Tuesday, 18 February 2014
How time was invented
Here's a quick lesson you'll never forget.
Many years ago at the time of the Romans there was an Italian called Role. He was the tenth son of a tenth generation of men called Role - in fact he was known as Role the Tenth. Which in Roman times was written Role X.
Anyway Role X, and everyone else for that matter, noticed that it was sometimes daylight and sometimes night. "But how do we measure such a recurring occurence to see how long is daytime compared to night time." thought Role X.
So he asked the opinion of his friend Galileo who at the time was looking up at the sky and wondering why the sun was always in different locations.
This is not the Galileo physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who lived between 1564 and 1642 - but most probably an earlier ancestor of his; which shows that the Galileo family were very clever for generations. But I digress.
Anyway, after a short discussion with Galileo, Role X planted a big candle which he had borrowed from his local church right in the middle of his garden. (The candle was in the middle of the garden - not the church. Just pay attention).
He measured the candle carefully. He waited until the sun was right above the candle, (i.e. no shadow), and he lit the large candle and left it lit until the following day when the candle had no shadow again. He then blew the candle out and measured the bit that was left. From this he deduced how much candle had burnt over the period it was lit.
He then got another candle with exactly the same dimensions and marked with his pen 24 equal segments from top to bottom. That's the candle's bottom not his bottom! Are you really paying attention?
He called each segment "hours". He quite rightly thought that if he lit the new candle at the same time as the previous day, (i.e. no shadow), he will call that MIDDAY and then every segment as it burnt down would be an HOUR, until the following day when there will be no more segments on the candle; and when there was no shadow (i.e. MIDDAY again).
Are you still paying attention? Good.
Role X decided he'd call the 24 segments one DAY.
He lit the candle and waited. But the experiment did not work because it was windy that night and the candle blew out.
He prepared a third candle which this time he kept indoors. That did not work either because the sun did not cast a shadow indoors.
So in total desperation, Role X bought himself a watch and solved all his problems about time.
Well ... I did promise you a quick lesson you'll never forget. Go buy yourself a watch and forget about lighting candles in the wind.