, next year, I will be using metric exclusively in my classroom. No wonder we lost the Mars Probe. We had international scientists working on it. What's going to happen to the International Space Station? So students, it is now -15.8 degrees C. What is that in F? Remember we learned about conversions in class?

I had a great day today because I received a lot of emails. The one's that impressed me the most were from my students that I taught this past year, Laura W, Alisha P, Emily R, and Michele B. Their letters brought tears to my eyes. The other emails were great too but the ladies really touched me. Thank you so much.

Ciao, Cathi

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