, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 105–112 | Cite as

Time and timing: The astronomical and historical development

  • G. J. Whitrow


The mechanical clock controlled by a mechanical motion that continually repeats itself was invented in the 14th century. It soon led to a craze for great astronomical clocks simulating the motions of the heavenly bodies. These clocks gave rise to the idea that the universe is a clock-like machine. The invention of the much more accurate pendulum clock in the 17th century led to time becoming a fundamental concept in science. As a result, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the mechanical concept of the universe was gradually replaced by the evolutionary concept. Still greater accuracy achieved in the 20th century has led to time standards becoming basic for spatial as well as for temporal measurement.


14th Century Temporal Measurement Historical Development Great Accuracy Fundamental Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. J. Whitrow
    • 1
  1. 1.Mathematics DepartmentImperial CollegeLondon

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