Do you know every method we've devised to measure the passage of time? Take the time measurement quiz!

CORRECT ANSWERS: 0

From atoms to water, we have devised some unique ways to measure the passage of time. Take a few minutes and test your knowledge with this quiz.

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Question 1 of 20

A clock must have:

regular, constant action to mark off equal increments of time
a means of keeping track of time increments
a way to display results
all of the above

... The first mechanisms that meet the definition -- constant action, time increments and display -- were probably invented 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in North Africa or the Middle East.

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Question 2 of 20

The first objects that used the sun to measure time were:

obelisks
sundials
heliographs
henges

... These tall stone monuments called obelisks, first erected in Egypt around 3,500 B.C., told time by measuring shadows cast on the ground.

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Question 3 of 20

Who said 'The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion?'

Stephen Hawking
Albert Einstein
Max Planck
Isaac Newton

... Einstein's theory of relativity said that time is not absolute.

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Question 4 of 20

Why are pendulums often used in clocks?

It takes the same amount of time for them to swing in one direction as the other.
The back and forth movement keeps the springs tightened.
They make a 'tick-tock' sound.
The length of the swing is always exactly one second.

... The regular motion of a pendulum ensures that the gears turn at a steady pace.

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Question 5 of 20

In a mechanical clock, the ______ unwinds and sends energy to the gears.

mainspring
pendulum
chronograph
battery

... The mainspring's energy causes the gears to turn, which moves the hands.

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Question 6 of 20

Where were incense clocks invented?

Egypt
Hawaii
Central America
China

... Incense clocks were developed in China between 960 and 1279 and their use spread throughout the Far East.

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Question 7 of 20

What mineral is used to provide energy for the operation of some clocks?

carbon
aluminum
quartz
iron

... When quartz is squeezed, it generates electricity. Quartz clocks contain a battery to vibrate the crystal and a circuit to create regular pulses of electricity to power the clock.

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Question 8 of 20

What do we call the period it takes for the Earth to make one rotation around the sun?

a month
a day
a year
a sidereal day

... A year takes around 365 and one-fourth days.

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Question 9 of 20

All quartz crystals vibrate ______ times per second.

365
32,768
5,000
1 million

... Their consistent 32,768 vibrations per second makes them ideal as a source of clock power.

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Question 10 of 20

Until World War I, the wearing of wristwatches was confined almost exclusively to:

the wealthy
the Swiss
women
children

... Up until the war, it was fashionable for women to wear wristwatches and men to carry only pocket watches, but their use was impractical in battle.

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Question 11 of 20

What is the most accurate clock in the world?

the atomic clock at the National Institute of Science and Technology in Boulder, Colo.
London's Big Ben
a quartz clock
a sun dial at the equator

... The NIST atomic clock will neither gain nor lose a second in 3.4 billion years.

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Question 12 of 20

This element is used in atomic clocks.

uranium
carbon
cesium
phosphorus

... Cesium is the most electropositive and alkaline of the elements and is used in atomic clocks.

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Question 13 of 20

In 1670, clockmaker William Clement began using a pendulum a yard long, effectively inventing the ______ clock.

mantel
carriage
incense
grandfather

... The long pendulum took a full second to move back and forth, making for an accurate grandfather clock.

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Question 14 of 20

Who discovered the pendulum was a way to mark intervals of time?

Albert Einstein
Isaac Newton
Galileo
Copernicus

... As a teenager, Galileo observed the swaying of chandeliers in a cathedral.

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Question 15 of 20

Who were the first people to divide the day into 24 hours?

The Greeks
The Mayans
The Babylonians
The Goths

... The total was 24, but the Babylonians actually divided it into a day and a night of 12 hours each.

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Question 16 of 20

What whimsical timepiece was invented in Germany's Black Forest?

water clock
Congreve clock
grandfather clock
cuckoo clock

... The first cuckoo clock was made in Schoenwald, Germany, in 1737.

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Question 17 of 20

What does the Congreve clock use instead of a pendulum?

water
a ball rolling along a zigzag track
solar energy
quartz crystals

... Invented by William Congreve in 1808, the Congreve clock with its rolling ball is unreliable.

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Question 18 of 20

What is the science of timekeeping called?

horology
chronology
time science
entomology

... Horology is from the Greek for 'time' and 'study.'

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Question 19 of 20

What did the Smithsonian Institution call 'the last significant contribution in clock making?'

the quantum clock
the atomic clock
the Geochron
the quartz clock

... The Geochron, assembled by hand, shows the year, month and day of the week, as well as the parts of the world experiencing day and night and the meridian passage of the sun.

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Question 20 of 20

How many degrees of longitude do each of the world's time zones cover?

24
180
15
12

... Dividing 360 degrees by the number of hours in a day (24), gives an answer of 15 degrees.

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