Guess Who Invented Our Modern System Of Time?

Time – it’s easy to dive into a deep dark rabbit hole about where time came from, how we keep track of it and how we divide it up. 

That’s why Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin has volunteered to break it down minute by minute for us. 

Starting with something reasonably simple… (reasonably), Evrim explains how the average clock works. 

“Clocks in one way or another provide a measurement of intervals in time. These intervals can be thought of as the distance between two events happening in time,” he said. 

How Do Clocks Work?

“Mechanical clocks are thought to have begun in clock towers built in the regions spanning northern Italy to southern Germany from around 1270 to 1300.

“These first mechanical clocks used suspended weights to move the clock and ring bells, which told the time in the absence of dials and hands. 

“Modern clocks with hands use differently sized gears to move the second minute an hour hands.”

While the science of clocks is fairly straight forward, the history of time is not. Many cultures over the past thousands of years have used different methods to keep track of time and for different purposes. 

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The Egyptians are believed to have come up with the time system closest to our own, dividing days into 24 hours.

The ancient Egyptians divided days into ten blocks, which they measured with their sundials. A time clock was added either side for twilight at the end and beginning of the day.

Evrim Yazgin

Evrim dives deep into the rabbit hole of time so we don’t have to, answering all of our deeper questions along with simple questions including how to successfully use a sundial. 

Put your thinking caps on, folks. Huh? Science Explained is here, the twice weekly podcast brought to you by LiSTNR and Cosmos. Hosted by Cosmos’ very own science journos, this is the podcast that will answer all of life’s questions – in just 10 minutes. Hear it on the LiSTNR app now.