Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Did you miss Leap Second Saturday evening? We got an extra second just before 6 p.m. CST on New Year's Eve to bring the atomic clocks back into line with the solar day.

Here is a brief look into the interesting history of why we had a leap second added. Atomic clocks were invented in 1949, with the first accurate one coming in 1955. These clocks now measure time in terms of the magnetic resonance of the cesium-133 atom. I am awestruck!

You might be wondering why on earth a preacher would care about leap seconds, atomic clocks, and cesium-133’s magnetic resonance. Here you go:

I had always thought that length of time was about the earth’s rotation and revolution around the sun. Years into days, days into hours, into minutes, into seconds. If we ought to be able to count on anything, it is time, right?

In one of the leap second articles I read this weekend, it was pointed out that a day this year is 7.5 nanoseconds longer than a day in 1980. Stop the world; I want to get off!

Or, maybe we are looking at this the wrong way. Perhaps the length of a day or a year or a lifetime isn’t really at issue. What is at issue is our ability to measure things and the standards that we use.

Our measurements and standards as humans, no matter how atomically precise, no matter how much effort, need adjustment now and then. No matter how advanced our civilization may become, we will not and cannot “arrive;” we are always on our way toward better, more accurate, deeper, understandings and explanations.

The only constant, the standard by which all other measurements and interpretations will ultimately be judged, is God, the creator of the universe, and of the cesium atom.

Isn’t it great to know that such a God loves us and wants us to know him better?


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