Date: 02/13/2007 at 06:19:07 From: Claire Subject: (no subject) I have a student who asked, "What is twice as cold as zero?"
Date: 02/13/2007 at 09:29:46 From: Doctor Ian Subject: Re: Hi Claire, It's not really a sensible concept, because temperature is a relative measurement, not an absolute one (like length, or mass). What you CAN sensibly ask is something like: In the _____ scale, what temperature is twice as far from zero degrees as _____ degrees? For example, it makes sense to say that In the Celsius scale, 48 degrees is twice as far from 0 degrees as 24 degrees. But that doesn't make it "twice as hot". When asked this way, you can say that In the Celsius scale, 0 degrees is twice as far from 0 degrees as 0 degrees. But this doesn't mean that 0 is "twice as cold" as zero. The real lesson here is that just because you can form a question that is grammatical, that doesn't mean the question makes sense, or has an answer. Does this help? - Doctor Ian, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 02/14/2007 at 00:36:26 From: Claire Subject: Thank you ((no subject)) Thank you - that makes sense!!!
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994-2013 The Math Forum