Gauss (unit)

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 19 Nov 2020

The gauss (symbol: G or Gs) is a legacy CGS unit of magnetic flux density, which was superseded by the tesla (T). One gauss is defined as one maxwell per cm2 (Mx/cm2), which equates to 10-4 tesla, and is therefore a small unit. This is one of the reasons for its stubborn persistence in some scientific fields and its common occurrence in the literature.

One area in which it continues to be widely applied is in MRI safety, whereby a 5 gauss line is demarcated around the magnet in the scanning room to show the region of risk to close by electronic devices that may be affected by the field, e.g. cardiac pacemakers


As for all eponymous units of measurement when the unit is written out in full it is not capitalized, but when shortened to its symbol it is capitalized.

History and etymology

It is named after the German mathematician and physicist Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) 2.

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