# Basic Science Words

## Terms

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Quantitative
observations that involve measurements and numbers (""My brother is 30cm shorter than my sister,"" is a quantitative observation.)
Chemical Change
a change in the chemical composition of a substance to produce a new material with new properties (An example of a chemical change is wood turning to ash and smoke when it burns.)
Prototype
an original type that serves as a model for later examples
Chemical Reaction
a chemical change in which one or more substances are changed into one or more new substances
Chemical Properties
characteristics of a substance that determine how it will react with other substances
Convection
the transportation of heat from one place to another by the movement of a liquid or gas (A classroom is warmed by a hot air blower due to convection.)
Conductor
a material (like a metal) through which electricity and heat flow easily
Conduction
the transportation of heat or electricity from one place to another directly through an object (A frying pan is warmed by a hot stove due to conduction.)
Qualitative
observations that do not involve measurements and numbers (""My brother is shorter than my sister,"" is a qualitative observation.)
Coordinate
a set of numbers that determines the location of a point in space
Quark
one of the two basic building blocks of matter (Scientists have discovered six different kinds of quarks: Top, Bottom, Up, Down, Strange and Charm.)
Compound
a substance composed of two or more elements, such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), or table sugar (C12H22O11)
Colloidal Suspension
a material that has properties of more than one state of matter, such as Jell-o
Independent Variable
the manipulated variable; the variable that is changed on purpose in an experiment
Electric Current
movement of electricity, measured in charges per second (just as river current is measured in liters per second)
Data
a group of measurements, facts or statistics
Cryogenics
the science of very low temperatures, far below the freezing point of water
Injector
the first section of an accelerator, where electrons are torn away from atoms and accelerated to an energy sufficient for them to be injected into the cavities of the accelerator
HTML
an acronym for HyperText Markup Language; the programming language or code used for the creation of internet web pages
Dependent Variable
the responding variable; the variable that may change as a result of a change in the independent variable
Energy
the capacity to do work
Teamwork
joint action by a group to complete a given task
SURA
the acronym for Southeastern Universities Research Association (Jefferson Lab is managed by SURA.)
Element
any substance that cannot be broken up into simpler substances by chemical means (Currently 115 elements have been observed and are displayed on the Periodic Table of Elements. Gold, silver, iodine, oxygen and nickel are examples of elements.)
Electron
a tiny particle with a negative charge which orbits an atom's nucleus
Electromagnet
a wire coil around a metal core (usually iron) that acts like a magnet when an electric current flows through it
Helium
a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas (Helium becomes a liquid near absolute zero. Liquid helium is used to cool Jefferson Lab's accelerator components.)
Grid
a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines forming squares of uniform size on a map or chart
Fahrenheit
a temperature scale at which water freezes at 32° and boils at 212°
Circuit
a closed path through which an electric current flows
Computer
a programmable machine that inputs, processes and outputs data
Continuous
Gas
a state of matter with no definite shape or volume, like air
Gluons
particles that hold quarks together
Graph
information represented in the form of a picture, diagram or drawing
Hypothesis
an educated guess that can be tested or investigated
Experiment
a series of actions carried out to test a theory, demonstrate a fact or find out what happens
Interact
act with each other
Kelvin
a temperature scale that begins at absolute zero, where there is no molecular movement (Water freezes at 273 K and boils at 373 K.)
Engineer
a person who uses science and math to design, build or operate equipment, structures and systems (A person who receives a college degree in engineering might be an electrical, mechanical, industrial, chemical, environmental, biochemical or aeronautical engineer.)
Laboratory
a place equipped for scientific research, experiments or testing
LINAC
an abbreviation for Linear Accelerator
Force
a push or pull (There are four basic forces: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear.)
FEL
stands for Free Electron Laser; a tunable laser made by wiggling a beam of electrons (Jefferson Lab's FEL is the most powerful in the world.)
Magnet
a piece of iron or other material that attracts other pieces of iron or steel
Matter
something that has mass which can exist in the form of a solid, liquid, gas or plasma
Internet
a worldwide network of computers linked together for the purpose of exchanging information (also sometimes called the Information Superhighway or Cyberspace)
data analysis
organizing and examining the collected data using narratives, charts, graphs or tables
the transportation of heat from one place to another by waves or particles (The Earth is warmed by the Sun due to radiation.)
Linear Accelerator
a machine used in physics experiments that makes particles go faster in a straight line
Scatter
to go in many directions
identify the problem
a scientific problem to be solved
Scientist
a person who uses observation, experimentation and theory to learn about a subject (Biologists, physicists, chemists, geologists and astronomers are all scientists.)
Insulator
a material through which electricity or heat does not flow easily (like many plastics, glasses and ceramics)
Lepton
one of the two basic building blocks of matter (An electron is a lepton.)
Ion
an atom or molecule that has an electric charge because it has either gained or lost electrons
Jefferson Lab
a nuclear physics research facility built to explore quarks in the nucleus of the atom, located in Newport News, Virginia
Liquid
a state of matter with definite volume but no definite shape, like water
Mass
the measure of the amount of matter an object has in it; measured in grams or kilograms
Magnification
the process of making something look bigger
experimentation
the process of testing a hypothesis by collecting data under controlled, repeatable conditions
research
the process of collecting information and data about a topic being studied
Science
the study of the natural world
Scientific Method
the 'tool' that scientists use to find the answer to questions (The Scientific Method allows scientists to solve complicated problems by taking a series of smaller steps:
Resistance
a measurement of how much a material opposes the flow of electricity (Wood has high resistance so it is a poor conductor of electricity. Copper has low resistance, so it is a good conductor of electricity.)
Solid
a state of matter with definite shape and volume, like ice
conclusion
a summary of the results of the experimentation and a statement of how the results relate to the hypothesis
Speed
a measurement of distance traveled over time (example: 100 kilometers per hour)
a computer program used for organizing and analyzing data (Spreadsheets are arranged in rows and columns. A cell is a box in a spreadsheet where a row and column meet. The names of the row and column determine the name of the cell. For example, in the spreadsheet shown below, column C and row 2 meet at cell C2, the shaded box. The value in C2 is 1.23.)
Temperature
a measure of heat energy in an object, body or environment (Temperature can be measured using Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin scales.)
Technician
a person who is an expert in doing certain technical jobs
Superconductivity
the flow of electric current without any resistance in certain metals at temperatures near absolute zero (The superconductors used at Jefferson Lab are cavities made of niobium that are cooled to 2 K by liquid Helium.)
Voltage
electrical force or pressure (measured in volts)
Velocity
an object's speed and direction of motion
Theory
a general principle that explains or predicts facts or events
Weight
a measure of the gravitational force pulling objects to the earth, moon or other celestial body (The more mass a planet has, the greater the gravitational pull of that planet will be. An object weighs more on the earth than it does on the moon because the earth has more mass than the moon.)
Proton
a positively charged particle found in the nucleus of an atom
Property
any characteristic or attribute of an object or substance
Probe
an object or device used to investigate the unknown
Negative
having a minus charge (Negative charges are attracted to positive charges and are repelled by other negative charges.)
Median
the middle number in a set of ordered data (The median of {1,1,1,2,4,6,6} is 2 since 2 is the middle number when all of the numbers are placed in order. If there are an even number of numbers, the median is the mean of the two middle numbers.)
Mean
the sum of the items in a set of data divided by the number of items in the set; the average (The mean of {1,1,1,2,4,6,6} is 3 since (1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 6) ÷ 7 = 3.)
Molecule
two or more elements that are chemically joined (Water is a molecule made from two atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen.)
Microscope
an optical instrument that uses a combination of lenses to produce magnified images of very small objects
Meson
particle made of a quark and an antiquark that is thought to bind protons and neutrons together inside the nucleus of an atom
Mixture
a substance composed of two or more components, each of which retain its own properties (A salad is a mixture of vegetables.)
Mode
the data item that occurs the most often in a set of data (The mode of {1,1,1,2,4,6,6} is 1 since 1 is the number that appears most often.)
Nuclear Physics
the science of studying the nucleus of the atom
Nitrogen
a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas which makes up 78% of the air (Nitrogen is a gas at room temperature and becomes a liquid at about 77 K, -196°C or
Neutron
a neutral particle made of three quarks found in the nucleus of an atom
Neutral
having no charge
Positive
having a plus charge (Positive charges are attracted to negative charges and are repelled by other positive charges.)
Orbit
the path an object follows as it travels around another object
Observation
the use of one's senses to learn something new
Nucleon
a proton or a neutron
Nucleus
the central part of an atom, which makes up 99.9% of the atom's mass
Physical Change
a change that affects the size, shape or color of a substance but does not affect its composition
Pole
the place on a magnet where the magnetic field is strongest
Particle
a very small piece or part; an indivisible object
Plasma
a very hot, gas-like state of matter
Physics
the study of matter, energy and force
Accelerate
to speed up
Antimatter
matter that is exactly the opposite in every way from its matter counterpart: antiquark/quark; positron/electron
Atom
the smallest unit of a chemical element, made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons
one quarter of the coordinate plane (The x and y
Accelerator
a machine which accelerates charged particles to high energies
Charge
the amount of electricity carried by a body (A charge can be negative, like an electron, or positive, like a proton. Objects with opposite charges attract one another, while objects with like charges repel one another.)
Celsius
a temperature scale on which water freezes at 0° and boils at 100°
CEBAF
former name of Jefferson Lab; stands for Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility
Beam
a ray of light; a group of particles traveling together along a well-defined path

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