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Thread: Question about simplifying physics equations!?

  1. #1 Question about simplifying physics equations!? 
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    Let's say that we had some equation in physics that was v(m+c)/v, which isn't real I am just using it, would you be able to simplify it to m+c? You shouldn't be able to because v for velocity has a possibility of being 0, correct? You can't simplify if you would be cancelling out a variable that could be zero, is this true?
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by muon321 View Post
    Let's say that we had some equation in physics that was v(m+c)/v, which isn't real I am just using it, would you be able to simplify it to m+c? You shouldn't be able to because v for velocity has a possibility of being 0, correct? You can't simplify if you would be cancelling out a variable that could be zero, is this true?
    You are technically correct, and being very careful, as you should.

    There are couple of ways to handle this.

    1. Stipulate that and simplify.

    2. You could view this as a rational function of v,m,c in which case it is equal to m+c everywhere except where v=0 and can be continued to those points where v=0 as just m+c. This is the same thing that would result from ignoring the case v=0 and simplifying.

    Physicists tend to not be quite so fussy, but fussy can be a good thing and keep one from making mistakes. Einstein once championed a static universe, which he thought was stable. But he had inadvertently divided by zero in his calculation (zero was cleverly disguised). Even the best can make this error.
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