Terminologies in Physics


The following table illustrates the major ‘Terms’ in physics −

Terms Meaning
Absolute Zero It means the theoretical lowest possible temperature
Acoustics The branch of physics that studies sound
Adhesion The propensity of dissimilar particles or surfaces to adhere or cling to one another
Alpha particles It consists of two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle (i.e. identical to a helium nucleus)
Amorphous solid It is non-crystalline solid, which has no definite shape
Amplitude It is height of a wave, which is measured from its center position
Angstrom (Å) It is an unit of linear measurement that measures micro-particles
Atomic mass unit It is one-twelfth the mass of an atom of the isotope 12⁄6C
Beta Particles It is high-energy, high-speed electrons or positrons emitted by the particular types of radioactive nuclei
Big Bang The cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe
Binding energy The mechanical energy that is required to disassemble a whole into separate parts
Black hole A region of space-time, which gravity is very powerful and prevents anything, including light, from escaping
Boson It is one of two classes of elementary particles; second one is fermions
Cathode An electrode through which electric current flows out of a polarized electrical device
Centrifugal force Center fleeing
Centripetal force Center seeking
Condensed matter physics A branch of physics that studies the physical properties of condensed phases of matter
Convection The process of transfer of heat by the actual transfer of matter
Crest The point on a wave with the maximum value
Doppler effect The change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to its source
Ductility It is the property of solid material that deform under tensile stress
Elasticity It is physical property of materials which return to their original shape once they are deformed.
Electromagnet A typical magnet in which the magnetic field is produced by passing the electric current
Entropy A quantity that describes the randomness of a substance or a system
Escape velocity The speed at which the kinetic energy and the gravitational potential energy of an object is zero. Likewise, the escape velocity is the speed required to "break free" from a gravitational field without further propulsion
Free fall Any motion of a body where its weight is the only force acting upon it
Ice point A transitional phase of a substance from a liquid to a solid.
Inertia It is the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion
Kinematics Geometry of motion
Neutrino An electrically neutral subatomic particle
Photon It is an elementary particle
Quark It is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter
Redshift Shifting towards the red end of the spectrum
Screw It is a mechanism that converts rotational motion to linear motion
Siphon An inverted U tube that causes a liquid to flow uphill without support of any pump. It is basically powered by the fall of the liquid as it flows down the tube under the force of gravity
Sublimation It is a process of transformation in which solid directly changed to gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase
Supernova A stellar explosion, which is more energetic than a nova
Vector Vector is a quantity, which has both magnitude and direction
White dwarf It is a stellar remnant, which is composed largely of electron-degenerate matter. These are very dense
Wind shear It is the difference between wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere

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