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16: CGS Electricity and Magnetism

An older system of units, still used by some authors, was the CGS (centimeter-gram-second) system. In this system, a dyne is the force that will impart an acceleration of 1 cm s-2to a mass of 1 gram. An erg is the work done when a force of one dyne moves its point of application through 1 cm in the line of action of the force. It will not take the reader a moment to see that a newton is equal to 105 dynes, and a joule is 107 ergs. As far as mechanical units are concerned, neither one system has any particular advantage over the other.