Alex's (very) occasional blog

New version. Old one still kicking around somewhere. (Views personal, etc.)

Archive for August 2011

Atomic.

leave a comment »

1st generation caesium fountain atomic clock
(A caesium fountain atomic clock, from NPL’s flickr. I would bet money that they don’t need all of those mirrors on days when the photographer isn’t there.)

Simple, elegant things. Yet somehow very hard to explain. (Also prone to wonderfully spurious precision — less than a second in 138 million years !?) Getting from frequency to time is not necessarily an intuitive thing (also, frequency is a Bad Word). Many years ago, after writing the thing in the first link above, I spent an hour trying to explain it to someone. Working from analogy, getting time from distance travelled a car, was the best I could manage. Pretty sure it didn’t work.

Advertisements

Written by alexconnor

August 27, 2011 at 21:31

Posted in Physics, Pie, Science

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: