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Old Nov 19th 2015, 01:01 PM   #1
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Time vs Speed of Light

The units for time obviously came before we knew about the importance of the speed of light. I don't want to upset anyone. This is just a serious thought experiment. Since we now know how important the speed of light is. And with the circular definitions of time or admittedly basing them on movement. Would it be of any use to consider making the speed of light a singular unit rather than a compound unit (meters per sec). This would make the unit for time a compound unit (distance divided by the speed of light, Sp of Lit being the new unit for speed). All other speeds would be designated as a fraction of the speed of light (the new unit of speed). The conventions of history have a way of making concepts confusing. Sometimes you need to understand the history to understand why the conventions are so confusing and then make the effort to comply with an awkward system. With the gas laws it is important to use degrees Kelvin so that changes in temperature are kept proportional. Would keeping speeds proportional be of use anywhere in physics? Is the speed of light important enough to exchange this honor with time?
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Old Nov 19th 2015, 01:12 PM   #2
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I think this is already happening in some areas,
Certainly some of the books I have read quite explicitly swap from time to distance and back via the speed of light.
Will this will eventually become the norm?
I don't know,
Possibly in the world of physics if it proves efficacious,
Probably not in the general populous since the magnitudes of the numbers would become awkward for describing every day experience.
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Old Nov 19th 2015, 01:38 PM   #3
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There is a system of units called natural units where this is all based on fundamental quantities, not only c but also charge, Plank's constant etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_units
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 08:49 AM   #4
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I think that it'd be a very bad idea to change it from what it is. For example; in units where the speed of light is 1 its hard to get a "feeling" for exactly how fast light is moving. Also, once you change that you have to change other things to compensate and that also makes it harder in other areas. This is one of the things you study when you study relativity and electrodynamics as well as other areas of modern physics, cosmology etc. I never liked the way they do those things. I prefer SI units.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Units_of_measurement
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 07:22 AM   #5
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Speed of Light

Problem for me here is that I cannot accept that Light "speeds". The M-M disaster showed that the phenomenon could only be a delusion. The real problem was/is how to proceed from there. In a world (1850) where magic still held a tenuous position the whoopee factor triumphed but I sincerely feel that the time has passed for growing up.

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Old Feb 10th 2016, 05:16 PM   #6
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Time vs Speed of Light

Thank you for all your comments. What I didn't find in your comments or the links provided was any comment on the definition of time being distance divided by the speed of light. Granted this may seem awkward at first but I think it clears up much of the confusion of what time is. It proposes that time is an interval not some abstract concept. Time is the interval that it takes light to travel a distance. The Wiki article on Natural Units led me to the article on Planck Units. Hear it is clear that not just the speed of light is 1 but four other units also become 1. This maintains speed as distance divided by time. I think there is value in just changing the the speed of light to 1 so that time becomes distance divided by the speed of light.
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