h a l f b a k e r y
Yeah, I wish it made more sense too.
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In 1983, the metre was redefined to be "the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in the time of 1/299792458 of a second."
In 1975 the speed of light was 299792458 metres per second.
In 1969, for example, it was 29979250(10) metres per second.
(The number in parenthesis is "the standard-deviation
uncertainties in the last digit", but grandpa does tend to complain about how far they used to walk and then mumble a few statistics)
The idea is a 10K race where each member runs his/her allotted number of metres based on the definition of the metre on the date of the runner's birth. They will also be carrying any physics books published with pertinent speed of light at the time. Given the theoretical length of the race, there may be clear advantages to recruiting older runners with smaller metres and fewer books in the intervals between speeds of light.
NIST Woodstock, 1969
I remember when the speed of light was [4and20, Aug 17 2012]
||//where each member runs his/her allotted number of metres based on the definition of the metre on the date of the runner's birth// - so you'd have to run 299,792,458 metres? Could take a while.
||I think this means runs 10,000 * x, where x is the
official length of the meter at the time of the
runners birth. As this distance (10,000 or 1 m)
hasnt changed by an amount measurable with
ordinary track and field equipment, it wouldnt
have any but perhaps a psychological effect on any
races (ie: it may not be measurable, but I *know*
my lane is a little shorter than yours!)
||It might be more fun, for each track meet, to
define and use a meter the old fashioned Chris
Huygens way: take a bit of string, hang a bob on
it, set it swinging, fiddle with its length til
everybody standing around with their
stopwatches agrees this pendulum is making one
complete cycle each second, then use this to
measure out all the courses. Thus high altitude
places or ones with low local ground density would
get slightly shorter (on the order of a few 0.1%)
meters than others, and runners would flock to
them in order to set new personal bests, national
and world records. Of course, the process could
be humanized/politicized, with the folk measuring
the pendulum all frantically trying to cheat for
whatever ends, possibly making this part of before
the start of the meet a better spectator sport
than the actual races.