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Telling the time

Posted on 3 January 2003

Why does time sometimes seem to fly? Why do we measure time? How does time help us navigate the world? Has time always been the same? Is time the same everywhere? These will be some of the questions discussed by a new series of public lectures on Time.

The five lectures will explore a range of issues including how the vast railway network of the nineteenth century stands as a symbol of the way in which the measurement of time became precise and reliable during the Victorian era. It will also cover the history of time-keeping from sun clocks to exotic water clocks and including Harrison's creation of an accurate sea-going clock which solved the longitude problem.

Other lectures will discuss how the most accurate clock today keeps time to better than one second in 20 million years, and how time is perceived by the individual - neuroscientists believe that the experience of time arises from events in the brain which are subject to physical laws.

The final lecture in the series considers Einstein's conclusions that he could say little more about the fundamental nature of time than that it was just what clocks read, and takes a wide-ranging look at time.

The series Telling the Time will take place on Thursday evenings at 8pm from 23 January to 20 February. All lectures are free and open to all, and will take place in room P/L001, in the Physics building.

Notes to editors:

  • Telling the Time
    • Thursdays 23 January to 20 February
    • 8pm, room P/L001, Physics
      • Thursday 23 January
      • Trains, technology and time-travellers: how the Victorians re-invented time
      • Dr Ralph Harrington, Department of History/Institute for Railway Studies
      • Thursday 30 January
      • Getting time right
      • Professor Jim Matthew, Department of Physics
      • Thursday 6 February
      • Accurate to a billionth of a second. Who cares?
      • Dr Marcus Jacka, Department of Physics
      • Thursday 13 February
      • Time out of mind
      • Michael Morgan, City University
      • Thursday 20 February
      • Time-the ultimate mystery
      • Dr Richard Keesing, Department of Physics

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153