The Science of Time 2016

Time in Astronomy & Society, Past, Present and Future

  • Elisa Felicitas Arias
  • Ludwig Combrinck
  • Pavel Gabor
  • Catherine Hohenkerk
  • P. Kenneth Seidelmann

Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP, volume 50)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. William Andrewes
    Pages 15-16
  3. Dennis McCarthy
    Pages 75-75
  4. Matsakis Demetrios
    Pages 105-118
  5. G. D. Rovera, S. Bize, B. Chupin, J. Guéna, Ph. Laurent, P. Rosenbusch et al.
    Pages 119-122
  6. Donald Craig
    Pages 123-124
  7. Fritz Riehle
    Pages 141-141
  8. T. Ido, H. Hachisu, F. Nakagawa, Y. Hanado
    Pages 143-149

About these proceedings


The uses of time in astronomy - from pointing telescopes, coordinating and processing observations, predicting ephemerides, cultures, religious practices, history, businesses, determining Earth orientation, analyzing time-series data and in many other ways - represent a broad sample of how time is used throughout human society and in space. Time and its reciprocal, frequency, is the most accurately measurable quantity and often an important path to the frontiers of science. But the future of timekeeping is changing with the development of optical frequency standards and the resulting challenges of distributing time at ever higher precision, with the possibility of timescales based on pulsars, and with the inclusion of higher-order relativistic effects. The definition of the second will likely be changed before the end of this decade, and its realization will increase in accuracy; the definition of the day is no longer obvious. The variability of the Earth's rotation presents challenges of understanding and prediction. 

In this symposium speakers took a closer look at time in astronomy, other sciences, cultures, and business as a defining element of modern civilization. The symposium aimed to set the stage for future timekeeping standards, infrastructure, and engineering best practices for astronomers and the broader society. At the same time the program was cognizant of the rich history from Harrison's chronometer to today's atomic clocks and pulsar observations. The theoreticians and engineers of time were brought together with the educators and historians of science, enriching the understanding of time among both experts and the public.


metrology proceedings science of time timekeeping in astronomy philosophy of time history of time future timekeeping standards Harrison's chronometer atomic clocks quantum theory and time pulsar observations

Editors and affiliations

  • Elisa Felicitas Arias
    • 1
  • Ludwig Combrinck
    • 2
  • Pavel Gabor
    • 3
  • Catherine Hohenkerk
    • 4
  • P. Kenneth Seidelmann
    • 5
  1. 1.Time DepartmentInternational Bureau for Weights and MeasuresSevresFrance
  2. 2.Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy ObservatoryKrugersdorpSouth Africa
  3. 3.Vatican ObservatoryTucsonUSA
  4. 4.HM Nautical Almanac OfficeUK Hydrographic Office HM Nautical Almanac OfficeTauntonUnited Kingdom
  5. 5.Department of AstronomyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-59908-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-59909-0
  • Series Print ISSN 1570-6591
  • Series Online ISSN 1570-6605
  • About this book
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