What Can Happen in a Second?

I watched some preliminary heats at the men’s swimming world championships recently, and marveled at how close the finishers could be. Laszlo Cseh of Hungary completed the 100-meter butterfly in 50.91 seconds. Tom Shields of the US took second by finishing in 51.09. Less than a second!

photo nl.wikipedia.org


It’s not unusual in some sports (track and field, skiing), but consider the fraction of time involved.

What can happen in a second?

A slap. A punch. A kick. A curse.

A devastating bolt of lightning.

Indiana Public Media
Indiana Public Media


A smile. A touch. A kind thought.

Six babies are born.



4 thoughts on “What Can Happen in a Second?

  1. Yes, fascinating idea that such a small unit of time can make such a difference: for the swimmer’s career or the unfortunate person in the lightning’s path. As for those 6 babies – wow – in the time I’ve taken to type this, that’s about 240 more people in the world!


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