Subject: physics
From: Jonathan Higa
Date: 10/2/1996 12:57 AM
To: SWAT Kats List

I laughed when I heard "speed of heat" the first time.  Well, since we can
rule out the interpretation as "speed of light," we can try to interpret it
as some measure of transfer of kinetic energy via molecular collisions.
Unfortunately, that doesn't have a fixed speed.  Relative temperature
changes depend, for example, on the heat capacity of the substances
involved.  Or if you want a more statistical-mechanical approach, even the
average molecular speed of a gas depends on its molecular mass.  "Speed of
heat" is surely little more than a toony term.

Razor's right about the concept of a laser.  The principle involved is the
same one applied in fluorescent bulbs -- visible photon emission by the
quantized release of energy from excited atoms.  That is, you hit a specific
substance with energy and it glows a certain color.  In fluorescent lights,
the energy source is merely electrical.  I'm asking around, not well versed
in lasers myself, for details on modern laser components.

Eh, enough science already.  Back to the show!

-- Jonathan Higa