Have You Ever Wondered How Many Times a Clock's Hands Overlap in a Day?

Ever stared at the clock watching the minutes drag by? Watch this video to learn some distracting answers to the big questions about analogue clocks.
Jessica Miley

Ever sat at work staring at the clock? Watching each minute drag by at glacial speed. Perhaps you’ve tried to occupy your time, not with the tasks at hand, but with some clock-related question. Like ‘how many times do the hands of a clock cross in a 12 hour period?’ Well, we have the answer.

This video from the team at Numberphile explain exactly what is happening as the hands roll around. The host for this particular video is unbelievably animated about a rather regular subject. He explains the movement of the hands in friendly detail with the aid of a rather charming old clock and some useful animations. So to cut to the chase, the hands on an analog clock cross each other 11 times in a twelve hour period, which is equal to them crossing every one hour, five minutes and 27.3 seconds.

While this information has almost no useful application in the real word except of course at winning at the next pub trivia night. Numberphile is a brilliant YouTube channel if you are after more number facts. The channel is put together by Brady Haran and features a cast of eccentric number nerds who can educate you on everything numerical from unpacking prime numbers to revealing the problem with the math behind secret Santa. So next time you are at work staring at the clock, use the time wisely and spend some time learning about the secret world of numbers. You may find out about the meaning of life!