A "Hella" of an Idea

higher math

“To Whom It May Concern:


For all intents and purposes, the SI prefix system has served the scientific community extremely well since its inception. However, we believe there is one significant flaw in the system which demands immediate attention.”

So begins the mission statement of a facebook petition calling for the designation of “hella” as a prefix for 1027. “Hella” means “very” or “a lot of” in North Californian slang.

“As you know,” the statement continues, “the largest number with a designated SI prefix is 1024, which carries the name “yotta-”. However, in our world of increasing physical awareness and experimental precision, this number is no longer a satisfactory “upper bound” in scientific nomenclature. The analysis of many physical phenomena reveals natural quantities in excess of 27 orders of magnitude, a number which is currently ignored by the SI system.”

Austein Sendek, a physics student from the University of California, is the founder of this movement. He calls the naming of “critical importance.” Over 28,000 people have signed and joined the facebook petition.

The Telegraph reports “If the change is approved, the hella would be the first new SI prefix introduced since 1991, when the International Committee for Weights and Measures approved yotta and zetta (21 zeroes).”

Professor Ian Mills, a British chemist who heads the Consultative Committee for Units (CCU) – the committee which would have to approve the “hella” addition told the Telegraph that it was unlikely the change would take place as most of the existing SI prefixes are derived from Latin or Greek, and he does not think the committee will change that precedent.

What do you think about this hella idea?