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Laser-powered atomic clock fuels temporal pedants' ire


If you thought that your regular atomic clock, which loses a second once every few years, is adequate for your needs, then Dr. Jerome Lodewyck wants a word. His team at the Paris Observatory claims to have invented an atomic clock which only loses a second every three centuries. Rather than measuring the oscillations of caesium atoms, the "Optical Lattice Clock" uses a laser to excite strontium atoms which vibrate much faster and are, therefore, more accurate. Of course, it's a cruel irony that just as soon as someone's plonked down $78,000 on a Hoptroff No. 10, a rogue gang of scientists find a way to make it obsolete.

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