Scientists are working on a new definition of the second
Is the new definition of the second important?
Yes, it affects almost everything we do. If we communicate via our phone or if we broadcast via a glass cable, everything happens at the speed of light. And the light goes fast. For example, if you take a millionth of a second, the light is already 300 meters away. So it’s really about the distances around us that are becoming more and more precise. When I go to the NPO, I use my GPS, so we have become completely dependent on this technology. And that makes it clear again. We really need to understand this in even more detail.
Should the second be longer or shorter?
“It needs to be recorded more precisely. So the question is, what exactly is a second? I really like to see what they’re going to do with it. Because if you can measure it much more precisely, what can you do that you couldn’t do at first?
For example, measuring your position via GPS. When you turn on your phone, it finds these four satellites floating somewhere in space and sees how long it takes to send a signal up and down. This allows you to determine your distance. A billionth of a second corresponds to about thirty centimeters. So you can determine very precisely where you are. But you also use it, for example, to equalize all other Internet connections. The same goes for buying stocks. These things happen so fast. Then you suddenly have this moment of, ‘Wow, we live in a world where a billionth of a second is a big deal!’
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