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Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company by Jeffrey O’Brien, Steve Hamm, Kevin Maney

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Seeing

In the winter of 2010, a team of physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, unveiled the world’s most precise clock. Based on a single atom of aluminum, it ticks a trillion times in the blink of an eye and promises to slip but one second every 3.7 billion years. That’s twice the accuracy of the previous record holder and many orders of magnitude better than the most advanced timepiece from 2004.229

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Humans have always yearned to see in greater detail. We’ve built a wide array of tools, from the ...

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