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Time – [Free JAMB Tutorial on Physics]

This Physics Tutorial will focus on TIME. This topic has been explained to ensure you understand it very well. At the end of the tutorial, you can download it for FREE. Please share this page with your friends who may need it.

In this tutorial, we are going to cover everything you need to know about TIME.

We explain what time means in Physics. Then we will tell you the unit of time and finally the devices used in measuring time.

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We will end the tutorial with exam practice questions on time.

Our aim is that, whenever you see a question on TIME, you’ll be able to answer it easily.

Can we proceed??

Meaning of Time

In physics, time is a fundamental concept that helps us quantify and compare events, durations, and sequences. In simpler terms, time is something that helps us understand when things happen and in what order.

It is one of the basic dimensions along with length and mass.

Time is often considered a continuous and irreversible progression of events, and it plays a crucial role in the description of physical processes and the formulation of fundamental laws.

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Unit of Time

The standard unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) is the second (s).

This might seem straightforward, but it’s defined in a more precise way than just counting heartbeats or seconds on a clock.

The second is defined based on the vibrations of atoms, specifically the vibrations associated with the transition between two energy levels of the cesium-133 atom. This definition ensures a highly accurate and reproducible standard for time measurements.

Time Measuring Devices:

  1. Sundials:
    • One of the earliest timekeeping devices.
    • Relies on the position of the sun’s shadow cast by a gnomon (a vertical stick) on a dial with hour markings.
  2. Water Clocks (Clepsydra):
    • Used in ancient civilizations, these clocks measured time by the flow of water from one container to another.
  3. Mechanical Clocks:
    • Developed in the Middle Ages, mechanical clocks use gears and escapements to regulate the motion of clock hands.
    • Pendulum clocks, invented by Christiaan Huygens in 1656, improved accuracy.
  4. Hourglasses:
    • Consist of two glass bulbs connected by a narrow neck, allowing sand to flow from one bulb to the other at a constant rate.
    • Used for measuring shorter intervals of time.
  5. Chronometers:
    • Highly accurate timekeeping devices, especially used in navigation.
    • Often based on precise mechanical movements, sometimes incorporating balance wheels and hairsprings.
  6. Atomic Clocks:
    • Currently, the most accurate timekeeping devices.
    • Use the vibrations of atoms, such as those of cesium or rubidium, to define the second.
    • Optical lattice clocks, using lasers and trapped ions, are even more accurate and are being developed for future time standards.
  7. Quartz Crystal Clocks:
    • Commonly found in watches and electronic devices.
    • Rely on the piezoelectric properties of quartz crystals to maintain a stable frequency.
  8. Atomic Watches:
    • Wristwatches that use the vibrations of atoms to maintain accurate timekeeping.
  9. Global Positioning System (GPS):
    • Satellite-based navigation systems rely on highly accurate atomic clocks on board satellites to provide precise time information for location calculations.

That’s all for this tutorial. Did you understand what you’ve read? Let’s find out!

Practice Questions

1. What is the SI Unit of Time
a) hours
b) minutes
c) seconds

2. In the context of timekeeping devices, what fundamental property allows quartz crystals to be used in watches?

a) Magnetism
b) Piezoelectricity
c) Radioactivity

3. Which atomic particle is commonly used in atomic clocks to measure time accurately?

a) Electrons
b) Protons
c) Cesium atoms

4. Why are atomic clocks based on transitions in atoms more accurate than traditional mechanical clocks?

a) They are not affected by external factors like temperature.
b) They rely on the fundamental properties of atoms, making their vibrations highly stable.
c) They do not require a power source.

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Answers:

1. c.

Explanation: The standard unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) is the second (s).

2 (b): Explanation: Quartz crystals possess the property of piezoelectricity, meaning they generate an electric charge when subjected to mechanical stress. This property allows them to vibrate at a very stable frequency, making them suitable for timekeeping in watches.

3 (c): Cesium atoms are commonly used in atomic clocks. The atomic clock’s precision is based on the vibrations associated with the transition between two energy levels of cesium atoms, providing a highly stable and reproducible standard for time measurements

4 (b):

Explanation: Atomic clocks based on transitions in atoms, such as cesium or rubidium, are more accurate than traditional mechanical clocks because they rely on the fundamental and extremely stable vibrations of atoms. This stability allows for highly precise time measurements, unaffected by external factors like temperature.

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