Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Physicists Unveil World's Most Precise Clock

Physicists Unveil World’s Most Precise Clock (And a Twin to Compare It Against)

A pair of clocks that lose only one “tick” in 10^18 “tocks” have been unveiled by an international team of physicists.

Clocks are one of the enabling technologies of the modern world. Without highly accurate clocks, the global positioning system would not function correctly, neither would it be possible to synchronise networks over vast distances. And physicists rely on clocks to test the fundamental laws of the universe to ever deeper levels.

So having more accurate and reliable clocks is an important goal.

Today, Andrew Ludlow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder and a few buddies unveil the two most accurate clocks ever built. They say their new clocks can keep time with an unprecedented precision of one part in 10-18.

 Ludlow and co put this in perspective: “A measurement at the 1018 fractional level is equivalent to specifying the age of the known universe to a precision of less than one second or Earth’s diameter to less than the width of an atom.”

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