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Table of Contents > Health Dictionary > International System of Units

International System of Units

A system of measurements, based on the metric system, adopted at the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures of the International Organization for Standardization (1960) to cover both the coherent units (basic, supplementary, and derived units) and the decimal multiples and submultiples of these units formed by use of prefixes proposed for general international scientific and technologic use. SI proposes seven basic units: meter (m), kilogram (kg), second (s), ampere (A), kelvin (K), candela (cd), and mole (mol) for the basic quantities of length, mass, time, electric current, temperature, luminous intensity, and amount of substance, respectively; supplementary units proposed include the radian (rad) for plane angle and steradian (sr) for solid angle; derived units (force, power, frequency) are stated in terms of the basic units (velocity is in meters per second, m s-1). Multiples (prefixes) in descending order are: exa- (E, 1018), peta- (P, 1015), tera- (T, 1012), giga- (G, 10
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