Skip to comments.Stephen Hawking to unveil strange new way to tell the time
Posted on 09/28/2008 6:14:20 AM PDT by Cvengr
Prof Stephen Hawking is to unveil a remarkable £1 million clock with no hands that pays tribute to the world's greatest clockmaker.
One clock made by the legendary John Harrison, the pioneer of longitude, took 36 years to build and he was still calibrating it when he died at his home in London on March 24, 1776, his 83rd birthday.
The Corpus Clock will be unveiled by Prof Stephen Hawking The Corpus Clock will be unveiled by Prof Stephen Hawking The Corpus Clock has been invented and designed by Dr John Taylor for Corpus Christi College Cambridge for the exterior of the college's new library building.
It will be unveiled on 19 September by Prof Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and author of the global bestseller, A Brief History of Time.
Dr Taylor, an inventor and horologist who studied at the College in the 1950s has put £1 million of his own money and five years into the project.
"One of my heroes is John Harrison," he says.
Of Harrison's many innovations, he came up with the 'grasshopper escapement', explained Dr Taylor, referring to the device used by Harrison to turn rotational motion into a pendulum motion for timekeeping.
"No one knows how a grasshopper escapement works, so I decided to turn the clock inside out and, instead of making the escape wheel 35 mm across and hidden in the case, it is 1.5 m across and visible with the grasshopper escapement around the outside," said Dr Taylor.
He calls the new version of the escapement a 'Chronophage' (time-eater) - "a fearsome beast which drives the clock, literally "eating away time".
It is the largest Grasshopper escapement of any clock in the world.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
I didn’t have the time to read the whole article but I’m pretty sure the clocks on my wall will work just fine at a considerable savings. Cool clock though. Hawkings stuff mostly just goes over my head
The alien bug-like motif sure is difficult to blend into most decors. Go figure.
Pretty cool. Hawking doesn’t have anything to do with the clock—he’s just given the honors of unveiling it. I’d love to see this thing in action. Very interesting.
Good article, but who's unveiling it? :-)
I’m doing everything I can to resist those mental images of Hawking in a wheelchair desperately manipulating his mouthstick on the large canvas covering the timepiece.
If I recall, he has lost even that dexterity, but I maybe mistaken. Interesting fellow.
It’s not a “new way to tell time”, it’s just a gimmicky electro-mechanical clock. It’s boooring.
The article is very disappointing, especially since it evokes the name of a prominent physicist, Steven Hawking.
Timekeeping boasts a truly fascinating history, running from ancient Babylon, through Chinese water clocks, sundials, Galileo’s pendulum, the Harrison chronometer onward through general relativity to today’s atomic clocks. It’s a story that is far from finished.
There are a thousand fascinating branches and digressions in the story of timekeeping. This is not one of them.
For true gear heads only!
One million dollars? Is it solid gold?
Interesting read. Thanks.
Too bad there’s no video. A static picture doesn’t cut it.
Yes he did. Its pretty sad to see him now. A Grad Student does all the work *guessing* what Hawking wants by his eye movements.
['He's' working on a new Black Hole theory, prolly never get completed.]
From a gearhead, thanks for the great links.
Here’s a fun clock
I think my washing machine was designed by Hawking. Every once in a while a strange sock appears from seemingly out of nowhere in it. I just know they had to come from somewhere. Incredulous!
Hawking must have designed our Dryer too, I think that's MY Sock!
That little prankster must have designed them with Wormholes that only he can control.
Fantastic. Thank you.
I kind of want to watch the unveiling for several reasons, including a couple that would seem mean if I posted them.