Who is faster: You or that polar bear?

Well, that polar bear has a top speed of 30 km/h, while Usain Bolt once ran roughly 38 km/h.

It is good to know, that the polar bear would not catch Usain Bolt within 100 meters on a track inside a stadium. Personally, I do not feel more comfortable knowing that. I have and will continue to avoid close encounters with polar bears whenever I am in Svalbard or Northern Canada.

The thing is, too, that the above numbers are not really what I thought about in the first place. You see, the truth is, whenever you are not in Svalbard or Northern Canada you are rather faster than the polar bear.

DistanceLatitude

Graphic showing what degrees of latitude are. Source: Jan Holmgård.

If you are standing at the equator you will, in fact, move at a mind-boggling 1670 km/h. Don’t believe me? Sorry, that is relativity for you. Click through to what must be NASA’s weirdest webpage here. On that site you get a simple mathematical relation to calculate how fast you are spinning around the Earth’s axis, too – if you can decipher the letters in the midst of that psychedelic background.

In the middle of Germany at 50 degrees northern latitude you move at 1073 km/h, which is not that far removed from the speed of sound. That polar bear at Svalbard will slug around at 347 km/h.

Truth be told, you should forget Usain Bolt, anyway. Just stay where you are and that polar bear will keep moving slower than you. It is safest this way.


11692568_786977204756800_3044591635946855095_nAlexander is a physicist, teacher and science communicator who is currently working at the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education at Andøya Space Center in Norway. Even though, in his case, work and play do overlap, the content on this webpage is entirely private. You can follow Alexander on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s