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Dictionaries & Encyclopedias on Science

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Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology
Contains complete, up-to-date definitions for all areas of science and technology. The definitions are clear and accessible to the nonspecialist, yet they provide all the technical information that the specialist needs. Entries range from large general fields, such as Medicine, to newer, highly focused fields, such as Chaos.

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The American Heritage Science Dictionary
Covers all the major fields of science, from the fundamentals of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to the applied realms of medicine, ecology, and computer science.

Help with Physics

Terms & Concepts

  • Acceleration: Topic Page
    Change in the velocity of a body with respect to time. Since velocity is a vector quantity, involving both magnitude and direction, acceleration is also a vector. In order to produce an acceleration, a force must be applied to the body. MORE
  • Frequency: Topic Page
    In physics, number of periodic oscillations, vibrations, or waves occurring per unit of time. The SI unit of frequency is the hertz (Hz), one hertz being equivalent to one cycle per second. MORE
  • Gravity: Topic Page
    Force of attraction that arises between objects by virtue of their masses. The larger the mass of an object the more strongly it attracts other objects. MORE
  • Physics: Topic Page
    Branch of science traditionally defined as the study of matter, energy, and the relation between them; it was called natural philosophy until the late 19th cent. and is still known by this name at a few universities. MORE
  • Radial velocity
    From Collins Dictionary of Astronomy
    Symbol: vr. The velocity of a star along the line of sight of an observer. It is calculated directly from the doppler shift (see Doppler effect) in the lines of the star's spectrum: if the star is receding there will be a redshift in its spectral lines and the radial velocity will be positive; an approaching star will produce a blueshift and the velocity will be negative. MORE
  • Sound wave: Topic Page
    Longitudinal wave motion with which sound energy travels through a medium. It carries energy away from the source of the sound without carrying the material itself with it. MORE
  • Uncertainty Principle: Topic Page
    Physical principle, enunciated by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, that places an absolute, theoretical limit on the combined accuracy of certain pairs of simultaneous, related measurements. The accuracy of a measurement is given by the uncertainty in the result; if the measurement is exact, the uncertainty is zero. MORE
  • Velocity
    From The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics
    Symbol: v. The rate of change of position with time when the direction of motion is specified. Velocity v is thus a vector quantity; its magnitude v is referred to as speed. MORE

Particles

  • Antiparticle: Topic Page
    Elementary particle corresponding to an ordinary particle such as the proton, neutron, or electron, but having the opposite electrical charge and magnetic moment. Every elementary particle has a corresponding antiparticle; the antiparticle of an antiparticle is the original particle. MORE
  • Atom: Topic Page
    [Gr.,=uncuttable (indivisible)], basic unit of matter; more properly, the smallest unit of a chemical element having the properties of that element. MORE
  • Atomic physics: Topic Page
    The study of the structure and properties of atoms, and of their interactions with electromagnetic radiation and with other atoms. MORE
  • Atomic structure: Topic Page
    Internal structure of an atom. MORE
  • Cloud chamber: Topic Page
    Device used to detect elementary particles and other ionizing radiation. A cloud chamber consists essentially of a closed container filled with a supersaturated vapor, e.g., water in air. MORE
  • Electron: Topic Page
    Elementary particle carrying a unit charge of negative electricity. Ordinary electric current is the flow of electrons through a wire conductor (see electricity). The electron is one of the basic constituents of matter. MORE
  • Higgs-boson
    From McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
    A hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle, the avatar (embodiment) of electroweak symmetry breaking in the Glashow–Weinberg–Salam theory. Interactions with the Higgs boson endow the quarks, leptons, and weak gauge bosons with mass. MORE
  • Ion: Topic Page
    Atom, or group of atoms, that is either positively charged (cation) or negatively charged (anion), as a result of the loss or gain of electrons during chemical reactions or exposure to certain forms of radiation. MORE
  • Isotope: Topic Page
    In chemistry and physics, one of two or more atoms having the same atomic number but differing in atomic weight and mass number. The concept of isotope was introduced by F. Soddy in explaining aspects of radioactivity; the first stable isotope (of neon) was discovered by J. J. Thomson. MORE
  • Muon: Topic Page
    Elementary particle heavier than an electron but lighter than other particles having nonzero rest mass. The name muon is derived from mu meson, the former name of the particle. MORE
  • Neutrino: Topic Page
    [Ital.,=little neutral (particle)], elementary particle with no electric charge and a very small mass emitted during the decay of certain other particles. The neutrino was first postulated in 1930 by Wolfgang Pauli in order to maintain the law of conservation of energy during beta decay. MORE
  • Neutron: Topic Page
    Uncharged elementary particle of slightly greater mass than the proton. It was discovered by James Chadwick in 1932. The stable isotopes of all elements except hydrogen and helium contain a number of neutrons equal to or greater than the number of protons. MORE
  • Particle detector: Topic Page
    In physics, device for detecting, measuring, and analyzing particles and other forms of radiation entering it. Such devices play an important role not only in basic research, as in the study of elementary particles, but also in numerous applications of physics, from uses of radioactive tracers in medicine and biology to prospecting for natural ores that exhibit radioactivity. MORE
  • Particle physics: Topic Page
    Study of the particles that make up all atoms, and of their interactions. More than 300 subatomic particles have now been identified by physicists, categorized into several classes according to their mass, electric charge, spin, magnetic moment, and interaction. MORE
  • Proton: Topic Page
    Elementary particle having a single positive electrical charge and constituting the nucleus of the ordinary hydrogen atom. The positive charge of the nucleus of any atom is due to its protons. Every atomic nucleus contains one or more protons; the number of protons, called the atomic number, is different for every element. MORE
 

Books on Physics

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The Penguin Dictionary of Physics
Provides clear and concise definitions for every area of physics--from optics and acoustics to mechanics and electronics, via quantum theory and relativity.

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Encyclopedia of Energy
Draws together all aspects of energy, covering a wealth of areas throughout the natural, social and engineering sciences, providing easily accessible information about all aspects of energy, written by leading international authorities.

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Philip's Astronomy Encyclopedia
Includes encyclopedia entries authenticated by a team of respected academics, colour illustrations, photographs, artworks, and tables, and Star Maps created by Wil Tirion.

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Dictionary of Astronomy
A comprehensive dictionary, covering all aspects of astronomy, from telescopes to planets, stars to comets. The dictionary clearly explains complex terms, and has been fully revised and updated to include the latest missions, discoveries and equipment.