Austin Sendek, a UC Davis physics student, has started a petition to establish a new, scientifically accepted prefix, "hella," to be used in front of units of weight, distance or computer storage, much as "milli," "kilo," "mega" and "giga" are now used.
His petition already has hella signatures.
"Hella" is a Northern California term that is a slangy synonym for "really" or "a lot of."
Under Sendek's proposal, the International System of Units would adopt "hella" to follow "zetta," which indicates 1021, and "yotta," 1024.
"Hella" would indicate 1027, or 1 followed by 27 zeros.
Thanks to the poster in Mr. Tsuda's chemistry/physics class when I was in high school, I've memorized many metric prefixes:
- exa (10^18, quintillion) peta tera giga mega kilo hecto deka
- deci centi milli micro nano pico femto atto (10^-18, quintillionth)
Note that the prefixes for "greater than one" are all Greek and those for "less than one" are all Latin. These prefixes are decided by an international standards-setting organization in France, so the chances of getting a slang term for "very" included as a new prefix seem somewhat remote. I can, however, imagine lesser scientific pursuits, such as reclassifying Pluto from a "planet" to a "dwarf planet".