The Chronophage: Demonic Eater of Time
Professor Stephen Hawking has unveiled a spectacular clock at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge - the Corpus Clock (more evocatively named the Chronophage - the eater of time) is a $1.8 wonder of a timepiece.
The video is an excellent examination of this wonderful beast all presented by its creator, John Taylor, in a very polite and understated manner (so reminiscent of the old Open University videos):
Here is some more background:
The masterpiece, introduced by famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, challenges all preconceptions about telling time. It has no hands or digital numbers and it is specially designed to run in erratic fashion, slowing down and speeding up from time to time.
Inventor John Taylor used his own money to build the clock as a tribute to John Harrison, the Englishman who in 1725 invented the grasshopper escapement, a mechanical device that helps regulate a clock's movement.
Making a visual pun on the grasshopper image, Taylor created a demonic version of the insect to top of the gold-plated clock face where it devours time.
However, don't get distracted by the splendour it touches on the big themes:
Taylor said he also hopes the clock will remind people of their own mortality.
Rather than having it toll the hour by a bell or a cuckoo, the clock relies on the clanking of a chain that falls into a coffin, which then loudly bangs closed.
"I'm in my early 70s and I realize that time is a destroyer," Taylor said in a telephone interview. "When you're a young person you think there is plenty of time.
"The sound was to remind me of my mortality."
So there you are - it is really eating your life away. You'd better do whatever it is you've been putting off all this time, as you never know when a demonic grasshopper could appear and tell you your time is up!!