On Tue, 2 Jan 2007, Steve Allen wrote:
>
> And, yes, explaining all this is very hard.  It's not obvious to the
> geek that the political and funding realities are more real than the
> underlying physics, but that's the way the world works.

I've been reading "The Measurement of Time" by Audoin and Guinot, and one
of the things its history of time keeping makes clear is that a lot of the
improvements have been driven by cross-comparison of different measures of
time. At the moment UTC requires the keepers of atomic time and
astronomical time to work together, guaranteeing continued funding and
employment for both :-) If we were to move to a purely atomic foundation
for civil time, I wonder what effect that will have on the organizational
arrangements. Will there continue to be enough cross-checks to drive the
keepers of time to further improvements? Will geodesy be enough to
preserve the astronomers' jobs? I usually take a technical view of things
so this slightly meta way of thinking is unfamiliar to me...

(Audoin and Guinot seem to favour purely atomic time.)

Tony.
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