Image: Royal Institution

What’s New: An upcoming presentation – and you can join virtually!

Why It’s Important: The UK has a project to establish a network of atomic clocks around the country to enhance resilience.

What Else to Know:

  • It is not clear to us if the planned clock network will have a wireless time component to serve mobile and other customers not able to connect by fiber.
  • Leon Lobo, the project lead at NPL is a great guy and supporter of the RNT Foundation.
  • You should tune in for the presentation if you can. Or register and view the video later.


Fragile Times: Why accurate and resilient timekeeping is critical

Join us as we delve into the fascinating and delicate realm of timekeeping. Discover how atomic clocks have replaced the Earth as our time reference and how the present and future challenges in measuring and delivering time are met head-on from the home of UK time, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

We kick off with Peter Whibberley, a senior scientist with many years experience exploring the world of timekeeping. Peter will take us on a brief journey through the history of time, explaining how the national time scale is created today, and how it is a key part of the global collaboration that creates the precise time and frequency measurement on which life and business relies today.

Resilient time signal dissemination from the national time scale is crucial to NPL’s mission, ensuring traceable timestamping and time synchronisation across industries, enhancing market clarity in the financial sector, and enabling regulatory forensics in the event of a crash. Elena Parsons will share valuable insights into how NPL spearheads the delivery of resilient time signals, granting industry access through innovation and service nodes. Gain a deeper understanding of the vital role played by NPL in maintaining accurate and reliable timekeeping.

Looking to the near future, Leon Lobo, a visionary in the field, will shed light on what lies ahead for the world of timekeeping. Explore the strategies and innovations aimed at future-proofing resilient time, mitigating our over-reliance on weak and vulnerable signals from space-based global navigation satellite systems such as GPS. Learn about the leading-edge initiatives spearheaded by NPL to ensure timekeeping remains robust and adaptable in an ever-changing world.

Lastly, looking even further ahead at developments in precision timekeeping, we close the lecture with Rachel Godun, a principal scientist in the field, who unveils NPL’s research programme into next-generation optical atomic clocks. Discover how these clocks will improve the performance of future time scales and are so accurate that they will even be used to redefine the unit of time itself.