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Possessing Both Magnitude And Directio4

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Posted by Brian Kirk Parquette on January 21, 2003 20:58:17 UTC

)[14] The Evolution of Physics

(einstein & Infeld) matter of convention, it is more convenient to say that four cars traveling away from the same traffic circle on different roads do not have the same velocity even though the speeds, as registered on the speedometers, are all forty miles per hour. This differentiation between speed and velocity illustrates how physics, starting with a concept used in everyday life, changes it in a way which proves fruitful in the further development of science.

If a length is measured, the result is expressed as a number of units. The length of a stick may be 3 ft. 7 in.; the weight of some object 2 lb. 3 oz.; a measured time interval so many minutes or seconds. In each of these~ cases the result of the measurement is expressed by a number. A number alone is, however, insufficient for describing some physical concepts. The recognition of this fact marked a distinct advance in scientific investigation. A direction as well as a number is essential for the characterization of a velocity, for example. Such a quantity, possessing both magnitude

(einstein & Infeld)The Rise Of the Mechanical View [15]

and directio4 is called a vector. A suitable symbol for it is an arrow. Velocity may be represented by an arrow or, briefly speaking, by a vector whose length in some chosen scale of units is a measure of the speed, and whose direction is that of the motion.

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