Getting a More Precise Grip on the Physical World

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1391-1393
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1391

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Last summer, the latest official set of values of the fundamental physical constants was posted on the Web site of the National Institute of Standards and Technology ( In many cases, these new constants are more accurate by a factor of 10, say researchers. Behind those simple numbers lies ground-breaking technology combined with the amazing skill of experimenters around the world who spend their working lives teasing out increasingly refined values of the constants.