For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Erg.


Unit systemCGS units
Unit ofenergy
Derivation1 erg = 1 dyn⋅cm
1 erg in ...... is equal to ...
   CGS base units   1 cm2⋅g⋅s−2
   SI units   10−7 J
   British Gravitational System   7.375621×10−8 ft⋅lbf

The erg is a unit of energy equal to 10−7 joules (100 nJ). It originated in the Centimetre–gram–second system of units (CGS). It has the symbol erg. The erg is not an SI unit. Its name is derived from ergon (ἔργον), a Greek word meaning 'work' or 'task'.[1]

An erg is the amount of work done by a force of one dyne exerted for a distance of one centimetre. In the CGS base units, it is equal to one gram centimetre-squared per second-squared (g⋅cm2/s2). It is thus equal to 10−7 joules or 100 nanojoules (nJ) in SI units.

  • 1 erg = 10−7 J = 100 nJ
  • 1 erg = 10−10 sn⋅m = 100 psn⋅m = 100 picosthène-metres
  • 1 erg = 624.15 GeV = 6.2415×1011 eV
  • 1 erg = dyn⋅cm = 1 g⋅cm2/s2
  • 1 erg = 2.77778×10−11 W⋅h


In 1864, Rudolf Clausius proposed the Greek word ἐργον (ergon) for the unit of energy, work and heat.[2][3] In 1873, a committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, including British physicists James Clerk Maxwell and William Thomson recommended the general adoption of the centimetre, the gramme, and the second as fundamental units (C.G.S. System of Units). To distinguish derived units, they recommended using the prefix "C.G.S. unit of ..." and requested that the word erg or ergon be strictly limited to refer to the C.G.S. unit of energy.[4]

In 1922, chemist William Draper Harkins proposed the name micri-erg as a convenient unit to measure the surface energy of molecules[5] in surface chemistry.[6][7] It would equate to 10−14 erg,[5][8][9][10][11] the equivalent to 10−21 joule.

The erg is not a part of the International System of Units (SI), which has been recommended since 1 January 1978[12] when the European Economic Community ratified a directive of 1971 that implemented SI as agreed by the General Conference of Weights and Measures.[13] It is the unit of energy in Gaussian units, which are widely used in astrophysics[14][better source needed], applications involving microscopic problems and relativistic electrodynamics,[15] and sometimes in mechanics[citation needed].

See also


  1. ^ Goodell, Thomas Dwight (1889). The Greek in English (2nd ed.). Henry Holt and Company. p. 40.
  2. ^ Clausius, Rudolf (1867). "Appendices to Sixth Memoir [1864]. Appendix A. On Terminology.". In Hirst, T. Archer (ed.). The Mechanical Theory of Heat, With Its Applications to the Steam-engine and to the Physical Properties of Bodies. London: J. Van Voorst. p. 253. Retrieved 2014-03-17. editions:PwR_Sbkwa8IC.
  3. ^ Howard, Irmgard K. (2001). "S is for Entropy. U is for Energy. What Was Clausius Thinking?" (PDF). Journal of Chemical Education. 78 (4): 505. Bibcode:2001JChEd..78..505H. doi:10.1021/ed078p505. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  4. ^ Thomson, Sir W; Foster, Professor GC; Maxwell, Professor JC; Stoney, Mr GJ; Jenkin, Professor Fleeming; Siemens, Dr; Bramwell, Mr FJ (September 1873). Everett, Professor (ed.). First Report of the Committee for the Selection and Nomenclature of Dynamical and Electrical Units. Forty-third Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Bradford: John Murray. p. 224. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  5. ^ a b Jerrard, H. G.; McNeill, D. B. (1993) [1963]. A Dictionary of Scientific Units - Including dimensionless numbers and scales (6 ed.). London: Chapman and Hall. p. 100. ISBN 0412467208. OCLC 803100353. OL 1351307M.
  6. ^ Cardarelli, François (1999) [1966]. Scientific unit conversion: A practical guide to metrication (2 ed.). Springer-Verlag London Limited. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-0805-4. ISBN 978-1-85233-043-9. 1447108051, 9781447108054. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  7. ^ Cardarelli, François (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Springer-Verlag London Ltd. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.
  8. ^ Roberts, Lathrop Emerson; Harkins, William Draper; Clark, George Lindenberg (2013-07-01) [1922]. The Orientation of Molecules in Surfaces, Surface Energy, Adsorption, and Surface Catalysis. V. The Adhesional Work Between Organic Liquids and Water: Vaporization in Steps as Related to Surface Formation. University of Chicago. Retrieved 2015-08-25. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  9. ^ Holmes, Harry N. (1925). Colloid Symposium Monograph - Papers Presented at the Second National Symposium on Colloid Chemistry, Northwestern University, June, 1924. Vol. 2. The Chemical Catalog Company, Inc. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  10. ^ "Journal of the American Chemical Society - Issues for 1898-1901 include Review of American chemical research, v. 4-7; 1879-1937, the society's Proceedings". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 44. American Chemical Society: 665. 1922. ISSN 0002-7863. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  11. ^ Partington, James Riddick (2010-02-17) [1949]. An Advanced Treatise on Physical Chemistry: Fundamental principles. The properties of gases. Vol. 1. Longmans, Green. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  12. ^ Neufert, Ernst; Neufert, Peter; Kister, Johannes (2012-03-26). Architects' Data. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405192538.
  13. ^ Jennings, W. A. (October 1972). "SI units in radiation measurement". The British Journal of Radiology. 45 (538): 784–785. doi:10.1259/0007-1285-45-538-784. ISSN 0007-1285. PMID 5078949.
  14. ^ "Are ergs commonly used in astrophysics? If so, is there a specific reason for it?". Physics Stack Exchange. 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  15. ^ Jackson, John David (2009). Classical electrodynamics (3 ed.). Hoboken, NY: Wiley. p. 784. ISBN 978-0-471-30932-1.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?