Chicago Booth Magazine: Spring 2013

Back Story

Ray Ball

"I've always been interested in time. It's not as simple as the chronological way we usually think of it."


ballRay Ball, Sidney Davidson Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting, has been collecting clocks since 1972, when in his native Australia he found one that struck his fancy. Since then, he has acquired more than 20 clocks from around the world, including a 1901 punch clock by IBM's predecessor, the International Time Recording Co. of New York, that he keeps in his Harper Center office. "Time is subjective to us, but these machines make it objective," said Ball, who was photographed by Chris Strong with a 17th century Swedish clock he purchased during an academic trip to Helsinki in 1992. But sometimes mechanical timekeeping lacks the precision that a professor of accounting might prefer: "When you've got a dozen clocks chiming at midnight and you can't exactly synchronize them, it's a cacophony." - Chelsea Vail 

Last Updated 1/16/14