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Hello! Welcome to the first instalment of Fun Fact Friday!

I’ve perused a few interesting facts today in order to choose one to bring to you and have settled on one that could equally make a good Word of the Week! Prepare to be amazed!

Fun fact: A jiffy is used as an actual unit of time!

Have you ever said to anyone ‘I’ll be with you in a jiffy!’? Well, chances are you weren’t quick enough! Although the length of a jiffy is actually dependent on its frame of reference, they’re all very short! Here’s how a jiffy breaks down:

The time between alternating current power cycles, 1/60 or 1/50 of a second in most mains power supplies.

The duration of one tick of the system timer interrupt. It is not an absolute time interval unit, since its duration depends on the clock interrupt frequency of the particular hardware platform.

The speed of light in a vacuum provides a convenient universal relationship between distance and time, so in physics (particularly in quantum physics) and often in chemistry, a jiffy is defined as the time taken for light to travel some specified distance. In astrophysics and quantum physics a jiffy is, as defined by Edward R. Harrison, the time it takes for light to travel one fermi, which is approximately the size of a nucleon. One fermi is 10−15 m, so a jiffy is about 3 × 10−24 seconds.

So there you have it! Next time you tell someone you’ll be the in a jiffy, just make sure it’s not anyone in the above professions!