Saturday 20 September 2008

Stephen Hawking unveils The Corpus Clock or Chronophage

Invented and designed by Dr John Taylor for Corpus Christi College Cambridge the £1 million clock is a tribute to John Harrison, the world’s greatest clockmaker, who solved the problem of longitude in the 18th century. Harrison invented the marine chronometer which enabled ship navigators to establish their east-west position, or longitude, while at sea, revolutionizing maritime travel.

Around 1722 the English master clockmaker came up with the grasshopper escapement - a tiny internal device that releases a clock's gears to move forward at each swing of the pendulum.
Dr Taylor decided to show how the grasshopper escapement works, so he turned the clock inside out and, instead of making the escapement 35 mm across, it is 1.5 m across.

He calls the new version of the escapement a Chronophage or time-eater, a fearsome beast which drives the clock, literally eating away time.

With each slackening of the monster’s jaw, and release of its claws, another second is devoured. Each new hour is signalled by the rattle of a chain on an unseen coffin to remind passers-by of their mortality.

Sources: One and Two
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