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Atomic clock will keep precise time for 15 billion years

strontium atomic clock

RIGHT ON TIME  A new atomic clock contains two ultrasensitive thermometers (center) that enable scientists to account for heat-caused fluctuations that limit the clock’s precision.

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The world’s best timepiece just got even better.

A new atomic clock described April 21 in Nature Communications is about three times as precise as its record-setting predecessor. The clock, which builds off of that earlier prototype, would not lose or gain a second in roughly 15 billion years. And raising it just 2 centimeters off its surface would perceptibly change its ticking rate due to the slightly weaker pull of Earth’s gravitational field.

Future generations of atomic clocks could precisely trace Earth’s shape and form the basis of a global timekeeping network

Chemistry,, Science & Society

Shipwrecked bubbly gives chemists a taste of the past

By Beth Mole 6:00am, April 21, 2015
Champagne preserved at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for 170 years has given chemists a glimpse of past winemaking methods.
Technology

Smart card taps track clogs on London's Tube

By Ashley Yeager 5:33pm, April 20, 2015
To make public subway systems more efficient, researchers track smart card taps and flag problem stations.
Neuroscience

Sky’s brilliant hues may help bodies keep time

By Ashley Yeager 3:00pm, April 17, 2015
The internal clocks of mice are sensitive to changes in the sky’s colors. Humans’ clocks may work similarly, offering a tool to trump jet lag.
Toxicology

Low levels of lead linked to lower test scores in children

By Beth Mole 12:00pm, April 17, 2015
A large study in grade-school children finds that even low blood levels of lead may be associated with poor school performance.
Planetary Science,, Earth

The moon is about as old as we thought it was

By Helen Thompson 6:00am, April 17, 2015
Meteorite heat signatures pinpoint the age of the collision that created the moon — confirming many previous lunar age estimates.
Astronomy,, Cosmology

Map pinpoints location of invisible dark matter

By Andrew Grant 3:05pm, April 14, 2015
A new map shows that dark matter is concentrated in regions that contain a lot of ordinary matter in the form of galaxy clusters.
Planetary Science

Atmospheric water may be giving Saturn its spots

By Helen Thompson 10:57am, April 14, 2015
Planetary scientists think that water in Saturn’s atmosphere could be driving the massive storms that appear every few decades in the ringed planet’s atmosphere.
Plants,, Science & Society

Plants suck in nicotine from nearby smokers

By Susan Milius 12:27pm, April 13, 2015
Peppermint plants can build up nicotine from tobacco dropped on their soil or smoked indoors.
Psychology

Saying ‘I’ and ‘me’ all the time doesn’t make you a narcissist

By Bruce Bower 4:15pm, April 10, 2015
People who utter lots of first-person singular pronouns such as "I" and "me" score no higher on narcissism questionnaires than peers who engage in little "I"-talk.
Genetics,, Evolution

Mountain gorilla genome reveals inbreeding

By Tina Hesman Saey 5:26pm, April 9, 2015
Mountain gorillas are highly inbred, with good and bad consequences.
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