Have you ever wondered how precision timekeeping developed, and how timekeeping evolved over the centuries to meet mankind, and industry’s, changing needs? This is a complicated question. Timekeeping originally had its roots in observation of natural cycles, like the movement of the Sun and Moon across the sky, but as technology developed, higher precision and greater standardization became increasingly important. Navigation at sea, the need for precision timekeepers for scientific experiments, and the rise of national railroad systems stimulated the evolution of timekeeping, and today, atomic clock precision is needed for everything from financial transactions, to GPS, and self-driving cars.
Tim Harford from BBC News explores the evolution of timekeeping, the development of Standard Time and its origin in the need to make trains run on schedule, and where modern precision timekeeping is going, in his story, "Tick Tock: The Importance Of Knowing The Right Time," which is part of the BBC News radio series, "50 Things That Made The Modern Economy."