Nuclear Clock Keeps Excellent Time

    March 9, 2012

Australian reseachers, along with other international scientists, have come up with an idea for a new clock that would keep the time of the entire history of the universe so far to under a second. That’s roughly 14 billion years – no easy feat.

New South Wales Professor Victor Flambaum and his colleagues plan to build a clock that is accurate to 19 decimal places, according to their bid accepted by the journal of Physical Review Letters. The clock would keep time by measuring neutrons revolving around the nucleus, which would “offer unprecedented systematic shift suppression, allowing for clock performance with a total fractional inaccuracy approaching 1×10-19.”

Professor Flambaum, who is head of Theoretical Physics, says that the new clock would be 100 times more accurate than the best current atomic clocks. Flambaum adds, “with these clocks currently pushing up against significant accuracy limitations, a next-generation system is desired to explore the realms of extreme measurement precision and further diversified applications unreachable by atomic clocks.”

Flambaum goes on to say, “atomic clocks use the orbiting electrons of an atom as the clock pendulum. But we have shown that by using lasers to orient the electrons in a very specific way, one can use the orbiting neutron of an atomic nucleus as the clock pendulum, making a so-called nuclear clock with unparalleled accuracy.”

It would be very nice to have such an accurate clock. Though, some clocks seem excessive, like the Jeff Bezos-funded Texan mountainside cuckoo he hopes will shoot out of the ground in 10,000 years, likely scaring the heck out of whatever is left of human civilization by then.