news center

Get ready for the leap second – it could be the last one ever

Get ready for the leap second – it could be the last one ever

作者:南猓甯  时间:2019-03-15 01:01:01  人气:

By Michael Brooks ROGER PENROSE appears baffled by my tardiness, eyeing my sweat-beaded brow with what I can only assume is pity. “I found it very easily,” says the University of Oxford mathematician. “It’s a straight walk up from South Kensington tube.” The irony is not lost on either of us. I had not only arrived late to a meeting about time measurement; I had got lost on the streets of west London trying to find the Royal Institute of Navigation. That was last year, at the first gathering of a committee to oversee the world’s first public consultation about leap seconds. It was to be Penrose‘s only appearance: after half an hour he pulled out, suggesting the committee was skirting the real problem with time. The latest leap second will occur at the end of Tuesday, 30 June. It is the first time since 2012 that the world’s time lords have decreed the clocks must stand still for a second, to ensure that time measured by Earth’s spin and time measured by atomic clocks do not get out of sync. The UK government’s consultation was intended to inform an international debate, due to come to a head later this year, about whether it should be the last time. Proponents of leap seconds argue that they represent a historical connection between astronomical motion and the passage of time that should not be broken. Opponents think the leap-second system is hopelessly muddled and not fit for purpose in our fast-paced, networked world. Not, as I was to find out,