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Physics: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Quantum Physics Overview
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.
Major Laws of Physics
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.
What You Should Know About Physics
A brief description of the science of physics.
What is a Photon?
A description of the photon theory of light and what it means, as well as how it developed and its bizarre implications
Six Kinds of Simple Machines
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!
Energy
definition of energy. Physics.
Kirchhoff's Laws - Current Law & Voltage Law
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.
Electromagnetic Induction
definition of electromagnetic induction
10 Interesting and Weird Physics Theories
There are a lot of interesting theories in physics. Matter exists as a state of energy, while waves of
Heat Energy
definition of heat energy. Physics.
What is Density?
Density is a key concept in analyzing how materials interact in fluid mechanics, weather, geology, material sciences, engineering, and other fields of physics.
What is a Transistor?
Understand how a transistor functions, and how its design incorporates into an overall electronic circuit.
Does Time Really Exist?
Some people wonder if time really exists. I explain what we know about time.
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.
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
What are the Fields of Physics?
An overview of the various fields of physics.
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.
Surface Tension
An explanation of surface tension, along with some basic experiments and tricks that make use of the phenomenon.
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 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
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.
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.
What are the Fundamental Forces of Physics?
An overview of the four fundamental forces of physics and why they are so fundamental.
Doppler Effect in Light: Red Shift & Blue Shift
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.
What is the 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.
Entropy
definition of entropy. Physics.
Electrical Current
definition of current. Physics.
Fundamental Physical Constants
A list of the fundamental physical constants used in physics problems.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Matter
definition of matter. Physics.
Force
Definition of force, how force applies to physics
Voltage
Definition of Voltage. 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.
Is Time Travel Possible?
: Is Time Travel Possible? You'd be amazed how often I get questions about strange physics concepts,
Particle Physics Fundamentals
A brief outline of the types of fundamental particles which are studied in elementary particle physics.
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.
Temperature
definition of temperature. Physics.
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.
Adiabatic Process
definition of an adiabatic process
Thermodynamics Overview
Information on the field of thermodynamics, from the basics of temperature to kinetic theory to the laws of thermodynamics.
What is the physics of a car collision?
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.
Velocity
Definition of velocity. Physics.
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.
Viscosity
definition of viscosity. Physics.
Huygens' Principle
We explain Huygens' Principle of wave diffraction, which is applied in many experiments with sound and light.
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!
Five Great Problems in Theoretical Physics
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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.
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.
Physics Errors in The Secret
The popular self-empowerment book The Secret says a lot of interesting things, and some of them are about physics. Unfortunately for the authors, most of the physics claims are just flat wrong ... or, at the very least, misleading.
Introduction to 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.
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.
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.
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.
Does Quantum Physics Prove God's Existence?
: Does Quantum Physics Prove God's Existence? The observer effect in quantum mechanics indicates that
Time dilation
definition of time dilation. 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).
Why Study Physics?
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.
Neutrino
definition of a neutrino. Physics.
Isothermal Process
definition of an isothermal process
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.
Torque
Definition of torque. Physics.
Acceleration
Definition of acceleration. Physics.
Superconductor
definition of a superconductor. Physics.
Plasma
Definition of plasma. Physics.
What 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.
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
Introduction to Heat Transfer - How Does Heat...
How does heat transfer? What methods are most or least efficient? What are the effects of heat transfer?
Speed
Definition of speed. Physics.
Work
Definition of work. Physics.
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.
Power
Definition of power. Physics.
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.
What is Quantum Gravity?
Quantum gravity, or unified field theory, is an attempt to unify Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum physics.
How Does Doppler Radar Work?
A description of the physical principle behind Doppler radar.
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.
Photoelectric Effect Explained
A description of the photoelectric effect and its significance, including an explanation on how it catapulted Einstein into prominence. Page 2.
Moment of Inertia Formulas
Formulas commonly used for calculating the moment of inertia for different objects.
Mass
Definition of mass. Physics.
Neutron
definition of a neutron. 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.
Is Consciousness Related to Quantum Physics?
Is there a relationship between the mysterious phenomenon of human consciousness and the mysterious phenomenon of quantum physics?
EPR Paradox
Definition of the EPR Paradox. 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.
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?
Isobaric Process
definition of an isobaric process
Inertia
Definition of inertia. Physics.
Surface Tension Physics Experiments & Tricks
Physics experiments utilizing surface tension. Page 4.
What to Know About Potential Energy
Definition of potential energy. Physics.
Great (& Realistic) Physics Movies
A list of films which prominently feature physics or physicists, generally in an inspiring (and entertaining) way.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Moment of Inertia
Definition of moment of inertia. Physics.
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.
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.
Interference, Diffraction & the Principle of...
The principle of superposition governs how waves interact, resulting in interference and diffraction. Here you can learn about constructive and destructive interference, as well as manifestations of interference and diffraction.
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.
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.
Oscillation
Definition of oscillation. Physics.
Absolute Zero
definition of absolute zero. Physics.
Albert Einstein - Biographical Profile
A brief overview of Albert Einstein's life and work, as well as other information surrounding the popular scientific figure.
Perfectly Inelastic Collision
definition of perfectly inelastic collision
Quark
Read about the definition of quark as well as the meaning of an antiquark and their importance in the world of physics.
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.
Neil deGrasse Tyson - Biographical Profile
Neil deGrasse Tyson has become known as one of the most popular and prolific science communicators of the early twenty-first century, largely through his role on PBS' popular science series NOVA and his resurrection of Carl Sagan's classic series COSMOS.
Sublimation
definition of sublimation. Physics.
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.
Density of Common Substances
Find out the density of common substances.
How Does Dry Ice Create Smoke?
A description of the physics of dry ice and how it is used to create smoke and fog.
Contact Angle & Capillarity - Liquid in a...
Against the surface of a vertical tube, Capillarity is an effect when liquid in a narrow vertical tube becomes elevated or depressed as a result of the surface tension and pressures involved. Page 3.
Bose-Einstein Condensate
Definition of the Bose-Einstein condensate.
Creating a Mad Scientist Costume
Learn how to create a great mad scientist costume.
Laser
definition of a laser. Physics.
What is Unified Field Theory?
: What is Unified Field Theory? : Albert Einstein coined the term "Unified Field Theory," which describes
What Are the Types of Parallel Universes?
Physicists often talk about parallel universes, but what exactly does this mean? Are there different types of parallel universes? What are they?
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.
The Theoretical Minimum
In THE THEORETICAL MINIMUM, physicist Leonard Susskind's popular internet lectures on what you need to know to move to the next level in physics are collected together for the reader. This math-filled volume provides solid foundations needed to really understand how physicists tackle classical mechanics.
Nuclear Fission
Definition of nuclear fission. Physics.
Impulse
Definition of impulse. Physics.
Dark Matter
Definition of dark matter. 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.
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.
Vector
Definition of a vector. Physics.
Dark Energy
Definition of dark energy. Physics.
Experimental Surface Tension Values
The values of surface tension for various liquids, as determined by experimental research in the laboratory. Page 5.
Isochoric Process
definition of an isochoric process
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. Page 2.
Michio Kaku
Physicist & science popularizer Michio Kaku is a known face from television and voice from radio, where he presents physics concepts to a broad lay audience.
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.
Physics of the Greeks
A description of Aristotle's contributions to physics, or natural philosophy, as it was called at the time. Page 2.
Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND)
A definition of the theory Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), developed by Israeli physicist Mordehai Milgrom. Modified Newtonian Dynamics is an alternative explanation for various observed cosmological problems, such as those currently explained by proposed dark energy and dark matter theories.
What is Loop Quantum Gravity?
Loop quantum gravity explains the universe in terms of tangles in spacetime.
11 Books about Albert Einstein & Relativity
A list of diverse books that focus on Albert Einstein's life and work.
Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is a growing, dynamic field of research involving tiny nanoparticles, which are much smaller in width than a human hair. Here you'll learn the definition of nanotechnology, as well as some of its history.
Gravitational Potential Energy
Gravitational potential energy is a useful concept in determining the end result of motion within a gravitational field. Page 3.
What is the Casimir Effect?
: What is the Casimir Effect? : The Casimir Effect is a result of quantum physics that seems to defy
Popular Physics Myths
A list of popular physics myths.
Spectroscopy
Definition of spectroscopy. Physics.
Free-Body Diagrams: An Introduction
The first step in most physics problems is drawing a free-body diagram. This article will provide you with the necessary information to tackle this process and use it effectively to help in physics problem-solving.
What is the Higgs Field?
What is the Higgs field? It's the theoretical field that supposedly gives fundamental particles their mass. On July 4, 2012, CERN physicists indicated that they may have found experimental evidence of it.
Fundamental Concepts & Controversies of...
An overview of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Learn about special relativity & general relativity, including the Lorentz transformations that make them possible. Page 5.
Wormhole
definition of a wormhole. Physics.
Content of the Universe
A pie chart representing the different types of material that make up the universe. Page 7.
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.

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