Fellows of The Royal Society have been concerned with the definition and measurement of time from the first days of the Society. John Flamsteed, F.R.S., ‘Royal Astronomer’, showed that the rotation of the Earth was isochronous and that the length of the solar day varied with the season because the path of the Earth about the Sun was an ellipse inclined to the Equator of the Earth. In the 20th century, D.W. Dye, F.R.S., made quartz oscillators that replaced mechanical clocks, and L. Essen, F.R.S., brought into use at the National Physical Laboratory the first caesium beam frequency standard and advocated that atomic time should replace astronomical time as the standard. The Society supported the development of chronometers for use at sea to determine longitude, and Fellows used the electric telegraph to find longitude in India. Edmond Halley, F.R.S., estimated the age of the Earth from the saltiness of lakes and seas; Lord Kelvin, F.R.S., estimated the rate at which energy was being radiated from the Sun; and Lord Rutherford, F.R.S., showed how the ages of rocks and of the Earth could be found from decay of radioactive minerals in them.