[DWJ] Units of distance and speed

Otter Perry ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com
Fri Dec 8 09:19:19 EST 2006

On Dec 8, 2006, at 3:04 AM, Belben, Philip ((Energy Wholesale)) wrote:

> Finally, a very useful figure in some fields: the speed of light is 
> just
> under 1 foot per nanosecond.

Ooooh!  I knew _that_.  I have a piece of wire about 11.4 inches long,
which is the distance light goes in a nanosecond.

My mother went
to Vassar, as did Grace Hopper.  Grace Hopper was a very important
figure in the development of computer programming.  [She wrote
COBOL, for one thing, and is supposed to have dealt with the
eponymous 'bug', a moth.]  Anyway, some time ago, in the 70s
IIRC, Vassar was doing a summer program for alumni and so on,
and offered a workshop on computers given by Grace Hopper.

Lots and lots of people attended, but only some of them were
actually registered.  The people [or couples] who were registered
were each given a piece of wire.  Hopper had spent some time
with a graduate student trying to come up with something that
would indicate how brief a time a nanosecond is, and they had
come up with this idea.

I have that nanosecond.  It's a treasured posession.


There are three kinds of theoretical physicists:
those who understand math and those who

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