Glossary of Conceptual Physics Vocabulary

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Absolute zero-
lowest possible temperature that any substance can have; the temp. at which the atoms of a substance have their minimum kinestic energy. The temp. of absolute zero is -273.15 C which is -459.7 F and 0 K
Avogadro’s Number
- 6.02 * 10 ^23 molecules (anything) (1 mol)
- smallest particle of an element
any part of a standing wave with max. displacement and max energy
Angle of refraction-
between refracted ray and the normal to the surface at which its refracted
Angle of reflection-
“ “ between the reflected ray and the normal to the surface of reflection
Angle of Incidence
- Angle between the incidence ray and the normal to the surface it encounters
unit of electric current
Alternating Current:
Electric current that rapidly reverses in direction. The electric charges vibrate about relatively fixed positions usually at the rate of 60 hertz
Alpha Particle
– two neutrons two protons ejected by a nucleus
Additive Primary Colors:
Three colors of light red blue and green that when added in certain proportions will produce any color of the spectrum
study of the properties of sound, especially its transmission
Absorption Spectrum-
Continuous spectrum like that gerenated by white light, interrupted by dark lines or bamds tat result from the absorption of light of certain frequencies by a substance through which the light passes.
material through which heat can be transferred material usually a metal through which electric charge can flow good conductors of heat are generally good electric charge conductors
in heat energy transfer from particle to particle within certain materials or from one material to another when the two are in DIRECT CONTACT in electricity the flow electric charge through a conductor
change of phase of a gas into a liquid,
concave mirror-
mirror that curves inward like a cave
compression (in sound)-
in sound the region of increased pressure in a longitudinal wave
chemical substance made of atoms of two or more different elements combined in a fixed position
circuit breaker-
device in an electric circuit that breaks the circuit when the current gets high enough to risk causing a fire
any complete path along which electric charge can flow
charging by induction-
redistribution of electric charges in and on objects cause by the electrical influence of a charged object close by but not in contact
charging by contact-
transfer of electric charge between objects by rubbing or simple touching
chain reaction-
self sustaining reaction that, once started steadily provides the energy and matter necessary to continue the reaction
Celsius scale-
temperature scale that assigns 0 to the melt freeze point for water and 100 to the boil-condense point of water at standard pressure
unit of heat. One calorie is the heat required to raise the temp of one gram of water 1 celsius degree. Once calorie with a capital C is equal to one thousand calories and is the unit used in describing the energy available from food also kilocalorie
change from liquid to gas occurring beneath the surface of the liquid; rapid vaporization. The liquid loses energy the gas gains it
beta particle-
electron emitted during radioactive decay of certain nuclei
Doppler effect-
change in frequency of a wave of sound or light due to the motion of the source or the receiver. Red shift blue shift
direct current
-electric current whose flow of charge is always in one direction
bending of light that passes around an obstacle or through a narrow slit, causing the light to spread and to produce light and dark fringes
isotope of hydrogen whose atom has a proton a neutron and an electron the common isotope of hydrogen has only a proton and an electron therefore deuterium has more mass
destructive interference-
combination of waves so that crest parts of one wave overlap trough parts of another, resulting in a wave of decreased amplitude
de Broglie matter waves-
all particles have wave properties
particle accelerator that imparts high energy to charged particals such as protons, deuterons and helium ions
critical mass-
minimum mass of fissionable material in a nuclear reactions that will sustain a chain reaction
part of a wave where the disturbance is highest at greates
convex mirror-
mirror that curves outward
means of heat transfer by movement of heated substances itself such as by currents in a fluid.
constructive interference-
combination of waves so that two or more waves overlap to produce a reslting wave of increased amplitude (interference)
- means of heat transfer by movement of heated substances itself such as by currents in a fluid.
electric charge-
fundamental electrical property to which the mutual attractions of repulsions between electrons or protons is attributed
electric current-
flow of electric charges that transports energy from one place to another, Measured in ameperes, where one ampere is the flow of 6.25 10^18 electrons per second
electric field-
force filed that fills the space around every electric charge or group of charges
electric potential energy
- energy a charge has due to its locations in an electric field
electrical force-
force that one charge exerts on another. When the charges are the same sgn, they repel when the charges are opposite they attract
electrical resistance-
resistance of a material to the flow of electric charge through it measure in ohms
general term for electrical phenomena much like gravity has to do wit gravitations phenomena or sociology with social phenomena
terminal for example of a battery through which electric current can pass
study of moving electric charge, as opposed to electrostatics
electromagnetic induction-
phenomenon of inducing a voltage in a conductor by changing the magnetic field near the conductor. If the magnetic field within a closed loop changes in any way, a voltage is induced in the loop. Te induction of voltage is actually the result of a more fundamental phenomenon: the induction of an electric field
electromagnetic radiation-
transfer of energy by the rapid oscillations of electromagnetic fields, which travel in the form of waves called electromagnetic waves
electromagnetic spectrum-
range of frequencies over which electromagnetic radiation can be propogated. The lowest frew. Are associated with radio waves, microwaves have a higher freq. and then infrared waves light ultraviolet radiation, X rays, and gamma rays in sequence
electromagnetic wave
any voltage that gives rise to an electric current. A battery or a gerenator is a source of emf.
study of electric charges at rest as opposed to electrodynamics
substance composed of atoms that all have the same atomic number and therefore the same chemical properties
elementary particles-
subatomic particles the basic building blocks of all matter consisting of two classes or particles the quarks and the leptons
change of phase from ;iquid to a gas that takes place at the surface of a liquid the opposite of condensation
process of boosting one or more electrons in an atom or molecule from a lower to a higher energy level. An atom in an excited state will usually decay rapidly to a lower state by the emission of radiations the freq. and energy of emitted radiation are related by E=hf
Fahrenheit scale-
temp scale in common use in the US the number 23 is assigned to the melt freeze point of water, and the number 212 to the boil condense point of water at standard pressure
change in phse from liquid to solid the opposite of melting
the number of vibrations or wave crests per unit of time. HERTZ
device in an electric circuit that breaks the circuit when the current gets high enough to risk causing fire
instrument used to detect electric current
gamma ray-
high frewuency electromagnetic radiation emitted by atomic nuclei
phase of matter beyond the liquid phase wherein molecules fill whatever space is available to them, taking no definite shape
machine that produces electric current, usually by rotating a coil within a stationary magnetic field
allowing charges to move freely along a connection from a conductor to the ground
elements in the same column of the periodic table
time required for half the atoms of a radioactive isotope of an element to decay.
heat of fusion-
amount of energy that must be added to a kilogram of a soild already at its melting point to melt it
heat of vaporization-
amount of energy that must be added to a kilogram of a liquid to vaporize it
the energy fthat flows from one object to another by virtue of a difference in temp. measured in calories or joules
hertz (Hz)-
SI unit of frequency
charging of an object without contact
electromagnetic waves of frequencies lower than the red of visible light
term applied to sound frequencies below 20 hertz the normal lower limit of human hearing
in parallel-
term applied to portions of an electric circuit that are connected at two points and provide alternative paths for the current between those two points
in series
- term applied to portions of an electric circuit tat are conneceted in a row so that the current that goes through one must go through all of them
- material that is a porr conductor of hear that is a poor conductor of electricity
atom with a net charge which is due to the loss or gain of electrons a positive ion has a net
process of adding or reoving electrons to or from the atomic nucleus
atoms where nuclei have the same numer of protons but different amount of neutrons
Kelvin scale-
temp scale, measured in kelvins K, whose zero is the temp at which it is impossible to extract any more internal energy from a material 0K= -273.15 C there are no negative temp. on the K scale
amount of energy consumed in 1 hour at the rate of 1 kilowatt
optical instrument that produces a beam of coherent light that is light with all wves of the same frequency phase and direction. The word is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum
phase of matter between the solid and gaseous phases in which the matter possesses a definite colume but no definite shape it takes on the shape of its container
longitudinal wave -
wave in which the individual particles of a medium vibrate back and forth in the direction in which the wave travels (sound)
any pbject that has magnetic properties that is the ability to attract objects made of iron or oter magnetic substances
magnetic domain
microscopic cluster of atoms with their magnetic fields aligned
magnetic field-
region of magnetic influence around a magnetic pole or a moving charged particle
magnetic force
- between magnets, it is the attraction of unlike magnetic poles for each other and the repulsion between like magnetic poles. Between a magnetic field, and a moving charged particle, it is a deflecting force due to the motion of the particle: The deflecting force is perpendicular to the magnetic field line sna dhte firection of motion. This force is greatest when the charged particle moves perpendicular to the field lines and is smallest when it moves parallel to the field lines
magnetic pole-
one of the regions on a magnet that produces magnetic forces
change in phase from solid to liquid the
electromagnetic waves with grequencies greater than radio waves buyt less than infrared waves
substnaces mixed together without combining chemically
two or more atoms of the same or different elemtns bonded to form a larger particle
natural frequency
frequency at which an elastic object naturally tends to bibrate if it is disturbed and the disturbing force is required
electrically neutral particle that is one of the two kinds of nucleons that compose an atomic nucleus
any part of a standing wave that remains stationary a region of minimal or zero energy
scientifically speaking, sound that sorresponds to an irregular vibration of the eardrum produced by some irregular vibration which appears on an oscilloscope as an irregular pattern
at right angles to or perpendicular to a normal force acts at right angles to the surface on which it acts in optics, a normla defines the line perpendicular to a surface about which angles of light rays are measured
nuclear fission
splitting of an atomic nucleus particularly that od a heavy element such as uranium 235 into two ligher elements accompanied by the relase of much energy
nuclear force
attractice force within a nucleus that holds neutrons and protons toegether, part of the nuvles force is called the strong interaction the strong interaction is an attractice force that acts between protons and neutrons and mesons however it acts only over very short distances the weak interaction is the nuclear force responsible for beta emisson
nuclear fusion
combining of nuclei of light atoms such as hydrogen into heavier nuclei accompanied by the relase of much energy
principal building block of the nucleus a neutron or a proton the collectice name for either or both
poisitviely charged cneter of an atom which contains protons and neutrons and has almost all the mass of the entire atoms byt only a tiny fraction of volume
SI unit of electrical resistance
term applied to material that absorb light withotu reemission and consequently do not allow light through them
same as vibration a repeating to and fro motion about an equilibrium position both oscillation and vibration refer to periodic motion that is mption that repeats
parallel circuit
electric circuit with two or more devices connected in such a way that the same voltage acts across each one and ay single one completes the circuit independetly of the others
period table
chart that lists elements by atomic number and by electron arrangements so that elements with similar chemical properties are in the same column
one of the four main forms of matter solid liquid gas and plasma often called state
photoelectric effect
ejection of electrons from certain metals when exposed to certain frequencies of light
term that refers to our subjective impression about the highness or the lowness of a tone, whoch is related to the frequency of the tone a high vibrating source produces a sound of high pitch...low produces low
Planck's Constant
fundamental constant of quantum theory that determines the scale of the small scale world plancks constant multiplied by the frequency of radiation gives the energy of a photon of that radiation
mass number
the number of nucleons
atomic mass
the average of the masses of the exisintg istopes of an element
atomic number
number of protons
energy transmitted by electromagnetic waves the particles given off by radioactive atoms such as uranium do not confuse radionat with radioactivity
plane mirror
flat surfaced mirror
alighning of vibrations in a transverse wave, usually by filtering out waves of other directions
potential difference
difference in electric potential between two points free charge flows when there is a differen and will continue until both points reach a common potential
triangular solid of a transparent material such as glass that separates incident light by refraction into its component colors. These componenet colors are oftne called the spectrum
positiviely charged particle that is one of the two kinds of nucleons in the nuckeus of an atom
called a photon
quantum mechanics
concerned witht he atomic microworld based on wave functions and probabilities introduced by max planck and developed by heisenberg erwin schrodinger and others
quantum theory
theory that describes the microworld where many quantities are granular rather than continuous and where particles of light and particles of matter exhibit wave as well as particle properties
radiant energy
any energy including heat light and x rays that is trasnmitted by radiation it occurs in the form of electromagnetic waves
radio waves
electromagnetic waves of the longest frequency
term applied to an atom having an unstable nuclues that can spontaneously emit a particle and become the nucleus of an other elemt
proces of the atomic nucleus that results in the emission of energetic particles
use of radiation as a treatment to kill cancer cells
region of reduced pressure in a longitudianl wave
reutrn of light rays from a surface in sich a way that the angle at whcih a given ray is tretuend is equal to the angle at whic it strikes the surface
bending of an oblique ray of light when it passes from one transparent medium to another difference i speed of light in the transparent
device in an electric circiot designed to resist the flow of charge
Schrodinger's wave equation
interprets the wave nature of material particles in terms of probabiltiy wave amplitudes
device made of material not only with properties that fall between a conductor and an insulator but with resitance that changes abruptly when other conditions change, sich as temperature voltage and electric of magnetic field
series circuit
elecrtirc circuit with devices connected in sich a way that the electric current trough each ot them is the same
shock wave
cone shaped wave prodiced nu am object moving at supersonic speed through a fliod
phase of matter characterized bu definite shape and volume
longitudinal wave phenomenon that consists of successive compressions and rarefaction of the medium through which the wave travels
sound barrier
the pile up of sound waves in front of an aircraft approaching or reaching the speed of sound, believed in the early days of jet aircraft to create a barried of soujn that a plane would have to break throuhg in order to go faster than the speed of sound the sound barried does not exist (waves still pile up but no barrier to stop it)
standing wave
stationary wave pattern formed in a medium when two sets of identical waves pass through the medium in opposite directions the wave appears not to be traveling
strong force
force that attracts nucleons to each other within the nucleus a force that is very strong at close distancesbut decreases rapidly as the distance increatses strong interaction
direct conversion of a substance from the solid to the capor phase or vice cersa without passing through the liquid phase
material that is a perfect conductor with zero resistance to the flow of electric charge
traveling faster than the speed of sound
measure of the average translation kinestic energy per molecule of a substance measure in degrees clesius or farenheit or in kelvins
study of heat and its transformation to mechanical energy,
device used to meausre temperature usually in degrees celsius F or K
device for increasing or decreasing or decreasing voltage
conversion of an atomic nucleus of one element into an atoamic nucleus of another element through a loss or gain the number of protons
term applied to materials that allow lght to pass through them in straight lines
transuranic element
elemtn with an atomic number above 92 which is the atomic number of uranium all MAN MADE AFTER
transverse wave
wave with vibration at right angles to the direction the wave is traveling light consists of transverse waves
unstable radioactive isotop of hydrogen whose atom has a proton two neutrons and an electron
one of the places in a wave where the wave is lowest or the distribance is greatest in the opposite direction from a crest.
term applied to sound frequencies above 20,000 hertz the normal upper limit of human hearing
electromagnetic waves of frequencies higher than those of violet light
uncertainty principle
is not possible to meausre exactly both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time nor the energy and the time associated with a particle simultaneously
visible light
part of the lectromagnetic spectrum that the humjan eye can see
SI unit of electric potential
electrical pressure or a measure of electrical ptenotail difference
voltage source
device such as dry cell battery or generator provides a potenital difference
SI unite of power one watt is expended when one joule of work is done in one second
a wiggle in space and time a REGULAR DISTURBANCE that repeats regularly in sace and time and that is trasmitted progressively from on place to the next with no net transport of matter
wave speed
distance between successive crests troughs or identical parts of a wave
weak force
also called weak interaction the force within a nucleus that ALLOWS RADIOACTIVITY
white light
light such as sunlight that is a combination of all the colors under white light white objects appear white and colored objects appear in their individual colors
X ray
electromagnetic radiation higher in frequency than ultraviolet emitted by atoms when the innermost orbital electrson undergo excitation

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