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Redefining time

According to reports published in the Physical Review Letter, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) published a paper indicating that it had discovered a new type of atomic clock based on mercury-ion. The report said that the new atomic clock is so accurate it's nearly 6 times more precise than the current cesium-based atomic clock.

The report said that the NIST currently operates a cesium-based atomic clock called the NIST-F1, which is accurate for roughly 70 million years. If operated continuously, the NIST-F1 would only be off by 1 second after 70 million years. The new mercury-ion atomic clock on the other hand will take 400 million years.

The new experimental clock measures the atomic resonance frequency of a mercury atom. The atom itself is electrically charged and kept in an extremely cold suspension. Using the new mercury-ion atomic clock, scientists at the NIST say that they will be able to conduct more precise experiments and further develop applications that rely on atomic-time accuracy such as GPS systems. Currently, the international standard that defines what one second is relies on cesium-based atomic clocks -- 9,192,631,770 radiation cycles of the change between two energy levels of a cesium atom. The NIST says that it will be five to ten years before we see mercury-ion clocks replace cesium ones.



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Completely Pointless
By Baked on 8/1/2006 2:01:24 PM , Rating: 3
What's the point of making these million year atomic clocks when the human race will end itself within the next millenium. At the rate we're going, I won't be surprised if it ends within the century.




By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 8/1/2006 4:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
Because I want to have the coolest wristwatch on my block -- to impress the ladies, of course.


RE: Completely Pointless
By Etsp on 8/1/2006 4:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would like you to define what you feel is the "end" of the human race, as, the only way I can see humans becoming extinct is by the destruction of all life on this planet.

There may well be Massive starvation, Massive nuclear war, or other such catastrophe's that could cut the population of the human race down significantly, but that would not end all human life. It may very well reset our understanding of the sciences as a result of their redundancy in such a situation (as in, why do you need to know the periodic table when you hunt your own food to survive?) but the likelyhood of us effectivly ending the human race is laughable at best.


RE: Completely Pointless
By ChronoReverse on 8/1/2006 5:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
I still think digital wristwatches are a neat idea.


RE: Completely Pointless
By lemonadesoda on 8/1/2006 7:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
Have to agree there. The "accurate" got left in after some judicious editing of the post. It was actually part of another sentence no longer existing. Whoops!


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