David Allan on “What is Time, How Does GPS Work, and God’s Time”

by Sterling D. Allan
for Pure Energy Systems News

Here is a video recording I did (minus the intro, which was by another camera) of a presentation my Dad gave at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, USA on “What is Time, How Does GPS Work, and God’s Time” on March 14, 2013.

I thought that those of you who have been following our news for a while might enjoy watching my Dad in action. It will help you see what informs my belief system and world view. Though my Dad and I do have some differences in our views, I certainly have been significantly impacted by his influence, and vice versa.

Here is an article I wrote this evening, to be published in our local paper, the Sanpete Messenger.

Since 1992, Sanpete Valley has had a scientific celebrity in their midst.

Locally, people know him as David Allan, the physicist guy with the amazing solar home he and his wife, Edna, built in Fountain Green. It has no furnace — doesn’t need one. He rides his mountain bike a couple of miles to the post office nearly every day; is active in promoting awareness of threats to freedom, encouraging preparedness; and taught LDS Institute classes in the Moroni Stake for eleven years up until last Fall, when he and Edna began travelling, to spend time with family, do firesides, and further scientific research with other colleagues in different parts of the country.

There probably isn’t another house in Utah that has had an atomic clock in it. David has had up to five of these over the years (both cesium and rubidium) – loaned to him by colleagues – for use in his experimental research pertaining to a new unified field theory he’s been working on for over a decade, and for a GPS backup navigation and timing system that can work without satellites.

Many people in the valley have had the privilege of taking a tour of their solar home, which involves ten different solar gain principles (http://tinyurl.com/allansolar), including the usual: thermal hot water, photovoltaic, thermal mass storage, the berm principle, and geodesic dome greenhouse; but also featuring several innovations of his own, including a passive solar air conditioner and a eutectic salt chamber. The inviting home is a rarity of innovation, not just in Sanpete Valley, but in the world. For many years, his feature page was the first to pull up in a Google search for “solar home”.

In 2011, David was honored by the International Telecommunication Sync Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland with the “Time Lord award”, recognizing the pivotal work he has done toward increasing the accuracy and communication of time-keeping worldwide. Accurate clocks are a key component in enabling the global positioning system to work. When you are comparing the time it takes for signals to travel from four satellites to your receiver at the speed of light, the clocks involved have to be accurate to billionths of a second to be able to calculate your position to within a few feet.



He was the 1992 (when he “retired” and moved to Fountain Green) NIST nominee in physics for the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, which stated: “He wrote the book on the method for characterizing clocks and time and frequency distribution systems; and the statistical variance he introduced is named after him. Mr. Allan is as well-recognized in the field of time and frequency technology as any other figure in the world.”

On March 14, Professor Ted Olson invited David to speak at Snow College. The lecture on “What is Time, How does GPS Work, and God’s Time” was attended by a capacity crowd of around a hundred people, including students, faculty, visitors from the community, and even Ted’s siblings, who includes Kent Olson, who was the organist in the Boulder, Colorado Stake where David served as a Stake President prior to moving to Fountain Green. The lecture is online at http://youtu.be/rDUz_ZbcrX4

In this presentation, David gave an overview of the evolution of the keeping of time, and how atomic clocks work and are used as the backbone to the global positioning system.

Before getting into that, he started on a spiritual note, talking about God and the role of spirituality in his own scientific work.

After graduating from BYU in 1960, David moved to Boulder, working for the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He was attending the University of Colorado for his advanced degrees when he was called to serve in an LDS local leadership position. He said he felt he had to make a decision between finishing his schooling or serving in this Church capacity, for he didn’t have time to do both.

At that time, he was working on his master’s thesis.  He said he invoked the Lord in fasting and praying and received the answer that this was the Lord’s call, which he accepted.  He believes that his willingness to “do things the Lord’s way” rather than his, opened the idea for what has become known as the “Allan Variance”, an algorithm that still today is at the heart of international timekeeping. And still today, he is jovially referred to by his colleagues as the “praying physicist,” not afraid to broach the subject of God and revelation or inspiration when lecturing to a room full of Ph.D.s, though he never himself received a Ph.D.  When his master’s thesis committee reviewed his thesis, one of them said, “What are you going to do for an encore?”, as if to say: “How are you going to top this?”

He is not afraid to give credit to divinity for the good ideas that have come to him. And from experience, he knows that we can use that same guidance in all areas of our lives. The students in the audience seemed particularly grateful for that point of mentoring.

He also addressed his convictions about the value of freedom as vouchsafed in the Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence, and the threat it is under today.

Near the end of the presentation, he gave a teaser on some new studies he has become aware of that seem to give scientific credence to some of the accounts in the Bible, such as the flood. He had a crystal rock on display that had water encased within it, which could be seen as easily as the bubble on a level tool. Had those rocks been formed according to the presently-accepted scientific model — through heat and pressure and time — then that water would have exploded the rock or escaped as a gas before the rock solidified, and not stayed encased within it.  The flood conditions were exactly what was needed to form that quartz crystal with water in it, and this phenomenon has been scientifically reproduced in a lab by Dean Sessions of Mesa, Arizona.

After the lecture, even the smartest scientists in the room were scratching their heads about some of the things presented, but all seemed to be glad they had come.

You can visit David’s website at http://AllansTIME.com, where you will find a mixture of religious, political, healthy living, and scientific musings over the years.  After his retirement from the lab in Boulder, CO, Hewlett Packard hired him as a consultant for using GPS to synchronize cell towers and to write the booklet, The Science of Timekeeping, which you can also find on his web site if you want to know more.

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just in Sanpete