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Physics: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What You Should Know About Physics
A brief description of the science of physics.
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 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.
How to Define Energy
definition of 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 Electromagnetic Induction Creates Current
definition of electromagnetic induction
How Physicists Define Heat
definition of heat energy. Physics.
The Different Fields Physicists Study
An overview of the various fields of physics.
What Is Matter?
definition of matter. 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
What to Know About Thermodynamics
Information on the field of thermodynamics, from the basics of temperature to kinetic theory to the laws of thermodynamics.
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!
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 Are the Fundamental Forces of Physics?
An overview of the four fundamental forces of physics and why they are so fundamental.
How Do You Define Velocity?
Definition of velocity. Physics.
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
Surface Tension
An explanation of surface tension, along with some basic experiments and tricks that make use of the phenomenon.
What Is Voltage?
Definition of Voltage. 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's the Scientific Definition of Temperature?
definition of temperature. Physics.
Does Time Really Exist?
Some people wonder if time really exists. I explain what we know about time.
What’s the Definition of Force in Physics?
Definition of force, how force applies to 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.
What’s the Definition of Electrical...
definition of current. Physics.
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.
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 the Definition of Mass?
Definition of mass. 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
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.
What Is the Definition of Acceleration?
Definition of acceleration. Physics.
10 Interesting and Weird Physics Ideas
There are a lot of interesting ideas in physics, especially in modern physics. Matter exists as a state
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.
Sources of Power Production
We use energy, be it kinetic, thermal, or electrical, in every aspect of our lives. Except for the actual movement of our bodies (which is fuelled with food), this energy generally comes from some external source that we have no direct contact with. Here is a list of the various places we get energy in our modern world of industry & technology.
Wave-particle duality: a key, challenging...
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?
5 Great Unsolved Problems in Physics
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Particle Physics Fundamentals
A brief outline of the types of fundamental particles which are studied in elementary particle physics.
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.
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.
Huygens' Principle
We explain Huygens' Principle of wave diffraction, which is applied in many experiments with sound and light.
Density of Common Substances
Find out the density of common substances.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 a Transistor?
Understand how a transistor functions, and how its design incorporates into an overall electronic circuit.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
What Is Entropy?
definition of entropy. Physics.
Superconductor
definition of a superconductor. Physics.
What to Know About Potential Energy
Definition of potential energy. Physics.
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.
Absolute Zero
definition of absolute zero. 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.
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.
Adiabatic Process
definition of an adiabatic process
Using Scientific Notation
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. Page 2.
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 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.
Laws of Thermodynamics
An introduction to the laws of thermodynamics and how they are used to solve problems involving heat or thermal energy transfer.
How Does Heat Transfer?
How does heat transfer? What methods are most or least efficient? What are the effects of heat transfer?
Moment of Inertia
Definition of moment of inertia. 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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
James Clerk Maxwell defined the key relationshi...
The physicist James Clerk Maxwell formulated a series of equations known as Maxwell's equations, which define the relationships of electromagnetism.
Bose-Einstein condensates form when bosons are...
Definition of the Bose-Einstein condensate.
What is Quantum Gravity?
Quantum gravity, or unified field theory, is an attempt to unify Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum physics.
Inertia
Definition of inertia. Physics.
What is a 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.
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
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.
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.
Interferometer
Definition of interferometer. Physics.
Get introduced to basic electronics concepts...
Profile of the field of electronics
Relativity predicts that time sometimes moves...
The effects of time dilation are used often in science fiction stories, dating back to at least the 1930's.
Isothermal Process
definition of an isothermal process
The Doppler Effect for Sound Waves
The Doppler effect takes place when source or observer of waves (generally sound) are moving, creating an alteration in the perceived frequency.
Oscillation
Definition of oscillation. 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.
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.
Fundamental Physical Constants Study Table
A list of the fundamental physical constants used in physics problems.
Nuclear Fission
Definition of nuclear fission. Physics.
Viscosity
definition of viscosity. 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.
Power
Definition of power. 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.
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?
Why are physicists hoping to find a unified...
Learn the definition of unified field theory, or grand unified theory--a term coined by Albert Einstein. Learn this and other physics terms.
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.
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.
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.
Impulse
Definition of impulse. Physics.
Spacetime
definition of spacetime. Physics.
How Does Doppler Radar Work?
A description of the physical principle behind Doppler radar.
Like a gunshot: the physics of motion in a...
Learn the necessary equations and relationship to analyze one-dimensional motion, such as a car driving on a flat road or a free-falling body, especially in the case of a constant acceleration
Twist It: The Meaning of Torque
Torque is a term in physics that describes how a force causes a change in rotational motion.
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.
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.
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.
Quarks: The particles that make up the atomic...
Read about the definition of quark as well as the meaning of an antiquark and their importance in the world of physics.
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.
How Does Dry Ice Create Smoke?
A description of the physics of dry ice and how it is used to create smoke and fog.
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
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.
Quantum physics applied to light yields:...
Learn about quantum optics, the field of physics where the study of individual photons is crucial to understanding the nature of the behavior of electromagnetic waves as a whole.
Hitting it out of the park: physics of...
The equations necessary to analyze motion in a two-dimensional plane.
Vector
Definition of a vector. Physics.
Proton
Definition of a proton. Physics.
Is our world a hallucination caused by...
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.
Under (constant) pressure: understanding...
definition of an isobaric process
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.
Do You Know the Definition of Plasma?
Definition of plasma. Physics.
Electron: don't be so negative about things
definition of electron - electron as a fundamental physics particle
Galileo Galilei: Why is he called the father of...
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.
Meissner Effect
Definition of the Meissner Effect
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.
Unknown dark matter makes up a fifth of our...
Definition of dark matter. Physics.
Surface Tension Physics Experiments & Tricks
Physics experiments utilizing surface tension. Page 4.
brane
Definition of a brane. Physics.
Isochoric Process
definition of an isochoric process
Photoelectric Effect Explained
A description of the photoelectric effect and its significance, including an explanation on how it catapulted Einstein into prominence. Page 2.
Sublimation
definition of sublimation. Physics.
Neutrinos: abundant, invisible particles that...
definition of a neutrino. Physics.
Can physics tell us anything about the...
What is known about the Christmas star, the Star of Bethlehem? Does physics have anything to say about it?
The many states of matter explained.
Learn about the various states of matter and the physical laws that govern them, such as phase transitions.
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?
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 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.
Quantum Locking
Definition of Quantum Locking. Physics.
What Is the Anthropic Principle?
As physicists explore the parameters that control the universe, it's amazing how perfectly the universe seems to allow for life. How can physicists possibly explain this? Learn about the fascinating principle at the heart of scientific understanding of the origins of the universe.
Physics Errors in The Secret
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Loop Quantum Gravity is a controversial...
Loop quantum gravity explains the universe in terms of tangles in spacetime.
Experimental Methods
An overview of how to conduct a scientific experiment.
What Is Momentum?
An explanation of momentum, how it is used and relates to the Second Law of Motion.
Steady State Theory
Definition of Steady State Theory
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.

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