Science Questions

What is a Dalton?

Sun, 20th Jul 2008

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Andrew, Cambridge asked:

You mentioned earlier that we measure things in Daltons. What actually is a Dalton?


We put this question to Dr Harren Jhoti:

Harren -  Basically a Dalton is just a measure of weight, itís a measure of mass. Itís a very, very small measure of mass: something like micrograms or grams people refer to but at a kind of microscopic level, if you like. Daltons are basically very single units of small mass.

Chris -  So when youíre down at the molecular level you canít use grams or even thousandths of grams? You need to use much smaller molecular units.

Harren -  Thatís exactly right. Thatís the most commonly-known unit which people refer to when looking at small molecules.


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