Entropy. The Arrow of Time. It’s why you can’t unscramble an egg, or why Christmas lights somehow wind up in a giant ball of tangles every single year. It’s the universe’s steady march toward increasing disorder.
Even something as small as a ticking clock creates entropy in the universe.
According to a new study highlighted by LiveScience, researchers at the University of Oxford have been attempting to better understand the relationship between a clock’s accuracy and the amount of entropy it creates.
What they’ve found — by creating a specially made simplified clock to test their hypothesis — is what they expected: As a clock ticks “more regularly and accurately,” more heat is added to the system, thus creating more entropy.
As study co-author Natalia Ares says:
“We don’t know for certain yet, but what we’ve found — for both our clock and for quantum clocks — is that there’s a proportional relationship between accuracy and entropy. It might not always be a linear relationship for other clocks, but it does look like the accuracy is bounded by the laws of thermodynamics.”
Think about that next time you look at your watch.