Is Atomic Decay the Universal Standard for Measuring Seconds?

In summary, the official length of a second is now determined by the decay of a certain material or isotope. This is used as a universal measure of time, and it is based on the change in energy levels of a cesium atom at 0 Kelvin. This method ensures that seconds can be measured accurately no matter where in the universe one may be.
  • #1
JeffCyr
17
0
I recall hearing somewhere that the official length of a second was now kept by the measure of how much an atom of a certain material or isotope decays, such as "When X decays by Y it equals one second"

For the novel I'm writing I need a means to measure seconds that would be completely universal no matter where one would be in the universe, so recalling this I figured the decay of some element would be the best way to measure it.

Am I recalling it right that some element's decay is the official measurement of a second? Whether it is or not, is there such an element that could be used for it?
 
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  • #3
Thank you, although that's a bit of unknown for me. Does that mean that 1 second is the span of 9 192 631 770 change in energy levels of a cesium atom at 0 kelvin?
 
  • #4
JeffCyr said:
Thank you, although that's a bit of unknown for me. Does that mean that 1 second is the span of 9 192 631 770 change in energy levels of a cesium atom at 0 kelvin?
Pretty much, yes.
 
  • #5
Ah thank you!
 

1. What is a second via atomic decay?

A second via atomic decay refers to the time it takes for a certain amount of radioactive material to decrease its radioactivity by half. This process is also known as the half-life.

2. How is a second via atomic decay measured?

The measurement of a second via atomic decay is typically done using a Geiger counter, which detects and counts the number of particles emitted from the radioactive material over a certain period of time.

3. What factors can affect the rate of atomic decay?

The rate of atomic decay can be affected by several factors, such as the type of radioactive material, the amount of the material present, and the surrounding environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, pressure).

4. What are some practical applications of understanding atomic decay?

Understanding atomic decay has many practical applications, such as in carbon dating to determine the age of artifacts, in nuclear power plants to generate electricity, and in medical treatments such as radiation therapy for cancer.

5. Can atomic decay be reversed?

No, atomic decay cannot be reversed. It is a spontaneous process that occurs naturally in radioactive materials and cannot be controlled or reversed by any external factors.

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