# Gaussian vs SI Units: Comparison & Advantages

• Sunfire
In summary, the conversation discusses the advantages of Gaussian units over SI units, particularly in the context of electromagnetic phenomena. The use of CGS units in Gaussian units is not the main reason for this advantage. Rather, it is due to the definition of electric charge in Gaussian units. The conversation also mentions a strong statement about the unlikelihood of completely abandoning Gaussian units due to their superiority in addressing fundamental physical questions, potentially because of the simpler form of Maxwell's equations and Coulomb's law in these units.
Sunfire
Hello,

I was reading about a comparison betw. Gaussian and SI units and the author states "The main advantage of Gaussian units is that they make fundamental physical issues and theoretical relations involving electromagnetic phenomena more clear."

Would someone know -

is the advantage of the Gaussian units (over SI) partly due to using CGS (cm, g, s) vs using (m, kg, s)? I would think the answer to be "no" but wanted to see what others have to say...

Then, the above advantage would mostly be due to the way an electric charge is defined in Gaussian units, correct?

Thank you.

Your understanding is correct. The real difference has to do with electromagnetic units.

just read another strong statement... "Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Gaussian units will ever be completely abandoned, because they are so superior for fundamental physical questions."

Wow. Is this because the Maxwell's equations/Coulomb law have simpler form in Gaussian units?

Last edited:

## 1. What are Gaussian and SI units?

Gaussian units are a system of measurement commonly used in theoretical physics and electrodynamics. They are based on the centimeter-gram-second (CGS) system and include units such as the dyne, gauss, and statcoulomb. SI units, or the International System of Units, are the modern scientific standard for measurement and include units such as the meter, kilogram, and second.

## 2. What is the difference between Gaussian and SI units?

The main difference between Gaussian and SI units is their base units. While SI units are based on the meter, kilogram, and second, Gaussian units are based on the centimeter, gram, and second. Additionally, Gaussian units do not include a unit for electric charge, while SI units have the coulomb as a base unit.

## 3. Which units are commonly used in scientific research?

SI units are the most commonly used units in scientific research due to their international standardization and ease of conversion. However, Gaussian units are still used in some areas of theoretical physics and electrodynamics for historical reasons and convenience.

## 4. What are the advantages of using SI units?

The use of SI units allows for consistency and uniformity in scientific research, as all scientists around the world use the same system of measurement. SI units also have clear and standardized prefixes, making it easy to convert between different units and magnitudes.

## 5. Are there any drawbacks to using Gaussian units?

One of the main drawbacks of Gaussian units is that they are not as widely recognized and used as SI units. This can cause confusion and difficulty in communication between scientists from different fields or countries. Additionally, Gaussian units are not as practical for everyday use, as they are based on smaller units and can result in larger numbers for measurements compared to SI units.

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