May 31, 2023

Want to change the time count

Photo: Pixabay / playback

The unit of measurement we know as the “second” may change – even in this decade. This means that by 2030, the world may have a new way of telling time.

A draft change regarding the second count will be officially presented at the upcoming 27th General Conference on Weights and Measures, which will be held from 15-18 November this year.

Currently, the entity responsible for defining weights and measures is the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), located in Paris. To determine the duration of a second, scientists use a cesium-133 atom, or rather, the duration of vibration of the particles that make up this atom. Difficult? Explain people.

Cesium-133 is a heavy liquid metal with slow-moving particles that are easy to trace. Moreover, this movement is constant and constant. Therefore, it is more reliable than other, simpler methods – for example, clockwise chimes, which can be delayed for several reasons. Very accurate, the second count calculated with the help of cesium-133 would only delay three hundred years from now.

This definition has served humanity well for many decades. But with advances in technology, there are actually more resources to make this number more accurate.

new standards

In the future, the passage of a second will become more accurate not only at the abstract level. After all, no one has a watch in the house that uses cesium-133 atoms to move their hands.

For this, scientists who are already working on more complex optical clocks. Liz Donnelly, president of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, explained IFLScience.

But calm down, this change won’t matter to us, we use our clocks to know when to get up in the morning. Those who really care about the ultra-precise second are the scientists who work in research fields where milliseconds are eternal – like particle physics, for example.

Further details of this potential change will be discussed and approved during the International Conference on Weights and Measures, between November 15-18 this year. Time will tell.