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a
 absolute constant
An absolute constant is a number that has the same value wherever it appears. Examples:
 absolute space
(Absolute space has recently been reconceptualized and renamed as space that has "backgroundindependence.")
The(...)  Read More
 absolute time
The concept of absolute time was a foundational concept of physics as articulated by Isaac Newton in the 1600’s. It was(...)  Read More
 acceleration
Abbreviation: a
In physics, acceleration is speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction. Acceleration contrasts(...)  Read More
 actionatadistance
Actionatadistance is the creation of an effect without physically touching. An example is magnetism: a magnet pulls(...)  Read More
 algebraic constant
An algebraic constant is a symbol that represents an unchanging number or is simply a number in an algebra equation. The(...)  Read More
 alpha
In quantum physics, the ancient Greek letter α, alpha, represents an important constant of nature. Alpha is .00729735256…(...)  Read More
 amplitude of a wave
The amplitude of a wave is its height, that is, half the distance from trough to crest.
Carbon atoms on the surface of a crystal of graphite.(...)  Read More
 atomic number
The atomic number of an atom is the number of protons in its nucleus. For example, an atom of carbon has six protons and has(...)  Read More

b
 B
B is the symbol that represents the strength and direction, in any particular location, of the magnetic field due to the(...)  Read More
 bare number
 baryon
 baryonic matter
All the matter that we ordinarily deal with in everyday life is baryonic matter. Baryonic matter is composed of atoms which(...)  Read More
 Bohr atom
Even though it’s now considered obsolete, Niels Bohr took a huge step forward in quantum physics, when in 1913, he proposed(...)  Read More

c
 complex number
This is an example of a complex number: 3 + 4i. It means take 3 and add 4 times i. The letter i is the symbol for the square(...)  Read More
 conservation laws
Physics includes several conservation laws. The most wellknown is the Law of Conservation of Energy. This law states that(...)  Read More
 conservation of energy
 conservation of matter
The Law of Conservation of Matter was abandoned as inaccurate by physicists early in the 1900’s. For more information, see(...)  Read More
 conserved quantity
A conserved quantity is something that remains constant in amount over time and cannot be created nor destroyed. Conserved(...)  Read More
 constant
A constant is a number or symbol that always has the same value. There are four types of constants:
A mathematical(...)  Read More
 constant of nature
A constant of nature is another way of saying a "physical constant."  Read More
 Coulomb's Law
Coulomb’s Law is a formula that allows us to calculate the electric force generated between two electrical charges.(...)  Read More

d
 dark energy
Dark energy is the name given to an unexplained aspect of the universe. Dark energy has been postulated as an explanation(...)  Read More
 dark matter
"Dark matter" is a name that’s been given to a substance which many scientists believe may exist. If it exists, this(...)  Read More
 decoherence
(Also called “quantum decoherence.”) Decoherence occurs when a quantum particle loses its coherence. So, what is coherence?(...)  Read More
 dimensionless number
Pi is an example of a dimensionless number. A dimensionless number doesn’t imply any measurement units. Pi is just 3.14, not(...)  Read More

e
 e
 Euler's number (e)
Euler's number, similarly to pi, is a constant which occurs repeatedly throughout nature. It is symbolized as e. It has a(...)  Read More

f
 finestructure constant
See alpha, , α.  Read More
 frequency
 frequency and wavelength
Frequency and wavelength are both properties of waves. They are closely related, so this article discusses the two(...)  Read More
 function

i
 i
The letter i is the symbol for the square root of 1. In other words i = √1. The symbol i often appears in the equations of(...)  Read More
 imaginary number
An imaginary number is one that includes the square root of 1, written √(1). While one might think that such a number(...)  Read More
 ion
 ionize
 isotope
Isotopes are a special kind of atom. Atoms with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons are isotopes of(...)  Read More

j
 Joule

l
 L
(Symbol is L. Also called “rotational momentum” or “moment of momentum.”) Angular momentum is the momentum or oomph which an(...)  Read More
 Law of Conservation of Energy
The Law of Conservation of Energy says that the amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant. Energy cannot be(...)  Read More
 Law of Conservation of Matter
The Law of Conservation of Matter was abandoned as inaccurate by physicists early in the 1900’s. For more information, see(...)  Read More
 linear momentum
Linear momentum is the oomph something has due to having mass that’s in motion. If a football player were to ram into a(...)  Read More
 lines of force
“Lines of force” can best be explained with an illustration. The photo shows the lines of magnetic force created with a(...)  Read More

m
 mathematical constant
Pi and e are examples of mathematical constants. A mathematical constant has the same value no matter which mathematical(...)  Read More
 metal
 moment
“Moment,” as used in physics, means the amount of force experienced by an object due to the amount of force applied at a(...)  Read More
 moment of force
 moment of momentum
In classical physics, moment of momentum is the momentum or oomph which an object has as it rotates about an axis. It is the(...)  Read More
 momentum
(Abbreviated p. Momentum is the oomph something has due to having mass that’s in motion. Let’s say you just happen to be(...)  Read More

n
 normal matter
Scientists call the everyday matter of our world, such as tables and chairs, “normal matter.” Normal matter is made up of(...)  Read More

o
 operator
 orbital angular momentum
(Symbol: ɭ or L). Electrons have two types of rotational motion: orbital angular momentum and spin. Orbital angular momentum(...)  Read More
 ordinary matter
Scientists call the everyday matter of our world, such as tables and chairs, “ordinary matter.” Ordinary matter is made up(...)  Read More
 oscillation
Definition (1): An oscillation is a repetitive backandforth motion. A pendulum swinging back and forth is an everyday(...)  Read More
 oscillator
An oscillator is something that oscillates. Something that vibrates. See oscillation for more information.
quantum decoherence, see decoherence.  Read More
 Quantum Field Theory
Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the current theory of how atomic and subatomic particles behave. It is the most uptodate(...)  Read More
 quantum number
Electrons have a few handfuls of properties. Four have been selected as the electron’s “quantum numbers.” The quantum(...)  Read More
 quantum spin
See "spin."  Read More

r
 renormalization
Renormalization is a technique for achieving greater precision in certain physics theories.* In quantum mechanics,(...)  Read More
 rotational momentum
Rotational momentum is the same thing as “angular momentum.” It is the momentum or oomph that an object has when it rotates(...)  Read More

s
 scanning tunneling microscope
A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is a type of electron microscope. It is much more powerful than an ordinary microscope(...)  Read More
 singularity
“Singularity” has a physics definition and a mathematical definition. Both definitions are given here. They fit together(...)  Read More
 Sommerfeld's Constant
See alpha, α.  Read More
 spin
Spin is a property of subatomic and atomic particles. While spin was originally thought of as a particle twirling on its(...)  Read More
 SternGerlach device
(Also called a “SternGerlach machine.”) The SternGerlach (SG) device detects the “quantum spin” of atoms and subatomic(...)  Read More

t
 Tesla
 test glossary
inssue next another dev  Read More
 torque
For torque, see “moment of force.”  Read More

w
 wave
A wave is a movement that propagates through a medium. The accompanying animation demonstrates the motion of a seismic wave,(...)  Read More
 wave equation
This article starts with the nature of wave equations in classical physics and moves into a brief description of the(...)  Read More
 waveform
 wavelength
Wavelength is a property of waves. It is the distance from wave crest to wave crest. Or from trough to trough—same distance.(...)  Read More

α
 α
In quantum physics, the ancient Greek letter α, alpha, represents an important constant of nature. Alpha is .00729735256…(...)  Read More

π
 π
See entry for pi.  Read More