7060Re: weight vs. mass
- Jul 2, 2001
> In normal speech, weight is still the commoner way of expressing what isI have a vague recollection from high school chemistry class that there
> more correctly termed mass. But I've never used it as an equivalent for
actually is a scientific distinction between "mass" and "weight": "Mass"
is something that is unaffected by gravity, while "weight" depends on
gravity. Hence we say something is "weightless" when it is in orbit, or
that it "weighs" 1/6 (or is it 1/16? some fraction, anyway) of its "normal"
(i.e. earth) weight when it is on the moon. However, its "mass" is the
same, regardless of where it happens to be.
For convenience, the "mass" of any particular body is generally expressed
in the same terms as the "weight" that same body has when here on earth, at
sea level. And, indeed, I suspect that in many contexts this entire
distinction is completely irrelevant.
E = MC^2
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