Behold, the beating heart of a time machine! Or "clock", as most people call them, but this one is nothing like your grandfather's. This super-accurate timekeeper is an optical atomic clock built by the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and its tick is governed by a single ion of the element strontium.
On this coming Sunday June 30, intrepid horologists from around the world will daringly attempt to hold back the relentless onslaught of time. Well, to be fair it won't actually be that difficult. July 1st is scheduled to start an entire second later than it should, a feat of temporal distortion that will be…
This short video, made at the UK's National Physical Laboratory, proudly explains the science behind the world's first accurate atomic clock. It was designed by Louis Essen and built at the National Physical Laboratory in 1955, and the video is worth watching for the voice-over alone.
The atomic clocks we've already got are marvels of precision timekeeping, but their successors could be something else altogether, losing less than a second every 80 billion years. That could allow us to probe some of physics's most fundamental questions.
As Make puts it, the atomic clock is old and busted. The quantum-logic clock from National Institute of Standards and Technology, keeping time 100,000 times more accurately than its predecessor, is definitely the new hotness.
Physicists at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics have developed a new atomic clock that is so accurate, it will not lose a second of time in more than 200 million years. That makes the old atomic clock record holder and its 80 million year accuracy rating look like something you would get out of a gumball…