Jim Gray with NBS-4 atomic clock and others

Jim Gray with NBS-4 atomic clock and others

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This image is part of the feature Atomic Clocks

Credit: ALEXANDER TSIARAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Jim Gray, keeper of the American NBS-4 atomic clock. Gray is seen wearing a variety of clocks and watches. The NBS-4 is the long cylindrical object on the bench. It is a caesium clock, in which atoms of vapourised caesium-133 pass back and forth between magnets at each end. The caesium-133 atoms oscillate between two energy levels as they go. Counting these oscillations is the basis of the standard second (1 second = 9,192,631,770 oscillations). This accurate time keeping is passed to Paris, where signals from this and other atomic clocks are averaged to produce the world-wide Universal Time Coordinate (UTC).

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Keywords: atomic clock, caesium atomic clock, device, equipment, gray, instrument, jim, man male men males, manly masculine activity, national bureau of standards, nbs-4, people person persons, science, scientific, time keeping

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