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General Data > Gaussian Units

Gaussian units are a system of physical units and are the most common of the several electromagnetic unit systems based on "cgs" (centimetre-gram-second) units.

This system may also be referred to as the Gaussian unit system, Gaussian-cgs units, or often just cgs units.

In modern science, the Gaussian system has largely been superseded by SI units and in schools in the UK, Gaussian units are virtually unused. However the cgs systems may be used in older textbooks or reference manuals, especially from the USA.

The tables below show the units of the Gaussian system.

Base Units of the Gaussian System

Quantity Unit Symbol
length centimetre cm
mass gram g
time second s

Derived Units of the Gaussian System with Special Names


Quantity Name Symbol In terms of…
other units base units
acceleration galileo Gal dyn/g cm s −2
force dyne dyn   cm g s −2
pressure, stress barye Ba dyn/cm 2 cm −1 g s −2
energy, work, heat erg erg dyn cm cm 2 g s −2
dynamic viscosity poise P Ba s cm −1 g s −1
kinematic viscosity stokes St   cm 2 s −1
wave number kayser ?   cm −1

Electrostatic Units of the Gaussian System

Quantity Name Symbol In terms of…
other units base units
electric charge statcoulomb*     (cm 3 g s −2 ) ½
electric field     statvolt/cm  
electric potential statvolt   erg/statcoulomb  
electric current statampere   statcoulomb/s  
resistance statohm   statamp/statvolt cm −1 s
conductance statmho   1/statohm cm s −1
capacitance statfarad     cm
magnetic field stattesla      
magnetic flux statweber      
inductance stathenry      

Electromagnetic Units of the Gaussian System

Quantity Name Symbol In terms of…
other units base units
magnetic field (B) gauss G    
magnetic field (H) oersted Oe    
magnetic flux maxwell Mw    
magnetomotive force gilbert Gb    
inductance abhenry      
electric charge abcoulomb      
electric current abampere      
electric potential abvolt      
resistance abohm      
conductance abmho      
capacitance abfarad      


Related Links

SI Units