The Second minutes

Mathematical concepts usually appear obscure and most try to shun away from them. But, once we trace back the history of time to see the growth of such abstract concepts we cant help appreciating them. Once such thing is the most-feared term ‘Calculus’ which has crept into our daily lives but we fail to recognize it. Here is a simple example: We daily use the term second (unit of time) but do not know why we call it so.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Calculus made easy” by Thompson which explains it:

There are 60 minutes in an hour,24 hours in a day,7 days in a week. There are therefore 1440 minutes in a day and 10080 minutes in a week. Obviously 1 minute is a small quantity of time compared with a whole week. Indeed, our forefathers found it small as compared with an hour and called it ‘one minute’ meaning a minute fraction-namely one-sixtieth of an hour. When they came to require still smaller subdivisions of time, they divided minute into 60 still smaller parts, which they called “second minutes” (i.e., small quantities of second order of minuteness). Gradually, this second order of smallness became seconds. But very few know why they are called so.


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