Clocks have been an integral part of our lives for a while now. We have always have had the need to tell and link time. Initially, when humanity was still a bit young we used to mark time by the rising and setting of the sun, and a month by the waxing and waning of the moon. But, as we grew we built better and more precise ways of telling time. Like a water drip clock, a pendulum clock, and finally Quartz crystal oscillators. All of these clocks have one thing in common they measure periodic events. For instance, how long it takes for a pendulum to swing back and forth
Clocks have immense importance in our usual life without us even realizing it. They not only help us define the time we wake up on, the time we sleep, go to work, and comeback. But it also helps a great deal in the scientific progressions that occur each day. Even more surprisingly, we wouldn’t have a GPS nor the internet if it weren’t for super accurate clocks. We will discuss how this actually is further down this article
The Old Times
In the old times, there was no universal time in those times as there was no way of comparison between different time zones. After determining the length of the day through where the sun is in the sky. And the months through its waxing and waning. Humanity started off with the water clock and then developed itself for the candle clock. Which also had many different forms.
This lack of definite time and direction led us to many problems over the course of time. It was very difficult to navigate time or collect scientific data. Moreover, it also meant imprecise and inaccurate progressions in all fields as knowing actual time is essential in nearly all fields.
Moreover, it also affected people’s overall life. For instance, imagine no clocks or time for a week. You wouldn’t be able to wake up on time as you wouldn’t be sure as to when to wake up. You will probably start revolving your day around the circulation of day and night. Lastly, you wouldn’t exactly know when to go for work and when to get back from work and many other things would roll out of order
We wouldn’t have GPS nor the internet if it weren’t for accurate clocks. How so, you ask?
These things are done through super-accurate clocks known as “The Atomic Clock“
Atomic clocks are clocks that measure the oscillations (movement) of atoms. This is pretty complicated stuff, but the basic concept is that all atoms of a given element vibrate or tick the same number of times per second. To elaborate, there are 9,192,631,770 ticks in one second. And though this number seems a bit weird, it is quite important. Since today the international standard for what a second is based on that many vibrations/ticks of a cesium atom.
Let’s start with the internet, where exact timings are critical. And atomic clocks as we know by now is what helps with that accuracy. Moreover, for GPS satellites have to work out your precise position, your timing of the signals it sends and receives has to be super accurate. The signals travel at the speed of light, which means that an error of even a single microsecond error translates to an error of 300 meters on the ground. The timing has to be so precise that even tiny effects like relativity need to be tracked. So we do have Einstein to thank for that because if we didn’t have his equations we wouldn’t have the GPS.
To be exact with each and every microsecond GPS satellites have to carry atomic clocks. The more accurate the clock is, the more accurate GPS can calculate your location.
Some more interesting facts about this accurate clock
- The invention of the atomic clock also gave us another beautiful concept. It proved that the higher you live above sea level, the faster you age. Another thing that came through with the help of relativity
- The first atomic clock used ammonia atoms and was. Though this proved that the concept of atomic clocks could work, it never was used for timekeeping.
- In 2008, a second was added to every atomic clock on earth simultaneously. This was to synchronize the atomic clock’s time with the Earth’s rotation. More interestingly, we did not turn the clocks by a second by turning them off for one. But rather, the earth adjusted itself as the rotational speed of earth slows down by two milliseconds every day. What causes this you ask? Well, magnetic storms, solar winds, resistance from its own surface and most importantly of all through the moon’s gravity and the effect it has on it
One more fact
- There is a possibility of an atomic clock that will keep us exact inline with the Universe. How will this be done? Spoiler, things are about to get a bit technical now. The researchers at the University of Nevada and the University of Georgia propose that we could use a laser to rearrange pieces of an atom so that we would be able to use a neutron to act as our pendulum/ oscillating machine. Rather than using an electron that we use now. This would mean the formation of an atomic clock that will be 100 times more accurate than any we have. And who knows what doors of opportunity will open
If you want to know more about atomic clocks, we have an article written on just that, so give it a look if you’re interested, “What are atomic clocks? All about them“
Life just wouldn’t be the same without clocks. We use them day in and day out to know if we are right on schedule or running late. Or to know if its time for the meeting yet. Devices like watches, outdoor clocks, alarm clocks, mobile clocks are all types of clocks that are embedded deep into our life nowadays. Moreover, there are still innovations being made in normal clockverse. Down below we look into some of some fo the technologically advanced clocks of our time to get a better gist of our advancements on this side
A high tech watch, arguably one of the best, that does everything from setting alarms using the internet, connecting to your computer. And is essentially like having a small computer on your wrist. It also comes with different skins that you can change according to the vibe you want to pull off
It has a big screen that will completely own your wrist and comes with three battery indicator lights on the side. It has a light sensor that automatically adapts to the surrounding lighting. This watch also has a USB port for the users’ convenience as well as a capacity of 250 mAH. Its battery lasts about two weeks in a go before needing a charge. Lastly, it is an epitome of grace and tech in the watch industry
Now a clock
This is one unique looking clock that is different than most. It is an elegant, graceful, and a self-illuminating clock that has an 18 inch LED. A great feature that it has that separates it from the crowd is that it has an automatic light structure. Meaning that its light sensors will sense when its night time or day time and will change its illuminicity accordingly.
It is waterproof and UV resistant and hence you don’t have to worry about it getting broke due to the weather as it also. Moreover, like all the other clocks on this list comes with a Thermometer & Hygrometer
It requires an AA battery for clock movement and a 4 sized battery for the LED lights and size. Lastly, it is available for $87.99 for Amazon as of now which sounds fair for the value it provides and without a doubt great look on any outdoor place you put it.
and now an alarm clock
Furthermore, the most intriguing alarm clock is the clock alarm on wheels:
This is one of the most fun clocks out there. It not only is a great alarm clock but if your kid is a sleepy head and doesn’t wake up on time, this might be one of the best clocks. What it does is that it jumps and keeps running around whilst buzzing the alarm so the person in the room would have to get up physically and run after the clock. And catch it to turn the alarm off, sounds interesting right
Moreover, it can jump up to 3 feet in height and can jump off of a nightstand. It also comes with a beeping sound and a super loud alarm. It is a great and helpful gift for deep sleepers. This clock costs $46 on Amazon as of now and is well worth its price
This was an extensive article on clocks and their importance in our daily lives. Which aimed to answer some of your questions. Hopefully, it was helpful and catered to your queries well. Moreover, if you still have any further questions do use the comment section below.
Lastly, If you are interested in knowing why do pendulum clocks stop during earthquakes. We wrote an article on that, so check it out. And stay tuned for more interesting articles about clocks