tech

Two clocks keep time for 16 billion years

17 Comments

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© 2015 AFP

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17 Comments
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seems like a question wrongly asked. Why was there a need to increase accuracy from 30 million years to 16 billion years? Do something useful yo

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

FInally.... all my life I have waited for this. Where can I buy one?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

16 billion years is in fact longer than the Universe has been around.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why was there a need to increase accuracy

GPS needs accurate atomic clocks. It pinpoints your location by calculating how long it took for the signal to get from the satellite to you. So if the clocks on the satellite and on the ground aren't perfectly syncronized, then it won't be accurate. (ie, if the clock on the satellite is running even slightly fast, then it will seem like the signal didn't take as long to reach you which makes it look like you are closer to the satellite than you really are).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Have to agree with sf2k. Surely there could be something more beneficial to mankind that these people could be researching.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

As sad as it may be, there is a need for such accuracy in our money-obsessed society.

Only last month, the New York stock exchange opened 15 milliseconds (!) too early due to a faulty clock. In that time 28 million dollars worth of shares were traded, automatically by computers. Not a lot in the overall scheme of things, but enough to panic a few rich folk....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them"

I'm puzzling over that one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree with M3M3M3. The hyper-precision is of little use for daily life, but necessary when machines have to work together on very precise measurements. Satellites, astronomical observatories spread around the world, particle accelerators. Clocks have to be synchronized and even adjusted for effects of relativity.

"they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them" means that we can theoretically estimate the range in which the clock can be off, but that calculated range is so small, we don't have devices capable of detecting it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm just wondering who's going to be around to check out if they're still working in 16 billion years...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The system is so delicate that it must operate in a cold environment, around -180 Celsius

so it's useless, then

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

By which time the Sun will have become a huge fireball and we will be no more. unless we do a Battlestar Galactica.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm just wondering who's going to be around in 16 billion years?

Considering that your sun will turn into a red giant about 10 billion years before then, you humans certainly won't.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow! Does the clock measure how much time they wasted developing it? This invention is right up there with left handed hammers and men's nipples. Totally useless!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@volland:

FInally.... all my life I have waited for this. Where can I buy one?

Well the clock will probably be available at any 7-11, but finding a -180 Celsius place to keep it might be a little harder.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Money well spent! Not!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in the space age, accuracy is everything especially is you need to rely on extremely accurate positioning. Mind you with geostationary satellites there is a significant discrepancy with clocks on Earth even just after a few years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Applications of this tech: GPS accuracy to literal pinpoint scale. Faster telecommunications. Mapping discrepancies in the earth's gravitational field. Predicting earthquakes, finding underground resources, mapping underground lava flows to accurately predict volcanic eruptions. Identifying gravitational waves. Better resolution from radio telescopes.

If this research isn't worth a Nobel on its own, it is almost certain that this tech will make future Nobel winning research in physics possible.

What a waste of money, herp derp, who's gonna check it in 16 billion years lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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