Thursday, Jan. 21, has an extra special moment driven by this century.
Specifically, this year is the 21st year of the 21st century and Jan. 21 is the 21st day of 2021, that is, the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century. On Jan. 21st, time 21:21:21 will mark the 21st second of the 21st minute of the 21st hour of the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century.
This notable Moment of 21s can be more precise, since it could be expanded to the 21st millisecond, microsecond, nanosecond, picosecond, etc. The true Moment of 21s would need to be represented with an infinite number of 21s since there is no limit to the precision that can be used. However, the Moment of 21s could be approximated by individuals with a precision of their choice.
Those who want to more calmly enjoy the moment with a late-night snack or dinner can stop the expansion of 21s after the 21st hour. More ambitious individuals may want to consciously witness the 21st second of the 21st minute of the 21st hour. Further expansions would last for less than a blink of an eye but could be captured more easily with measuring equipment used by physicists and electrical engineers, who are used to working with smaller units of time.
Last time such a moment occurred was 101 years ago during the 20th century, on Jan. 20, 1920, at time 20:20:20, which was the Moment of 20s. Most likely, the Moment of 20s went unnoticed.
After the Moment of 21s, the next time such a moment will occur is 101 years later in the 22nd century, on Jan. 22, 2122, at time 22:22:22 (Moment of 22s).
So Jan. 21, 2021, 21:21:21 will be a one-time moment in most of our lifetimes. Regardless of the precision you use, we hope you will fully enjoy this time and share it with others.
Happy Moment of 21s.
Aziz Inan is a Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering professor at the University of Portland. His sons, Baris Ege Inan and Nihat Cem Inan, are UP alumni.
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