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December 21, 2004

Femtoseconds are so last year... or is it last second?


Who's got time for those grotesquely long time intervals any more?

Not physicists, that's for sure: they're dealing with "the real time scale of matter," as Paul Corkum, a physicist with the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences in Ottawa, said in a Discover magazine article.

That would be the attosecond: 10 to the -18th power, or a billionth of a billionth of a second.

In comparison, a femtosecond (1000 attoseconds) is way too much time when you're dealing with electrons.


Sure, for whole atoms and molecules the femtosecond's great, but we're getting down here.

Even attoseconds are getting old: new up is the zeptosecond, one-thousandth of an attosecond.

December 21, 2004 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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OK, I came for Book of Joe, 1.0, but liked it enough to stay for 2.0. Good work, Joe!

Posted by: Steve Lewis | Dec 21, 2004 11:58:32 AM

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