Katherine Streeter for NPR

Strontium atoms floating in the center of this photo are the heart of the world's most precise clock. The clock is so exact that it can detect tiny shifts in the flow of time itself. Courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA


New Clock May End Time As We Know It

Scientists working to create the perfect atomic clock have a fundamental problem: Right now, on the ceiling, time is passing just a bit faster than it is on the floor.

Listen Loading… 5:38
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/361069820/361069821" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

It doesn't take a transcontinental flight to end up out of sync with your body clock. It might just be that you stay up too late. iStockphoto.com hide caption

toggle caption iStockphoto.com