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New Atomic Clock Is Most Accurate in the World, Sets a New Official U.S. Time Standard, Doesn’t Actually Tell Time

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NIST-F2 Atomic Clock

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled the new NIST-F2 atomic clock. It is three times as accurate as its predecessor and will be used to as the new standard measure of one second in the United States—but it can’t actually tell you what time it is.

Atomic clocks aren’t really clocks as we know them. The goal isn’t to tell you what time it is, but rather to define the standard length of a second. This video released yesterday explains how NIST-F2 works:

(NIST via CBS, image via NIST)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.