Reading actual scientific research can greatly improve your understanding of the world, but if you run into unfamiliar measurements you can find the process derailed. Writer Ben Young Landis suggests using Wolfram Alpha to convert that measurement into something you can understand.
If you type a measurement into Wolfram Alpha, such as 50 microns, you'll see the usual unit conversions that you'd expect. However, you also get results like, ".04 x length of a dust mite," or ".46 x thickness of a US dollar bill". It's a lot more useful to most people to think of "about half the thickness of a dollar bill" than it is "50 microns".
How to Describe Obscure Technical Measurements [Ben Young Landis]