Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Velocity inheritance

I previously nominated positional inheritance as the most common kind of inheritance. The second-most common kind is probably velocity inheritance. The term "Velocity inheritance" refers to the way in which entities that split tend to inherit their parent's velocity. The offspring pieces tend to inherit the velocity of their parents.

Turbulence illustrates velocity inheritance fairly clearly. Or think of the way the targets break up in clay pigeon shooting.

Velocity inheritance is quite a lot like positional inheritance - but there are some differences:

Positional inheritance is always high-fidelity. However, the fidelity of velocity inheritance breaks down considerably when the particles involved become very small. In particular if the offspring particles are neutrinos or photons, velocity inheritance is not very high fidelity. You can also see poor velocity inheritance if you smash small objects into much larger ones at enormous speeds.

Some may find that velocity inheritance is easier to understand than positional inheritance. Velocity is more obviously a property of objects that is copied when the divide. Others find it more confusing - and get caught up in (irrelevant) concerns about relativity and frames of reference.

Other "simple" properties are inherited too when entities split - mass, momentum, charge, etc. The inheritance is not not always which such high fidelity as is seen in position or velocity inheritance.

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