In science, imperial units are very rarely used. Acceleration due to gravity? ~9.81 m/s^2. The speed of light? 3 x 10^8 m/s. Speed of sound? 343 m/s at sea level. The wavelength of red? 650 nm.
When it comes to linear measurements, meters are very easy to work with.
1000 meters in a kilometer, 100 centimeters in a meter, 10 millimeters in a centimeter, 1,000,000 nanometers in a millimeter.
In imperial units, there are 5280 feet to a mile, 12 inches to a foot, and many different ways of breaking up an inch. There are (8) 8ths, (16) 16ths, (32) 32nds, (64) 64ths, or (1000) mils(mils are NOT millimeters) in an inch.
And with volume measurements, milliliters and liters can be less confusing than dealing with teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons.
The simplicity of the metric system carries over into material dimensions, fastener sizes, and tooling, yet I am so comfortable with inch and imperial units that it will be difficult for me to fully adapt the metric system without compulsion.
Then there are temperature measurements. Despite working with celsius and centigrade on paper, my body understands fahrenheit a lot better.
I bought a dual inch/metric tape measure a few years ago, and try to use whichever one is more convenient on a case-by-case basis. You know what? Sometimes I find inch units to be easier to use.
Way back when I first learned metric units in class somewhere, we were told that eventually the USA would probably move to the metric system. Now, maybe 20 years later, that still hasn’t happened.
I am okay using metric units on paper, but in real life, I’m not quite as comfortable with them as I probably should be. If forced to fully adopt the metric system, I would probably get used to more quickly and easier than others who haven’t used it as much, but it wouldn’t be an instant process.
Metric measurements are common on consumer goods, such as food and beverages, as well as personal items, so maybe – eventually – the transition won’t be as painful as a lot of people fear.
Right now, according to the CIA, the United States is joined by Burma and Liberia as the only 3 countries in the entire world that have not adopted the metric system as the their official system of weights and measures.
Eventually, we’re bound to see an involuntary switchover, but it will take a lot of convincing for that to happen. Somewhere in the past few decades, the metrification effort lost out to an if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it attitude, and it will take a big push to undo this.
For anyone else that typically works with inches, feet, Fahrenheit, and ounces, are you ever eager to use the metric system instead? Or do you fiercely resist any more exposure to metric units than you must work with?