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Atomic clocks and the speed of light

  1. Sep 1, 2011 #1
    Is the accuracy of atomic clocks in any way dependent on the speed of light?

    For example, if the speed of light were to speed up slightly, would that somehow speed up the frequency of oscillations of caesium used in an atomic clock? ...or would those 9 billion (or so) oscillations occur at the exact same speed they do now (1 second, by definition)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2011 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    It is not really meaningful to talk about the speed of light changing. However, what you are probably actually thinking about is changes in the fine structure constant. If the fine structure constant were to change that would definitely change the frequency of an atomic clock.
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