06 July 2010

Scientists measure the New York Minute

It was determined a long time ago that the New York minute (the time between a traffic light going green and the sounding of the first car horn)was the shortest time interval on the planet but until very recently it was not known how short a period of time it actually was. However, German scientists claim to have measured it and confirmed that it is truly an incredibly short period of time

Physicists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen and the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics used their ultra-short time measurement technology, the physicists fired pulses of near-infrared laser light at New York drivers. There was a small but measurable time delay of about twenty attoseconds before they sounded their horns.

"One attosecond is one billionth of one billionth of a second, an unimaginable short interval of time. But after excitation by traffic light one of the New Yorkers shoots for his horn" explains Reinhard Kienberger, one of the researchers.

Ferenc Krausz, another author of the study, said their research showed that the New Yorkers not only interact with their horns, but also they are influenced by one another. "Our investigations shed light on the New Yorkers’ interactions with one another on an imaptience scale," said Krausz.

"These to-date poorly understood interactions have a fundamental influence on traffic movements in tiniest dimensions not to mention the speed of traffic

God I have no life!


His Girl Friday said...

for a moment I thought this post was for April 1st...though I have been to Manhattan several times, and can attest to such impatience :(

Sean Jeating said...

I wonder how many attoseconds it took to getting to such an earthshaking result. Life from now on will never ever be as it was before.

jams o donnell said...

Not been myself but the lore says that there is impatience!

It is truly a wonder Sean!

Stan said...

Impatience can be very contagious — and loud. This is an interesting report, Jams, but the hyperlink doesn't send me anywhere. Good job I'm not behind a wheel with my hand hovering over the horn!

jams o donnell said...

Haha Stan I'll have to check the link!