In physics, velocity, which is the rate of change of position (or speed in a particular direction), is a vector. Imagine that you just hit a ground ball on the baseball diamond and you’re running along the first-base line, or the **s** vector, 90 feet at a 45-degree angle to the positive *x*-axis. But as you run, it occurs to you to ask, “Will my velocity enable me to evade the first baseman?” A good question, because the ball is on its way from the shortstop.

Whipping out your calculator, you figure that you need 3.0 seconds to reach first base from home plate; so what’s your velocity? To find your velocity, you quickly divide the **s** vector by the time it takes to reach first base:

This expression represents a displacement vector divided by a time, and time is just a scalar. The result must be a vector, too. And it is: velocity, or **v**:

Your velocity is 30 feet/second at 45 degrees, and it’s a vector, **v**.

Dividing a vector by a scalar gives you a vector with potentially different units and the same direction.

In this case, you see that dividing a displacement vector, **s**, by a time gives you a velocity vector, **v**. It has the same magnitude as when you divided a distance by a time, but now you see a direction associated with it as well, because the displacement, **s**, is a vector.