Skip to main content
Main Penn College Website

It’s Only a Matter of Time


Like a magician, Richards explains the concept of time dilation with the assistance of Rylee A. Butler, an engineering design technology student from Bellefonte.
Like a magician, Richards explains the concept of time dilation with the assistance of Rylee A. Butler, an engineering design technology student from Bellefonte.
The first floor of the Klump Academic Center Auditorium fills with "time travelers" from campus and the surrounding community.
The first floor of the Klump Academic Center Auditorium fills with “time travelers” from campus and the surrounding community.
Nicholas C. Moore, center, a plastics and polymer engineering technology student from Lock Haven, joins Richards and Butler on stage to demonstrate the use of a “time stick” …
Nicholas C. Moore, center, a plastics and polymer engineering technology student from Lock Haven, joins Richards and Butler on stage to demonstrate the use of a “time stick” …
… as audience members also join in the fun experiment measuring reaction time.
… as audience members also join in the fun experiment measuring reaction time.
Through a pendulum, one of his stage props, Richards can be seen during the closing question-and-answer session moderated by Michael J. Reed (at podium), dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications.
Through a pendulum, one of his stage props, Richards can be seen during the closing question-and-answer session moderated by Michael J. Reed (at podium), dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications.

A large crowd of “time travelers” enjoyed a journey through the realities and fantasies of time during “Manipulating Time Using Science, Technology and Literature,” presented Tuesday evening in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium by David S. Richards, professor of physics. The second talk in the 2016-17 Technology & Society Colloquia Series, the discussion ranged from scientific principles to personal perceptions of time. The audience was encouraged to participate in a demonstration measuring reaction time utilizing “time sticks” and by submitting their definitions of time that were transcribed and shown on the large screen. A question-and-answer session and a post-talk reception in Wrapture concluded the evening. The next colloquium is scheduled for Feb. 7: “A General Assertion is Worth Innumerable Pictures,” by Robert N. McCauley, a professor and founding director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University. Richards’ presentation has been added to the Penn College YouTube channel.

Comments

John E. Backman,

Circa 1962. I was a young Staff Sergeant at the time. In an attempt to determine which radio frequencies could be sent and received through a Thor rocket motor’s exhaust, our government synchronized three atomic clocks in Washington, D.C. The clocks would control transmitters and receivers, which would send and receive signals through the rocket exhaust as the Thor was fired in a nose-down configuration. Two clocks were shipped to an air base in California. Upon arrival, they were no longer synchronized with the clock in Washington. After re-synchronization, one was shipped to Hunter Ligget military reservation (a couple hundred miles south of San Francisco.) It was no longer synchronized with either clock. I sent this info to NASA in May of last year. I asked if anyone had recorded whether the un-synchronized clocks that moved were ahead or behind the one that remained stationary. They sent me a NASA sticker. Seems like a good experiment waiting to be explored. I’m nearly 81 years old, but am still intrigued by how travel/speed affects time. Our Earth’s surface rotation (nearly 1,000 mph). Our Earth’s speed in orbit. Our sun’s speed around the Orion arm of our galaxy, as well as the galaxy’s speed. Perhaps motion is time.

Penn College welcomes comments that are on topic and civil. Read our full disclaimer.

Related Stories

The Spring 2019 Career Fair attracted more than 450 employers – including 29 Fortune 500 companies – to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Field House (shown here) and Bardo Gymnasium. Employers were offering 5,000-plus jobs and internships. Events
Employers heavily recruit Penn College students
Read more
Plastics and polymer engineering technology students Cassie N. Shook, of Wesport, and Evan M. Prough, of Lock Haven, visit with a graduate of their major: B. Braun Medical Inc.'s Daniel M. Dietrich. Events
Spring Career Fair
Read more
Events
Sci-fi-inspired prototypes focus of futurist designer’s talk
Read more