Review: Atomic clock books

G

Gordon Uber

Somewhat unknowingly, the world has been on atomic time since 1967 when the second was officially defined in terms of the cesium atom. Interestingly, since 1955, atomic clocks have been improving by a factor of ten per decade. Here, after almost fifty years, are three recent books discussing atomic clocks (through atomic fountains), time, time scales, and time dissemination (radio and GPS).

"From Sundials to Atomic Clocks," 2nd Revised Edition, James Jesperson and Jane Fitz-Randolph, Mineola, New York, Dover Publications, 1999. This revised classic, written from a U.S. NIST perspective, covers the concepts of time and clocks from a more elementary point of view, aided by entertaining cartoons and helpful illustrations.

"Splitting the Second: The Story of Atomic Time" by Tony Jones, London, Institute of Physics Publishing, 2000. This is a well-written nonmathematical account, although lacking the depth of the Audoin book. I recommend it to horologists. It covers the subject well but without mathematical detail.

"The Measurement of Time: Time, Frequency and the Atomic Clock" by Claude Audoin and Bernard Guinot, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001. This English translation of the book by two French authorities is written primarily for those with a good knowledge of college physics. However, it covers the history of modern timekeeping in authoritative detail (Guinot was director of the International Time Bureau, BIH), and generally without mathematics. Atomic clocks are presented in full mathematical detail (including calculus and probability). Audoin was director of the French Atomic Clock Laboratory.
Gordon Uber, NAWCC #125737
 
G

Gordon Uber

Somewhat unknowingly, the world has been on atomic time since 1967 when the second was officially defined in terms of the cesium atom. Interestingly, since 1955, atomic clocks have been improving by a factor of ten per decade. Here, after almost fifty years, are three recent books discussing atomic clocks (through atomic fountains), time, time scales, and time dissemination (radio and GPS).

"From Sundials to Atomic Clocks," 2nd Revised Edition, James Jesperson and Jane Fitz-Randolph, Mineola, New York, Dover Publications, 1999. This revised classic, written from a U.S. NIST perspective, covers the concepts of time and clocks from a more elementary point of view, aided by entertaining cartoons and helpful illustrations.

"Splitting the Second: The Story of Atomic Time" by Tony Jones, London, Institute of Physics Publishing, 2000. This is a well-written nonmathematical account, although lacking the depth of the Audoin book. I recommend it to horologists. It covers the subject well but without mathematical detail.

"The Measurement of Time: Time, Frequency and the Atomic Clock" by Claude Audoin and Bernard Guinot, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001. This English translation of the book by two French authorities is written primarily for those with a good knowledge of college physics. However, it covers the history of modern timekeeping in authoritative detail (Guinot was director of the International Time Bureau, BIH), and generally without mathematics. Atomic clocks are presented in full mathematical detail (including calculus and probability). Audoin was director of the French Atomic Clock Laboratory.
Gordon Uber, NAWCC #125737
 

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