Sunday, March 14, 2010

That's FAST !

beep, beep!

An attosecond is 10-18, a billionth of a billionth, of a second. An attosecond is to a second as a second is to the age of the universe. In three attoseconds, a beam of light traveling 300,000 kilometers per second can get only from one side of a water molecule to the other. And the electron of a hydrogen atom, dissolved in a hazy cloud of quantum mechanics probability, sloshes from one side of the atom to the other every 24 attoseconds — a fundamental oscillation dubbed the atomic unit of time.

Click here for more on our technological limits, timewise.

1 comment:

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Hi Steven,

Attochemistry is something wonderful (I am referreing to Zewail's work and followers), something so impressing. This fascinates me that one can now record the dynamics in molecules while they are in a reaction process. As a child so interested in Science, I thought I would never see that as an adult, but progress went faster that I believed it would go, and now it is there.