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scalar, quantity or number possessing only sign and magnitude, e.g., the real numbers (see number), in contrast to vectors and tensors; scalars obey the rules of elementary algebra. Many physical quantities have scalar values, e.g., length, area, mass, energy, and electric charge. Such quantities as velocity, force, momentum, and spin are vectors and follow different algebraic rules.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2004.

Licensed from Columbia University Press

Licensed from Columbia University Press

A scalar is a variable that only has magnitude, e.g. a speed of 40 km/h. Compare it with vector, a quantity comprising both magnitude and direction, e.g. a velocity of 40km/h north.## See also

- Scalar (mathematics), a quantity which is independent of viewpoint, a non-tensor
- Scalar (physics), the same as the notion of scalar in differential geometry
- Scalar (computing), an atomic quantity that can hold only one value at a time

- Scalar field
- Scalar multiplication
- Inner product space
- Scalar product, also known as the dot product
- Pseudoscalar
- Scalar processor
- Pterophyllum scalare (Lichtenstein, 1823), a species of freshwater angelfish

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Last updated on Monday September 01, 2008 at 00:10:16 PDT (GMT -0700)

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