How It Works

Top Five Facts: Physics of time

First in time

The Egyptians were the first culture to become interested in timekeeping, building giant obelisks in 3500BC to act as giant sundials.

Augustus

In 8BC the Roman senate gave ruling emperor August Caesar his own month (August, if that wasn’t obvious…) and added an extra day to match his great uncle Julius Caesar’s month (yep, July!) on 31 days.

Daylight

Throughout World War II citizens in the United States kept their clocks one hour ahead of standard time to allow for longer working hours during daylight.

Minuscule

The world’s smallest atomic clock, built by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, is the size of a grain of rice and accurate to one second in 3,000 years.

Samoa

In May 2011 Samoa decided to move its clocks forward by one day to allow easier trade with Australia and New Zealand, after spending 119 years almost a day behind.