Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Mon, 29th Jun 2015

Caesium: The Element that Redefined Time

Atomic Clock (c) The National Physical Labratory

It’s 60 years since the world’s first atomic clock was created. But what is time? When did time begin, and how accurate is timekeeping today? We'll be asking why we need leap seconds, we cook up a Big Bang with lasagne and hear how planet Earth is a terrible time keeper. Plus, in the news, scientists uncover the cause of tinnitus, what do your baby's eyes say about its future behaviour, and one of the earliest life forms goes under the microscope...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 21:29 - Ringing in your ears?

    Scientists have unravelled just why we get ringing in our ears - or tinnitus - and the discovery could pave the way for new treatments...

  • 26:50 - When did time begin?

    Everyone is familiar with the concept of time but when did it begin? And how do we know when the beginning of time was?

  • 34:50 - A history of time

    Humans have been measuring time for centuries - but how have we got from sundials to atomic clocks?

  • 38:27 - How do atomic clocks work?

    How was atomic time discovered? And how do atomic clocks work?

  • 43:32 - What are leap seconds?

    Scientists sporadically need to add or deduct seconds from our clocks but if our timekeeping is so accurate, why do we need to do it?

  • 48:51 - Why are fingerprints unique?

    Please put me out of my misery. How is it possible no one persons finger prints are the same as anothers? How can one developing embroyo possible know what pattern another developing embroyo has choosen?



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