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Question

How many oscillations does a caesium atomic clock make in a day?
Asked by: Joanna

Answer

Let us start with the definition of the second:

'The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.'

So a cesium atomic clock would make just over 9 billion oscillations_per _second (OPS). Finding how many oscillations_per_day (OPD) is just a matter of multiplication:

OPD = OPS x 60 x 60 x 24

Where OPD is oscillations per day, and OPS is oscillations per second.

So we find out that the number of oscillations per second is:

794 243 384 928 000

That's 7.94 x 1014 in scientific notation...
Answered by: Yasar Safkan, Ph.D., Sofware Engineer, Noktalar A.S., Istanbul, Turkey


Science Quote

'The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poets, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.'

Godfrey Hardy
(1877-1947)


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