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The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology yesterday announced a historic event in the evolution of timekeeping. The agency's cesium fountain atomic clock, NIST F-1, began serving as the US's new primary time standard. The new clock neither loses nor gains a second in nearly 20 million years. Along with a similar clock under development in France, NIST F-1 is the most accurate timekeeping device ever created.

Keeping time this New Year's, the US Naval Observatory, which maintains the master clock of the United States, will usher in the years 2000 and 2001 by dropping a time ball at midnight from the telescope dome atop its main building in Washington.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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