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Author Topic: Why is "speed" of light so popular?  (Read 1881 times)

Offline raghusesha

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« on: 20/10/2010 18:50:13 »
Why is the term "speed of light" used so popularly and not "velocity of light" even though light travels in straight line?  (I know that the path may not be truly a straight line based on the gravitational warping caused by celestial bodies, but certainly I feel "velocity" is a more suitable term than "speed")


 

Offline JP

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #1 on: 20/10/2010 19:21:24 »
Velocity is speed with a direction.  The speed of light is a constant, but the velocity isn't, since light can travel in different directions. 
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #2 on: 20/10/2010 19:33:29 »
Although JP is correct here I think that he is a bit pedantic.  I think that it is just a matter of preferred usage.  By speed everyone understands that the speed of an object is the velocity in the direction in which it is travelling.  Also if I were to say the velocity of something (unqualified) was x  we would understand that that also referred to the direction in which it was travelling
 

Offline JP

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #3 on: 20/10/2010 19:43:55 »
Although JP is correct here I think that he is a bit pedantic. 

Me?  Pedantic?  Never!    ;D
 

Offline Geezer

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #4 on: 20/10/2010 19:57:19 »
It's better than "rate of speed", which is frequently used by the media and the constabulary in the US, as in;

"Geezer was driving at a high rate of speed when I apprehended him."

I suspect this is a (sad) reflection on the level of science education in the US school system.
 

SteveFish

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #5 on: 20/10/2010 22:24:18 »
You think that's bad? Now just tell me what the lineal distance was that you traveled before the highway patrol got you?
 

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Why is "speed" of light so popular?
« Reply #5 on: 20/10/2010 22:24:18 »

 

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