# Definition:Speed of Light/Mistake

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## Source Work

1986: David Wells: *Curious and Interesting Numbers*:

- The Dictionary
- $2^{86243} - 1$

## Mistake

*... for example, the speed of light, $299796$ kilometres per second, is written as $10^8 \times 2.99796$ kilometres per second.*

## Correction

The correct number is $299 \, 792 \, 458 \text { m s}^{-1}$, which, approximated to the nearest whole number of kilometres per second, works out as $299 \, 792$.

The paragraph on $2^{86243}$ has been edited down in *Curious and Interesting Numbers, 2nd ed.* of $1997$, and the commentary on how numbers are stored in computers, including this attempt at explaining the nature of scientific notation, has been removed.

## Sources

- 1986: David Wells:
*Curious and Interesting Numbers*... (previous) ... (next): $2^{86243} - 1$