Atomic Clocks Separated by Just a few Centimetres Measure Different Rates of Time. Just as Einstein Predicted

The connection between relativity and quantum mechanics has been a black box for the world of physics for decades.  That partially stems from the difficulty in collecting data on systems that interface between the two of them.  Relativity is the realm of the supermassive, while quantum mechanics can best be described as the realm of the minuscule.  But, there is, in fact, one particular realm where they overlap.  One of the results of relativity is that gravity can affect the flow of time.  Commonly known as “time dilation,” this effect has now been studied by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US using an extraordinarily accurate atomic clock.

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A New Atomic Clock has been Built that Would be off by Less than a Second Since the Big Bang

Timeline of the Big Bang and the expansion of the Universe. If the new atomic clock had been turned on at the Big Bang, it would be off by less than a single second now, almost 14 billion years later. Credit: NASA

Physicists have developed an atomic clock so accurate that it would be off by less than a single second in 14 billion years. That kind of accuracy and precision makes it more than just a timepiece. It’s a powerful scientific instrument that could measure gravitational waves, take the measure of the Earth’s gravitational shape, and maybe even detect dark matter.

How did they do it?

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