Is there a reason that c has that particular value?
It seems to be a fundemental built in property of our universe.Is there a reason that c has that particular value?
I may have not been clear. I was looking for why c is a particular speed (?) not how the measurement scale is calibrated.Or in other words, "The reason c has the value it does is http://www.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/chapter2/2-1/metre.html" [Broken]"
In theory, how do we come up with the permeability and permativity of free space?It seems to be a fundemental built in property of our universe.
The value comes out of maxwell's equations from the permeability and permativity of free space - although in practice it's easier to measure the speed of light and calcualte the permeability and permativity from that.
In practical terms the experimental value of the speed of light is so well known that it is fixed and the length of the meter changes as new measurements are made.
In this question it is not c but the meter and the second that are arbitrary. In fact they have always been recognised as very arbitrary. You can have physical things that are less arbitrary however. A resonant frequency of the Cs atom for instance for time. (Then that is multiplied by a number that gives a time near that of the old second). As for m , well meters are defined by how far light travels in a second! (multiplied by a number to give something like the old meter).I think the question is why is it that the universe chose 3E8 m/s seemingly arbitrarily as the speed limit of the universe as apposed to so 4E8 or something even larger (or presumably smaller). So what makes that speed more special than another?
I don't think that there can be an answer to that question. It is just an axiom of nature.
If light has a definite "maximum" speed than the magnitude of the number simply depends on our choice of units that we use to measure it. In other words, the speed of light is only "3 x10^8" if we measure the speed in meter/seconds. In fact, the maximum speed of light CAN be any "number" we wish it to be if we just decide on new units to use to measure length and time. So there is no significance to the "number" of 3x10^8 itself other than that the speed of light happens to come out to that when we decide to measure length with a meter and time with a second. I think a few other people in this thread mentioned this point already but just didn't go into it.he speed of light is not infinite. It does in fact have a finite speed. That being said, it can only have one finite speed. Why choose the speed that it did?