A second is always a second. Nevertheless, no clocks are so precise that they can measure the exact duration of a second. So even the most precise atomic clocks are 0.000000000000000001 seconds off each second. Over the course of a few billion years that equals one second.
A single second off over the course of a few billion years may sound like a very precise clock -- and in a way it is but scientists from the University of Copenhagen would like a clock that is even more precise.
So now the scientists are suggesting that the atomic clocks around the world be connected by light rays; creating one big network of atomic clocks.
This network would measure time more precisely than ever before.
“A more precise clock would lead to a number of new, interesting possibilities,” says Professor Anders Søndberg Sørensen of the Niels Bohr Institute who recently co-authored a proposal for an improved atomic clock that was published in Nature Physics.
With more precise clocks come more precise experiments, and with more precise experiments come new technological possibilities. The Global Position System (GPS) for instance, only became possible when a new clock was invented that was so precise that it could measure how long it took for a signal from a GPS transmitter on Earth to reach satellites in space. Similarly, researchers hope that a more precise clock will lead to new scientific possibilities – and solve the debate over whether constants of nature are really constant at all.