Wittgenstein's grave Vienna Austria

How leap seconds work – an explanation by the Science Geek

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

How leap seconds work.  It’s one of those existential questions you never thought of, but which you can’t stop thinking about once you’ve started. 

I thought this account of how leap seconds work at “The Science Geek” was outstanding.  A complex subject explained in English that you can understand, without in any way talking down to his audience.  A model for science communication!  I read his blog with pleasure.

His key points are that on 30 June 2015 an extra second was added onto the end of the day.  Did you know that?  He also notes that a day is actually slightly longer than 24 hours.  The reason for this?  The earth’s rotation is slowing.  A rotation actually takes 24 hours and 0.001 seconds.

I am hoping I can tempt the Science Geek to write something about ageing and telomeres.  This is a concept that lies behind the life-extension premise of my novel Eternal Life.

I don’t have a leap-second-themed picture in my image bank.  But here is a picture of Wittgenstein’s grave from the Central Cemetery in Vienna.  the Central Cemetery is itself located, with existential irony, on the edge of town.

The grave of Wittgenstein in Vienna

If you have enjoyed this piece you might like to explore my category of “Existential questions and women” – dozens more posts exploring the meaning of life.  Just click on the link for more.


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