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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

3 Kids, 3 Cesium Clocks, Mt. Rainier, Time Dilation

He may not know it, but this dude has a bad case of The Knack. From his web sites:

In September 2005 the kids and I took several very accurate cesium atomic clocks from home and parked 5400 feet up Mt Rainier (the volcano near Seattle) for a full two days. The goal was to see if the clocks actually gained time, even if billionths of a second, as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity. Does gravity really alter time and can this weird phenomenon be detected with a family road trip experiment?

Ten years ago I wanted to build a LED digital analog clock that would be accurate to better than one second per year -- so I would have the fun of adjusting it when a leap second occurred. This simple goal resulted in a most interesting journey into electronics, horology, astronomy, test equipment, quartz oscillators, rubidium and cesium atomic clocks, hydrogen masers, frequency counters and phase comparators, GPS, Loran C, GOES, and WWV / WWVB radio receivers. That makes me one of the Time-Nuts. By now I've exceeded that goal by a factor of a million: the best clocks in my collection (active hydrogen masers) are accurate to better than one microsecond per year. Excluding national government laboratories, my home time lab now has the most accurate clock in the world.

For info on the Rainier Time Dilation Road Trip: http://www.leapsecond.com/great2005/tour/
For a more general discussion of this madness: http://www.leapsecond.com/

Hey, but who are we to talk, right?

1 comment:

  1. An active hydrogen maser? Holy mackerel, that guy does have it bad.

    Talk about asking a guy what time it is and he tells you how the clock works...... :-)


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