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Physics Terminology

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Physics Terminology

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Physics, is a discipline of science, that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and the main goal of Physics is to understand how the universe behaves. The article Physics Terminology lists the important terms in Physics.


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Physics Terminology – Important Terms in Physics Discipline.

Term Definition
Acceleration It is the rate of change of the velocity of a moving body.
Acoustics It is the experimental and theoretical science of sound and its transmission.
Alternative energy It is the energy from sources that are renewable and ecological safe, as opposed to sources that are non-renewable with toxic by-product, such as coal, oil or gas and uranium.
Altimeter It is an instrument used in aircraft that measures altitude, or height above sea level.
Ammeter It is a device used to measure current.
Archimedes principle It is the law stating that an object that is totally or partly submerged in a fluid displaces a volume of fluid that weighs the same as the apparent loss in weight of the object.
Armature It is a part of some electric machines.
Atmosphere It is the mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth; it is prevented from escaping by the pull of the Earth’s gravity.
Atom It is the smallest unit of matter that can take part in a chemical reaction and which cannot be broken down chemically into anything simpler.
Astrophysics It is the study of the structure of the universe and how the objects in it behave.

Term Definition
Ballistics It is the science of the movement and behaviour of missiles. Projectiles from guns, refuels and slings, bombs, rockets and so forth.
Barometer It is the instrument that measures atmospheric pressure as indication weather.
Buoyancy It is the effect of the upward force (upthrust) on an objective in a fluid.

Term Definition
Calibrate It describes how a measuring scale is marked
Calliper It is a kind of measuring instrument
Calorie It is a unit of energy content of food.
Calorimeter It is an apparatus for measuring heat.
Cantilever It is a beam securely fixed at one end and hanging fee at the other hand.
Capacitor It is a device which can store electricity.
Capillarity It is an effect of surface tension.
Carat It is a unit of weight for gems and precious metals. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams.
Cathode It is a negative electrode in a cell.
Celsius The temperature scale in which one division or degree is taken as one hundredth part of the interval between the freezing point (00C) and the boiling point (1000 C) of water at standard atmospheric pressure.
Centrifugal It is a force away from the centre that may appear to be observed during motion in a curve
Centripetal It is the force that is necessary to keep an object moving in a circular path and that is directed inwards towards the centre of rotation.
Chain reaction It is a situation where one event cause a second, this leads to a third, and so on.
Circuit breaker It is a safety switch that automatically cuts off the current when there is an overland
Climate It is the long-term pattern of weather in a region.
Compass It is an instrument which helps people to find their way from one place to another.
Cooling tower It is part of a power station.
Coulomb It is a unit of electric charge.
Cube It has a solid shape, it has six square sides which are all the same size.
Curie It is a unit of radio-activity.

Term Definition
Decibel It is a unit of measurement. It measures the loudness of sound.
Diffusion It is the movement of atoms and molecules in gases and liquids
Digital It is a term meaning coded as number.
Diode It is a term part of some electric circuits.
Docking It is the mechanical coupling of two or more spacecraft.
Dynamo It is a simple generator, or machine for transforming mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Term Definition
Echo It is a sound which is reflected
Eclipse It is passage of an astronomical body through the shadow of another.
Electromagnet It is a special coil of wire.
Element It is substance that cannot be split chemically into simpler substances
Elastically It is an elastic substance which obey Hooke’s law. This means that if we stretch or compress a sample, it deforms (stains) in proportion. It returns to its original state when the stress ceases.
Electron It is one of the basic particles of matter
Epicentre It is a point directly above the true centre of disturbing from which the shockwaves of an earthquakes apparently radiate.
Escape speed It is the speed of an object leaving the surface of a planet, such that it just escapes the gravitational pull.
Escape velocity It is the minimum velocity with which an object must be projected for it to escape from the gravitational pull of a planetary body.

Term Definition
Fallout These are the radio-active substance deposited on the surface of the earth after the explosion of a nuclear weapon of mishap at a nuclear reactor.
Fibre optics It is branch of physics dealing with the transmission of light and images through glass or plastic known as optical fibres.
Filament It is a thin, high resistance wire as in an electric light bulb.
Filter It is a kind of apparatus which helps to separate a mixture
Fleming’s rules These are memory aids for the directions of the magnetic field, current and motion in an electric generator or motor, using one’s fingers.
Flywheel It is a heavy wheels connected to the shaft of an engine. it maintains the smooth rotation of the shaft because of its high inertia.
Forensic science It carries out test and searches for clues to help the police and lawyers.
Fossil fuel Any fuel produced by the slow decay of dead things and which, therefore, is not renewable.
Free fall It is the state in which a body is falling freely under the influence of gravity, as in free-fall parachuting.
Friction It is the force that opposes the relative motion of two bodies in contact.
Fuse It is a thin piece of wire, a part of an electric circuit.

Term Definition
Galvanometer It is a sensitive instrument for detecting and measuring small electric currents.
Gas It is a state of matter which has no fixed shape or volume and always fills the whole of the space in which it is contained.
Geiger counter It is a device which measures radiation.
Generator It is a machine that transfers kinetic energy to electricity.
Greenhouse effect It is a phenomenon of the Earth’s atmosphere by which solar radiation, absorbed by the Earth and re-emitted from the surface, is prevented from escaping by gases, mainly carbon dioxide in the air.
Grid It is the network by which electricity is generated and distributed over a region or country.

Term Definition
Hectare It is a unit of measurement which measures area.
Hertz It is a unit of measurement which measures the frequency of vibrations.
Hexagon It is a flat shape which has six sides.
Horse power (hp) It is a practical unit of power which equal to 550 foot-pound per second or 746 watts.
Hydrometer It is an instrument used to measures the relative density of liquids (the density compared with that of water).
Hurricane It is a powerful whirling tropical storm that measures 320 to 480 kilometres in diameter.
Hydraulics It is the branch of physics that deals with the behaviour of liquids at rest and in motion.
Hydrosphere The water of the earth, ocean lakes, rivers and glaciers that cover about three-fourths of the earth’s surface.
Hygrometer It is an instrument used to measure the amount of water vapour in the air.
Hypersonic The sound waves which have frequencies above 500 megahertz.
Hypersonic speed The speed of an object greater than about five times the speed of sound in the fluid through which the object is moving.

Term Definition
Inertia The tendency of an object to remain in a state of rest of uniform motion until an external force is applied, as stated by Newton’s first law of motion.
Information Technology It is a scientific subject, the study of how to collect, use, move, store and display information.
Insulation It is the process by which the passage of electricity, heat or sound is prevented through a material.
Imaging It is a technique by which electronics data collected by various means is converted into visual image by use of computers.
Isotopes These are atoms of an element having the same atomic number but different atomic weights.

Term Definition
Jet lag It is a state of feeling unwell and exhausted experienced by air travellers when they cross several time zones in a relatively short time.

Term Definition
Kinetic energy It is a form of energy possessed by moving bodies. It is contrasted with potential energy.
Knot It is a unit for measuring ship’s speed.

Term Definition
Laser The name stands for Light Amplification by stimulated Emission of Radiation. A device able to produce an intension narrow beam of radiation.
Latent heat It is the heat required to change the state of a substance (for example, from solid to liquid) without changing its temperature.
Latitude It is the distance of a point on the earth’s surface from the equator.
Lighting conductor It is a conductor of electricity installed in a structure to save it from damage.
Light-year It is a unit of distance used in astronomy. It is defined as the distance light travels through space in one year. Light travels at 300,000 km per second.

Term Definition
Mach number It is a measure of the speed of an object, especially an aircraft. If the Mach number exceeds one, the object is said to be moving at a supersonic speed.
Manometer An instrument for measuring the pressure of liquids (including human blood pressure) or gases.
Mechanics It is the study of movement of material bodies.
Meridian It is an imaginary circle passing through both the poles of a celestial sphere, It is also the imaginary plane passing through the Earth’s axis.
Meteorology It is the study of climate and weather patterns, with the aim of trying to explain, predict and change them.
Mica It is a group of silicate minerals having layered structure.
Microscope It is an instrument for magnification with high resolution for detail.
Mirage It is the illusion seen in hot climate of water on the horizon, or of distant objects being enlarged.
Missile It is guided unmanned weapon which is usually propelled by a rocket.
Moderator It is a substance that is used to slow down neutrons emitted in a nuclear fission reaction.
Molecule It is a group of one or more atoms bonded together, a basic participle of matter.
Momentum It is a property dependent on the mass and velocity of a body.

Term Definition
Nautical mile It is a unit of measurement, it measures distances across seas and oceans.
Nuclear fission It is the process whereby an atomic nucleus breaks up with the emissions of several neutrons.
Nuclear reactor It is the central component of a nuclear power station that generated nuclear energy under controlled conditions for use as a source of electrical power.
Nuclear waste It is the radio-active and toxic by-products of the nuclear-energy and nuclear-weapons industries.

Term Definition
Ohm The SI unit of electrical resistance, named after Georg Simon Ohm.
Opaque It described a substance which does not allow light to pass through it.
Optics It is the study of nature and properties of light.
Oscillation One completer to and-fro movement of a vibrating object or system.

Term Definition
Periscope It is an optical instrument designed for observation from a concealed position such as from a submerged submarine.
Photon It is a particle which has been invented by scientist to explain how light behaves.
Physics It is the branch of science concerned with the ultimate laws that govern the structure of the universe and the forms of matter and energy and their interactions.
Piston It is a part of a machine, it is fitted inside a cylinder and moves backwards and forwards.
Plutonium It is a radioactive metallic element (symbol Pu) of proton number 94 and relative atomic mass 239.13.
Pole It is a region of a magnetic field where the force is strongest. Most bar magnets have two poles.
Pollution The effect on the surface of the Earth of poisonous or harmful substances that makes life less safe or pleasant for living organisms.
Potential energy It is stored energy.
Primary colour A primary colour is one of their different colours of light red. Green and blue colours.
Prism In optics, a triangular block of transport material (plastic glass, silica) commonly used to, bend’ a ray of light or split a beam into its special colours.
Projectile A particle that travels with both horizontal and vertical motion in the Earth’s gravitational field.

Term Definition
Quantum mechanics It is the part of physics that deals with radiation and the movement of atomic particles.

Term Definition
Rader An acronym for radio direction and ranging device for locating objects in space, direction finding, and navigation by means of transmitted and reflected high-frequency radio waves.
Radiant heat It is energy that is radiated by all warm or hot bodies.
Radiation It is a kind of energy which is moving.
Radioactivity It is the spontaneous alteration, or decay, of the nuclei of radioactive atoms, accompanied by the emission of radiation.
Radiocarbon dating It is a method of dating organic materials (for example, bone or wood), used in archaeology.
Rainbow It is an arch in the sky displaying the colours of the spectrum formed by the refraction and reflection of the Sun’s rays through rain of mist.
Reflection The throwing back or deflection of waves, such as light or sound waves, when they hit a surface.
Refraction It is the bending of waves of light, heat or sound when it passes from one medium to another.
Relativity theory A theory that describes matter, space and time and how they relate to each other.
Retine It is the inner layer at the back of the vertebrate eye, which contains light-sensitive cells and nerve fibers.
Robot It is a kind of machine that can do jobs without human help.
Rocket It is a projectile driven by the reaction of gases produced by a fast-burning fuel.

Term Definition
Satellite It is a kind of spacecraft.
Satellite dish It is a kind of aerial.
Seismograph It is an instruments that amplifies and record small movements of the ground caused by earthquakes or explosions.
Semiconductor Crystalline material with an electrical conductivity between that of metals (good) and insulators (poor).
Sensor It is a device that takes in and reacts to some kind of input energy and outputs a related electrical signal.
Shaft It is a rod which rotates and is connected to the axis of a wheel or a gear.
Short circuit It is the accidental or deliberate joining of two parts of an electric circuit by a conductor of less resistance that allows an excessive current to flow, usually blowing a fuse.
Silicon chip It is a kind of crystal.
Siphon It is a curved pipe or tube and is used to move liquids from one container to another.
Solder It is an alloy and is used to join together wires and electronics components.
Sonar It is a device which is fitted to ship and submarines and it is used to find objects under water.
Spectrometer It is an instrument used to study the composition of light emitted by a source.
Speed of light It is the speed at which light travels through empty space. Its value is 299,792, 458 metres per second.
Speed of sound It is the speed at which sound travels through a medium, such as air on water. In air at a temperature of 00c, the speed of sound is 331 metres per second.
Spark A high energy discharge through a gas that lasts for a very short time, it is accompanied by a flash of light and a sharp crackling noise.
Solar energy It is energy derived from the sun’s radiation.
Solstice One of the two times of each year when the sun reaches its maximum northerly or southerly position among the stars. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice on June 21, is the longest day of the year and winter solstice on December 21 is the shortest day of the year.
Sound barrier It is the point at which an aircraft attains the speed of sound.
Superconductor It is a substance which has no electrical resistance.
Supersonic It means faster than the speed of sound.

Term Definition
Telescope It is a device for collecting and focusing light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation from distant objects.
Thermometer It is a device used measures temperature of hotness.
Thermostat It is a device used to keep the temperature in some place with in a set range.
Tide It is the rise and fall of sea level due to the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun.
Transformer It is a device whose normal use is to transfer electrical energy with a change in voltage between input and output.
Transistor It is a device for controlling the flow of minute electric current. It serves as a rectifier or as an amplifier of current.
Transponder It is a transmitter cum-receiver which receive radio signals and retransmits them automatically often at a different frequency after amplification.
Troposphere It is the lowest part, of the earth’s atmosphere in which most of the weather phenomena occur.

Term Definition
UFO It is an unidentified Flying Object.
Ultrasonics It is the study and application of the sound and vibration produced by ultrasonic pressure waves.
Uranium Radioactive metallic element (system U) of proton number 92 and relatives atomic mass 238.029.

Term Definition
Vaporization It is the change of state of a substance from liquid to vapour.
Velocity It is the speed of an object in a given direction, or the rate of change of an object’s displacement.
VHF It is very High frequency referring to radio waves that have very short wavelengths.
Viscosity Resistance of fluids (liquids and gases) to flow. It is caused by friction between the fluid molecules moving against each other.
Voltage It is the electrical pressure or potential difference measured in volts.
Voltmeter It is an electrical instrument which measures voltage.
Vortex It is intense circular or whirling motion of a fluid.

Term Definition
Warhead It is the part of a missile, usually placed at the tip. containing a chemical explosive or incendiary charge and a mechanism for setting it off. It may also carry a nuclear device.
Water cycle It is the continuous movement water between the ocean, atmosphere and the land. Water from the ocean evaporates by Sun’s heat and enters the atmosphere as water vapour. The water vapour condenses and comes down as rain from where it flows through streams and rivers into the ocean, thus completing the cycle.
Watt It is the unit of power, the rate of energy transfer.