Geek Trivia

The Humble Second Derives Its Name From What Source?

Pope Gregory the IV
The Royal Society
13th Century Swiss Clockmakers
16th Century Scientists
Cameras Hidden In What Office Equipment Helped The U.S. Gain Access to Soviet Secrets?

Answer: 16th Century Scientists

The history of time tracking and division extends well 4,000 years into the past–the ancient Egyptians divided day and night into 12 hours ans 2,000 years later Greek scientists in the second century were dividing the day into 24 parts–but the appearance of the second, both in measurement and in name, didn’t occur until the 16th century.

Scientists like Francis Bacon and Johannes Kepler used, in their writing, the Latin term “secunda pars minuta” or: the second diminished part. The first diminished part of an hour is, of course, the minute and a second is 1/60th of that 1/60th division. Although mentioned in scientific texts as early as the mid-16th century it wasn’t until the mid-17th century that time pieces were able to consistently and accurately tick off seconds.