The Daily Herald from Provo, Utah on April 9, 1975 · Page 32
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The Daily Herald from Provo, Utah · Page 32

Provo, Utah
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 9, 1975
Page 32
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Page 32 article text (OCR)

Wednesday. April 9, 1975, THE HERALD, Provo, Utah-Page 35 Utah Tech Teaching Metric System — U.S. Law Since 1866 So what's so new about the metric system 9 They've been teaching it at Utah Technical College at Provo for years. Thus declared Earl B. Cottam, Utah Tech division chairman of trade and industrial education, who matter-of-factly pointed out that Congress first made the metric system "lawful throughout the USA in 1866. "That's 1866, not 1966." he emphasized. "We started four years ago to teach it in our basic math," said Mr. Cottam. "That's the math we need in any trade area, such as a welder, carpenter, or mechanics. We now teach it in all our basic trades." In five to six years, said Mr. Cottam. both the metric and the current systems of measurement in American will be taught equally at Utah Tech. "We will be mathematically bilingual by that time." he estimated. As to a complete conversion to the metric system, where it will be used exclusively, he was more cautious in his estimate. It will be some distance in the future but it will come, he judged. It may be surprising to know that, since 1866, the metric system was made "lawful throughout the U.S.A." by Congress. In fact, in 1875, an international treaty, "Treaty of the Metre," set up well-defined metric standards for length and mass, as well as permanent machinery, to adopt further refinements in the metric system; moreover, the treaty was signed by 17 countries including the USA. Mr. Cottam and his department heads and instructors do not think it is unusually difficult to learn. The staff likes it, and regard the changeover as a benefit in the respective trades. Said Vard Roper, instructor in machine tool technology. "It's definitely faster. You can do your mathematical calculations in almost one third the time." The pattern of worker response to metric involvement is becoming fairly clear to industry. At first, workers are normally overwhelmed by what seems an enormousness task to learn a new system of measure. Then some slight incentive — usually just routine job pressure — forces them to get involved in the metric scene. In two or three weeks workers develop a positive attitude, take metrication in stride, and exhibit pride in the personal accomplishment of having learned the system. Just how fast the system comes to construction trades and vocations in America will depend to a large extent on architects, Mr. Cottam pointed out. If architects hasten their conversion to the metric system in building and construction, the tradesmen must adapt also. He noted that the American Institute of Architects has already gone on record in favor of the system. He predicted auto mechanics would be the fastest, and that carpentry would perhaps be the slowest. Ross Fazzio, automotive-diesel division chairman, emphasized it has already hit the automobile industry in several areas. All foreign-made cars are calibrated in the metric system, and mechanics must already use metric-calibrated tools and think in metric terms for sizes of replacement parts. He predicttxl that auto mechanics will be the first in the trades who will have to con vert. It will be a bilingual thing for many years, Mr. Fazzio said, until all cars made in America prior to the metric conversion are worn out and gone off the road But American metric cars will come sooner than anyone thinks, he said. The Ford Mustang II is the first American-built car using the metric system completely, and is already in production. He said plans call for Ford's Pinto to go metric next. Rulon Wells, Utah Tech technology division chairman, noted that many measurements of electricity already use it. A Kilowatt is a thousand watts in the metric system Dr. Lucille Stoddard, business division chairman, also noted that metric shorthand for key or basic words is now being offered to secretarial students. She said that normally shorthand textbooks to not cover such terms as "Pascal," "Millibar," and "Kilolitre." Dr. Stoddard emphasized that graduates of the secretarial programs need to know metric shorthand to be successful in their jobs upon graduation. Drafting and design is another key point where the metric system is being taught at the school, according to Doug Jorgensen, department Provo School District Chess Tournament Set chairman in graphics and instructor in drafting and design. Its adoption in his field, he said, will be one o' the key areas determining the speed with which America will convert to the system. 'Hie micrometer is the basic tool for measuring in the metric system, or the current system for that matter. Years ago, Utah Tech obtained a substantial number of metric micrometers as state surplus "for a song, because no one else wanted them." Mr. Wells noted the fact with satisfaction, pointing out that the college is well supplied with them, at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy them today. Some economists predict our exports will leap by $600 million a year once we've changed to metric. So, the sooner we want that extra income, the sooner we should finish the task of learning how to think, act, and feel metric. What are some basic comparisons of the two systems? It's based on multiples (or division) of 10. This immediately eliminates such odd factors as 12 inches to a foot, three feet to a yard, and 5,280 feet to a mile. One meter is 39.4 inches. From there it just goes up by 10, or 100, or 1,000. A kilomter (1000 meters) is nearly % of a mile. Instead of 20 miles per hour past a school, you'd travel 32 kilometers per hour. In computing speed, no change would be made in the time factor, such as minutes or hours — only in the linear distance. Some changes would take a little getting used to. First, let's go metric all the way in sports. Let's get used to cheering a 40 meter pass that puts the ball on the 11 meter line. Let's get familiar with the probability that 100 kilograms is a good weight for a rangy linebacker. Let's admire an Aaron homer that's 120 meters. By the time we've logged a couple of hundred hours of TV sports this year, we'll know a bunch of metric units by heart. The traditional 36-2fr-36 for what was once regarded as the ideal female measurements would now be 91-61-91 in the metric system. ROBERT PEERY, a Utah Technical College student from Mapleton, is one of many who has learned metrics as a part of preparing for his trade. Here he operates a lathe cutting and measuring by micrometers. FOR THE GRADUATE ATTACHE CASES BASIC MATH at Utah Technical College includes conversion calculations and formulas like these demonstrated for Terrance Williams of Orem, and electronics student; by his Instructor Robert Peterson. The second annual chess tournament for students enrolled in schools in the Provo School District will begin Saturday. Students in grades K through 6 will compete for the elementary school championship, and students in grades 7 through 12 will play for the secondary school championship. Interested players may register at 9 a.m. Saturday only at Joaquin Elementary School, 550 W. 600 E., at the cafeteria entrance on the east side of the building. A small entry fee will be charged. The tournament will run from 9 a.m. to noon on April 12,19 and 26 or until the two champions are determined. Trophies will be awarded to the winners, and additional trophies — for second place, etc. — will depend on the number of entries. 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