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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.
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.
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.
What You Should Know About Physics
A brief description of the science of 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’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 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 Matter?
definition of matter. Physics.
How Electromagnetic Induction Creates Current
definition of electromagnetic induction
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.
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.
The Different Fields Physicists Study
An overview of the various fields of 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.
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.
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 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.
What's the Scientific Definition of Temperature?
definition of temperature. Physics.
Fundamental Physical Constants Study Table
A list of the fundamental physical constants used in physics problems.
10 Interesting and Weird Physics Ideas
There are a lot of interesting ideas in physics, especially in modern physics. Matter exists as a state
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 to Know About Thermodynamics
Information on the field of thermodynamics, from the basics of temperature to kinetic theory to the laws of thermodynamics.
Huygens' Principle
We explain Huygens' Principle of wave diffraction, which is applied in many experiments with sound and light.
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’s the Definition of Force in Physics?
Definition of force, how force applies to physics
What Are the Fundamental Forces of Physics?
An overview of the four fundamental forces of physics and why they are so fundamental.
What Is Voltage?
Definition of Voltage. Physics.
How Do You Define Velocity?
Definition of velocity. Physics.
What Is Entropy?
definition of entropy. Physics.
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.
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 a Transistor?
Understand how a transistor functions, and how its design incorporates into an overall electronic circuit.
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?
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.
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 the Definition of Mass?
Definition of mass. 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!
What’s the Definition of Electrical...
definition of current. Physics.
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.
Adiabatic Process
definition of an adiabatic process
Perfectly Inelastic Collision
definition of perfectly inelastic collision
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.
Laws of Thermodynamics
An introduction to the laws of thermodynamics and how they are used to solve problems involving heat or thermal energy transfer.
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.
Superconductor
definition of a superconductor. 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).
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.
5 Great Unsolved Problems in Physics
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Absolute Zero
definition of absolute zero. Physics.
How Does Doppler Radar Work?
A description of the physical principle behind Doppler radar.
Oscillation
Definition of oscillation. 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 the Definition of Acceleration?
Definition of acceleration. Physics.
Particle Physics Fundamentals
A brief outline of the types of fundamental particles which are studied in elementary particle physics.
Moment of Inertia
Definition of moment of inertia. Physics.
Bose-Einstein condensates form when bosons are...
Definition of the Bose-Einstein condensate.
How Does Heat Transfer?
How does heat transfer? What methods are most or least efficient? What are the effects of heat transfer?
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.
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.
What is Quantum Gravity?
Quantum gravity, or unified field theory, is an attempt to unify Einstein's theory of general relativity with quantum physics.
Isothermal Process
definition of an isothermal process
Viscosity
definition of viscosity. Physics.
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.
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.
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 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 to Know About Potential Energy
Definition of potential energy. 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.
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.
Quantum Locking
Definition of Quantum Locking. Physics.
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 Inelastic Collision?
An inelastic collision occurs when the kinetic energy after a collision is different from the original kinetic energy in the collision.
Power
Definition of power. Physics.
Moment of Inertia Formulas
Formulas commonly used for calculating the moment of inertia for different objects.
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.
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.
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.
Twist It: The Meaning of Torque
Torque is a term in physics that describes how a force causes a change in rotational motion.
Inertia
Definition of inertia. Physics.
Impulse
Definition of impulse. 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 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.
Under (constant) pressure: understanding...
definition of an isobaric process
Meissner Effect
Definition of the Meissner Effect
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.
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.
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.
Surface Tension Physics Experiments & Tricks
Physics experiments utilizing surface tension. Page 4.
Wormhole
definition of a wormhole. Physics.
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.
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.
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.
Isochoric Process
definition of an isochoric process
Density of Common Substances
Find out the density of common substances.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nuclear Fission
Definition of nuclear fission. Physics.
Do You Know the Definition of Plasma?
Definition of plasma. Physics.
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.
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.
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.
Steady State Theory
Definition of Steady State Theory
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.
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.
Photoelectric Effect Explained
A description of the photoelectric effect and its significance, including an explanation on how it catapulted Einstein into prominence. Page 2.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is Loop Quantum Gravity?
Loop quantum gravity explains the universe in terms of tangles in spacetime.
Grand Ideas of Science
In his 2007 book, Why Science? , scientist & author James Trefil concludes with a list of "Grand Ideas"
Popular Physics Myths
A list of popular physics myths.
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.
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?
Sublimation
definition of sublimation. 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.
Spectroscopy
Definition of spectroscopy. Physics.
Unknown dark matter makes up a fifth of our...
Definition of dark matter. Physics.
What Are Clarke's Laws?
Clarke's Laws are a series of rules proposed by science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke as a means of evaluating scientific concepts.
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.
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.
Proton
Definition of a proton. 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.
Experimental Surface Tension Values
The values of surface tension for various liquids, as determined by experimental research in the laboratory. Page 5.
Physics Errors in The Secret
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11 Books about Albert Einstein & Relativity
A list of diverse books that focus on Albert Einstein's life and work.
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.
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.
Condensation
definition of condensation. Physics.
Round and Round We Go: The Physics of...
The most basic physics concepts involve objects moving in straight lines, and then moving in arcs and other two-dimensional motion, but these introductory physics concepts quickly evolve into a full understanding of motion of rotating objects.
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

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