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Physics: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
How Quantum Physics Explains the Invisible...
This overview of the different aspects of quantum physics is intended to provide some perspective to those new to the subject, so that they can further explore the wonders inherent in this miraculous realm.
The Definition of Density
Density is a key concept in analyzing how materials interact in fluid mechanics, weather, geology, material sciences, engineering, and other fields of physics.
How Physicists Define Heat
definition of heat energy. Physics.
Major Laws of Physics That Explain the Universe
Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature. If you want to know what some of the most important and useful of those laws of physics are, this is where you can find out.
How to Define Energy
definition of energy. Physics.
The 6 Simple Machines and How They Work
There are six kinds of simple machines, with few or none moving parts. Learn about how these 6 machines are used in your daily lives!
What You Should Know About Physics
A brief description of the science of physics.
What’s a Photon?
A description of the photon theory of light and what it means, as well as how it developed and its bizarre implications
Newton's Law of Gravity
An introduction to the basic principles of the law of gravity, as developed by Newton and revised over the years. This provides the foundation for any significant work in understanding gravity, including its application to planetary motion.
What is Quantum Entanglement?
One of the key principles in quantum physics is the idea of quantum entanglement, where multiple objects exist in states that are linked together
What Is Matter?
definition of matter. Physics.
How Electromagnetic Induction Creates Current
definition of electromagnetic induction
Does Time Really Exist?
Some people wonder if time really exists. I explain what we know about time.
Surface Tension
An explanation of surface tension, along with some basic experiments and tricks that make use of the phenomenon.
10 Interesting and Weird Physics Ideas
There are a lot of interesting ideas in physics, especially in modern physics. Matter exists as a state
The Different Fields Physicists Study
An overview of the various fields of physics.
What to Know About Thermodynamics
Information on the field of thermodynamics, from the basics of temperature to kinetic theory to the laws of thermodynamics.
How Do You Define Velocity?
Definition of velocity. Physics.
How Kirchhoff’s Laws Describe Circuits
Kirchhoff's Laws are some of the most fundamental and important rules in electronics. Kirchhoff's Current Law defines how current is distributed in an electronic circuit, while Kirchhoff's Voltage Lawdefines the distribution of voltage.
Introduction to Newton's Laws of Motion
A basic introduction to Newton's Three Laws of Motion. Each law of motion has important physical and mathematical interpretations needed to analyze most any problem involving the motion of physical objects
Does the Doppler Effect Happen in Light?
Learn about the manifestation of the Doppler effect from a moving light source and how the observed light exhibits either a red shift or blue shift to the wavelength and frequency.
Movies that don't skimp on the science
A list of films which prominently feature physics or physicists, generally in an inspiring (and entertaining) way.
What Is String Theory?
String theory is an emerging theory that attempts to explain physics in term of a multi-dimensional universe, where the dimensions of space and time that we observe is a result of vibrations of microscopic energy strings in other dimensions.
The Compton Effect
The Compton effect, where the energy of a photon decreased upon interaction with matter, is another experiment that demonstrated the particle properties of electromagnetic radiation.
What Are the Fundamental Forces of Physics?
An overview of the four fundamental forces of physics and why they are so fundamental.
What’s the Definition of Force in Physics?
Definition of force, how force applies to physics
What's the Scientific Definition of Temperature?
definition of temperature. Physics.
Laws of Thermodynamics
An introduction to the laws of thermodynamics and how they are used to solve problems involving heat or thermal energy transfer.
First Law of Thermodynamics
An introduction to the laws of thermodynamics and how they are used to solve problems involving heat or thermal energy transfer. Page 3.
What Is Entropy?
definition of entropy. Physics.
What Is the Real Big Bang Theory?
One of the most impressive theories of the 20th century, the Big Bang explains the origins of the universe ... at least up to a point. Find out what the theory actually says, what it does not say, and what it may or may not say.
What is a Transistor?
Understand how a transistor functions, and how its design incorporates into an overall electronic circuit.
Perfectly Inelastic Collision
definition of perfectly inelastic collision
Einstein's Theory of Relativity
An overview of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Learn about special relativity & general relativity, including the Lorentz transformations that make them possible.
What is Schrodinger's Cat?
In 1935, Erwin Schrodinger developed a thought experiment which illuminated some of the problems with extending the microscopic concepts of quantum physics into the macroscopic realm. The thought experiment has been used in the years since to highlight the key concepts of quantum physics, ranging from the role of the observer to the meaning of the wave function.
Wave Particle Duality
We explore wave particle duality: the particle properties of waves and the wave particles of particles. What do these strange properties mean? How can we use them to understand physics?
What Is Voltage?
Definition of Voltage. Physics.
What Skills Do You Need to Study Physics?
If someone is interested in physics and wants to pursue it in college and as a career, there are a number of fundamental concepts they must become familiar with.
What Is the Definition of Mass?
Definition of mass. Physics.
5 Great Unsolved Problems in Physics
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Huygens' Principle
We explain Huygens' Principle of wave diffraction, which is applied in many experiments with sound and light.
What Is the Definition of Acceleration?
Definition of acceleration. Physics.
Third Law of Thermodynamics
An introduction to the laws of thermodynamics and how they are used to solve problems involving heat or thermal energy transfer. Page 5.
What is Bell's Theorem?
Bell's Theorem is the theorem in quantum physics which helped solidify the idea that the interactions in quantum physics between entangled particles are instantaneous and non-local in nature.
Can Anything Move Faster Than the Speed of Light?
It's often said that the theory of relativity prohibits anything from moving faster than the speed of light. Is this really true? Find out what relativity really says about the speed of light.
What is Hawking Radiation?
Hawking radiation is an explanation of how radiation can be emitted from a black hole, despite its attractive power, due to quantum effects.
What Is the Visible Light Spectrum?
The visible light spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radiation that we are most familiar with. Here you can learn even more about it!
Second Law of Thermodynamics
An explanation of the second law of thermodynamics, as well as how it relates to the concepts of entropy and energy transfer. Page 4.
Einstein's Theory of General Relativity
Einstein's Theory of General Relativity expands on the initial concepts of relativity to create a geometric framework of spacetime which can be used to explain gravity, something which even Newton couldn't explain. Learn about the concepts of general relativity. Page 4.
What’s the Definition of Electrical...
definition of current. Physics.
The Photoelectric Effect
A description of the photoelectric effect and its significance, which includes crushing the classical wave theory of light, Einstein's first publication, Einstein's only Nobel Prize, and one of the major steps in developing quantum mechanics.
Why Do Stars Burn and What Happens When They Die?
Stars don't last forever. Why do stars burn? What happens when a star dies? How does its collapse manifest?
Adiabatic Process
definition of an adiabatic process
Particle Physics Fundamentals
A brief outline of the types of fundamental particles which are studied in elementary particle physics.
What Is a Quantum Computer?
Quantum physics allows for many wondrous things, but perhaps none will have more impact than quantum computing ... if anyone ever builds a quantum computer that works (for more than a few nanoseconds).
What Are the Physics of a Car Crash?
In physics, the distinction between the concepts of energy and force can be very subtle, but important. Energy is an absolute measure of the system, whereas the force is specifically related to the set-up of the situation.
What is Quantum Levitation (and How Does It...
It has long been a dream of science (or, at least, science fiction) to create machines that could fly and levitate. This can be done with magnets, of course, but takes a great deal of energy. In recent years, the new phenomenon of quantum levitation has given some possible hope that levitation may be more practical than previously believed.
What is Kinetic Energy?
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion, a concept which is used widely in physics to solve problems involving changes in motion.
Young's Double Slit Experiment
Learn about Young's Double Slit experiment, where interference patterns seem to prove the wave theory of light. But there's way more to this simple experiment than meets the eye. We'll explain the original experiment and its quantum mechanical permutations.
What to Know About Potential Energy
Definition of potential energy. Physics.
What Was the Michelson-Morley Experiment?
The Michelson-Morley experiment was a series of experiments that attempted to measure the motion of the Earth relative to the ether. Instead, it measured that the Earth did not move at all relative to the ether, indicating that something was wrong with the scientific idea of the ether in the 1800s.
Absolute Zero
definition of absolute zero. Physics.
Gravitational Fields
Gravitational fields are a method of expressing gravity in terms that make it easy to apply in specific cases. Learn about how gravitational fields, and the equations related to them, are used to solve problems. Page 2.
What Is the De Broglie Hypothesis?
We discuss the De Broglie hypothesis, which proposes that all matter exhibits wave-like properties and relates the observed wavelength of matter to its momentum.
Does Quantum Physics Prove God's Existence?
There are a lot of woo-woo metaphysical arguments which make bold claims, trying to bolster their spiritual claims by applying concepts from quantum physics in ways that are not fully justified. One of the more intriguing arguments is about whether or not the
How Does Heat Transfer?
How does heat transfer? What methods are most or least efficient? What are the effects of heat transfer?
Fundamental Physical Constants Study Table
A list of the fundamental physical constants used in physics problems.
Superconductor
definition of a superconductor. Physics.
How Does Doppler Radar Work?
A description of the physical principle behind Doppler radar.
Understand the Scientific Method
This introduction illuminates the main principles of the scientific method, as well as hypothesis creation and testing procedures that are used in executing the scientific method.
EPR Paradox
Definition of the EPR Paradox. Physics.
What Exactly Is a Black Hole?
A black hole is a curvature of spacetime geometry due to an intense gravitational field. The effects of a black hole are so extreme that even light cannot escape it, thus the name.
There are many different interpretations of...
Over the last century, physicists have developed several interpretations of quantum physics, but no one fully understands why it works ... or how.
Impulse
Definition of impulse. Physics.
Surface Tension Physics Experiments & Tricks
Physics experiments utilizing surface tension. Page 4.
Is Consciousness Related to Quantum Physics?
Is there a relationship between the mysterious phenomenon of human consciousness and the mysterious phenomenon of quantum physics?
What is the Twin Paradox?
Learn about the twin paradox, a famous thought experiment in physics (and science fiction) which demonstrates one of the only ways for time travel
Pressure Inside a Bubble
How to determine the pressure inside a bubble, whether it be a gas-filled soap bubble or a liquid drop. Page 2.
What is Quantum Gravity?
Quantum gravity, or unified field theory, is an attempt to unify Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum physics.
Viscosity
definition of viscosity. Physics.
Hypothesis, Model, Theory & Law
Information on formulating a scientific hypothesis. Here you will also find discussions of models, theories, and laws, as well as the differences between them.
Inertia
Definition of inertia. Physics.
What is Inelastic Collision?
An inelastic collision occurs when the kinetic energy after a collision is different from the original kinetic energy in the collision.
Torque
Definition of torque. Physics.
Introduction to Vector Mathematics
Here you will be introduced to the mathematics necessary for the manipulation of vector quantities, which have both a magnitude and direction. Vectors are used throughout physics, so an understanding of these concepts is important to solve many physics problems.
Using Significant Figures
When measuring physical quantities, scientists have to keep track of their level of precision. This article will discuss how scientists use significant figures to do just that, and how you can use significant figures without error in your work. It also discusses the role of scientific notation in making large and small numbers manageable.
What is a Thermodynamic Process?
What is a thermodynamic process? How can it be used to analyze the energy within a system? These and more questions are answered here.
Isothermal Process
definition of an isothermal process
Quantum Locking
Definition of Quantum Locking. Physics.
How a Lever Works
A lever is a rigid beam pivoting around a fulcrum. After discovering the physics at work, Archimedes said he could move the earth with it. Find out how.
Oscillation
Definition of oscillation. Physics.
Zeroeth Law of Thermodynamics
An explanation of the zeroeth law of thermodynamics, which is considered by many to be the most fundamental of the thermodynamics laws, making the measurement of temperature possible. Page 2.
Nuclear Fission
Definition of nuclear fission. Physics.
The life and work of cosmologist Stephen Hawking
Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is one of the most popular and respected modern physicists, a bestselling author and a popular Simpsons guest.
What is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is one of the cornerstones of quantum physics, but it is often not deeply understood by those who have not carefully studied it.
What is Unified Field Theory?
Learn the definition of unified field theory, or grand unified theory--a term coined by Albert Einstein. Learn this and other physics terms.
Power
Definition of power. Physics.
Sublimation
definition of sublimation. Physics.
Physics Errors in The Secret
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Isobaric Process
definition of an isobaric process
Density of Common Substances
Find out the density of common substances.
Lorentz Transformations
Learn about Lorentz transformations and how they are applied to special relativity to produce intriguing results with regards to length contraction, relativistic mass & energy, and even time dilations. Page 3.
Moment of Inertia Formulas
Formulas commonly used for calculating the moment of inertia for different objects.
Time dilation
The effects of time dilation are used often in science fiction stories, dating back to at least the 1930's.
Who Was Albert Einstein? Facts about his life...
A brief overview of Albert Einstein's life and work, as well as other information surrounding the popular scientific figure.
What Are Boltzmann Brains?
If the laws of thermodynamics are considered at their most fundamental level, what sort of consciousness would be most likely to exist? The curious result is a bizarre concept called a Boltzmann brain.
Bose-Einstein condensates form when bosons are...
Definition of the Bose-Einstein condensate.
Interference, Diffraction & the Principle...
The principle of superposition governs how waves interact, resulting in interference and diffraction. Learn about constructive and destructive interference, as well as manifestations of interference and diffraction.
Quark
Read about the definition of quark as well as the meaning of an antiquark and their importance in the world of physics.
What is the Many Worlds Interpretation of...
One of the most intriguing concepts in physics is the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics, which proposes that each possible outcome for any event takes place in an ever-branching series of realities.
Why Do We Study Physics, Anyway?
Why should you study physics? What is the use of a physics education? If you aren't going to become a physicist, you may have questions such as these ... but there are good reasons for everyone to study physics.
What is Loop Quantum Gravity?
Loop quantum gravity explains the universe in terms of tangles in spacetime.
What’s a Neutron?
a subatomic particle contained in the atomic nucleus. It has no net electric charge, unlike the proton's positive electric charge.
Interesting and Useful Physics Blogs
Some scientists and commentators have taken to the blogosphere to write blogs about physics. Here is a list of some of the most prominent physics blogs.
Isochoric Process
definition of an isochoric process
Moment of Inertia
Definition of moment of inertia. Physics.
Electromagnetic Spectrum of Light
The electromagnetic spectrum of light spans from radio waves to gamma rays, including that band of colors that we're most familiar with: visible light.
Cathode Ray
A cathode ray is a beam of electrons that travel from the negatively charged to positively charged end of a vacuum tube, across a voltage difference.
Mathematical Properties of Waves
Waves have certain unique mathematical properties, which require some specific methods of analysis. Here you'll learn everything you need about amplitude, frequency, wavelength and other wave properties.
Wormhole
definition of a wormhole. Physics.
Blackbody Radiation
Research in blackbody radiation created a major dilemma for classical physics. The problem was resolved by Max Planck in 1900 by introducing the concepts which laid the foundation for all of quantum mechanics.
International System of Measurement
This introduction to the SI units provides a foundation for the units that are used to quantify the physical qualities of the universe.
Do You Know the Definition of Plasma?
Definition of plasma. Physics.
Vector
Definition of a vector. Physics.
Dimensional Analysis: Know Your Units
Dimensional analysis is a process by which you can use the units of certain values to help figure out how to achieve the solution you need. Learn how to use dimensional analysis to help you solve physics problems.
Gravitational Potential Energy
Gravitational potential energy is a useful concept in determining the end result of motion within a gravitational field. Page 3.
Photoelectric Effect Explained
A description of the photoelectric effect and its significance, including an explanation on how it catapulted Einstein into prominence. Page 2.
Dark Matter
Definition of dark matter. Physics.
How Does Dry Ice Create Smoke?
A description of the physics of dry ice and how it is used to create smoke and fog.
Proton
Definition of a proton. Physics.
Galileo Galilei - Biographical Profile
Galileo Galilei is considered by many to be the father of experimental science. His work laid the foundation for modern physics by defining physical properties in coherent mathematical terms, and establishing principles which Newton would later use to create a coherent theoretical framework for classical physics.
Vaporization
definition of vaporization. Physics.
What Is the Ice Diet (and Does It Work?)
Does the Ice Diet work? Find out the reasons why the ice diet, which is based on calories burned by warming water, doesn't actually work the way so many think it should.
Calculating Torque
Torque is one of the fundamental concepts in understanding rotational motion. Learn everything you need to know to get started applying it to solve physics problems.
Conduction
definition of conduction. Physics.
Experimental Surface Tension Values
The values of surface tension for various liquids, as determined by experimental research in the laboratory. Page 5.
Steady State Theory
Definition of Steady State Theory
Nuclear Fusion
Definition of nuclear fusion. Physics.
What Do Physicists Mean by Parallel Universes?
Physicists often talk about parallel universes, but what exactly does this mean? Are there different types of parallel universes? What are they?
brane
Definition of a brane. Physics.
What Is Inflation Theory?
Inflation theory is the idea in cosmology that in the very early stages after the universe's creation it underwent a rapid expansion, the effects of which can still be seen in the universe today.
Spectroscopy
Definition of spectroscopy. Physics.
11 Books about Albert Einstein & Relativity
A list of diverse books that focus on Albert Einstein's life and work.
What is Elastic Collision?
An elastic collision occurs when the total kinetic energy after the collision is the same as the kinetic energy before the collision.
What Is Cosmology?
Cosmology is the discipline of physics that involves the study of the origins, history, and evolution of the universe and the objects within it.
Earliest physics theories date back to the...
A brief overview of the physical sciences as discovered and practiced by the ancient Greeks.
Grand Ideas of Science
In his 2007 book, Why Science? , scientist & author James Trefil concludes with a list of "Grand Ideas"
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