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Q & A: speed standard

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Most recent answer: 02/22/2018
Q:
It seems to me that there needs to be a new way to express the speed of anything and I wondering if by creating this new method, studies of the expanding universe would be changed. My though is that there are too many variables to accurately express speed as we observe it on a universal scale. So, since there is only one real standard that we can all agree is "absolute" and that that "standard" is the speed of light, then it seems to me that we should create a frame of reference with regard to measuring speed relative to the speed of light. Essentially, the speed of light would become our new "zero" and the speed of every other moving object in the universe would be measured in reference to that new absolute known. Obviously, this would mean that the speed of everything else we know of or can observe would be expressed as a fraction of "C". Therefore, from a working standpoint, we would want to establish a new name for a specific fraction that the average person or scientist can relate to. Of course, I would like to propose labeling that fraction the "Tripp" after my own nickname! (Really, this is a serious question)
- Arthur Harrington (age 71)
27292
A:

What you are proposing at the end is to use the speed of light as 1 unit, not "zero". This is routinely done in many fundamental physics calculations. (One formal system, Planck units, defines not only c and h-bar but also G as each being 1.) The standard symbol used for the speed in these units is β. You could change your nickname to "Beta" in honor of your nice idea.

Mike W.


(published on 02/22/2018)

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