Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

Steve Nicholas (
2 Oct 1995 15:37:13 GMT

It is my opinion that time should be decimalised thereby doing away with the needs
for standards for dates and times. For example, a year would represent the integer
part and any subdivision the fraction. It would be difficult to impliment initially
as people would see it as confusing but eventually people would come to use it
easily and become familiar with what happens when just by remembering their
fraction. At the moment there are exactly 31 556 925.97 seconds per year

This isn't a very round number so if we redefine the length of a second to fit in
100 000 000 per year we could term:

Jan 1st 00:00:01 1996.00000001
Dec 31st 23:59:59 1996.99999999

Of course we would need subdivisions of this metric system bearing in mind the
redefined second:

Term length in seconds old length in seconds rough equivalent

Year 100 000 000 seconds 31 556 925.97 exactly one year
deci-year 10 000 000 seconds 3 155 692.60 36.5 days
milli-year 10 000 seconds 31 556.93 7.5 hours
micro-year 10 seconds 3.16 3 seconds

Unfortunately as with the king who wanted everything in the land square, the number
of days doesn't fit into the number of years exactly and there is no easy way of
recognising the actual date from the metric time. The new day length in seconds
would be a somewhat unround 27265.18 seconds so that:

Jan 1st 00:00:01 1996.00000001
Jan 2nd 00:00:01 1996.0002726518
Jan 3rd 00:00:01 1996.0005453037

There can be advantages in such a system and I'm sure the second could be redefined
for certain applications where syncronicity is required. Of course the number of
decimal places will define *any* time to that level of accuracy right down to the
timing of events in particle accelerators.

As with the more simplified version of the Julian date I think this system would
have its uses although redefining the second has huge implications. This is
notwithstanding the occasional addition of a leap day and leap seconds which would
mean we would have to continuously redefine the second to make sure that there were
100 000 000 seconds in a year.

Steve Nicholas,
PGS Tensor(UK) Ltd.
PGS House, Mayfield Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 5PL, UK | Phone +44 1932 262853 | Fax +44 1932 262884