It's about to get easier for people to communicate about really big and really tiny numbers. The prefixes ronto, quecto, ronna and quetta are joining the likes of kilo, tera, mega and many other existing terms in the metric system of measurement. These new prefixes are the first expansions since 1991.
The shift in the International System of Units (SI) was finalized at a vote Nov. 18, 2022, at the General Conference on Weights and Measures. Scientists deemed it necessary because scientific advancements are rapidly approaching the limits of how we can refer to huge and small numbers. The internet is a major reason for this, as the growing amount of data on servers worldwide is set to exceed existing numbers in the next few years. This means that there needs to be a standard unit of measurement in place, so that scientific communication doesn't get all discombobulated.
At the same time, advancements in radio astronomy, such as measuring the radiation left over from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, have revealed a need to label exceedingly tiny numbers. Current measurement standards simply can't go that small without adding a bunch of filler jargon, "like one thousand-thousandth of" a given unit. Hence the need for these new prefixes.