Vocabulary list for physics

David Bar-Tzur


accuracy accurate astronomy asymmetry approximate approximately approximately equal
approximation bank (row) braces (for formulas) brackets (for formulas) calculate calibrate capacity
centimeter-gram-second characteristic(s) chart configuration constant-> hold/held ~ remains ~
conversion convert cross multiply degree celsius degree fahrenheit dense density
deteriorate determine (a value) deviate, deviation device diagram diameter directly proportional
distribute distributed divide ~ both sides by do (calculate) it in your head efficiency efficient
empirical equation-> drop out (of an ~) equivalence estimate expand experiment
extract figure (illustration) filter foot-pound formula gas gauge
generate generator given gram graphically expressed gravimetric heterogeneous
homogeneous horizontal induce induced infrared instrumentation in terms of
invention isotropy laser-induced fluorescence law liter mass density matter
mean free path measure mechanics mechanism metric system milligram modulus
nanometer nanosecond National Science Board National Science Foundation needle (gauge) negligible (error) newton per square meter
non-zero normal notation n times occupy (space) operate over (as in "A over B")
parentheses (for formulas) perpendicular physics plasma plug pound-force per square inch pound per square inch
precise pressure pulse radar radian radiant reference
right angle right-hand rule rigid rise (in any quantity) round off root mean square run (operate)
science scientific notation sensitive sensor sign-> ~ed consistent ~ convention
significant figures simultaneity, simultaneous source specific gravity spec(s) square centimeter square foot
square inch square meter square yard stabilize structure sub- substance
successive time frames symmetry table term (equation) theorem theory thermal
ultraviolet alpha ultraviolet eta unit universality vacuum fluorecent volumetric density weigh
weight weight density


For "Fluid Dynamics", see under same in Vocabulary list for Engineering.

angle of inclination angular acceleration coefficient of kinetic friction coefficient of static friction conservation of energy conservation of momentum damped
elastic elastic collision equilibrium-> static ~ exert a force foot foot per minute
foot per second force force diagram force lines free-body diagram friction-> static ~
function of time gram gravitational force gravity hour inch inch per second
inelastic collision inertia kilogram kilometer kinetic energy meter meters per second
meters per second squared minute moment momentum motion position-> change in ~
potential energy (at) rest second speed standing wave stationary surface
time-> change in ~ velocity-> change in ~


See also Engineering under "Circuitry".

admittance alternating current alternating current or direct current ammeter ampere ampere hour amplifier
area density attract bandwidth battery charge-> ~d ~ up (a battery)
like ~s repel ~ is conserved (receive) ~ (send) ~ charge density circuit clockwise
coulomb Coulomb's Laws counter clockwise counter electromotive force current dielectric constant dielectric flux
discharge electric electric conductivity electric field electric field intensity electric flux density electricity
electric potential electromagnet electromagnetic electromagnetic force electromotive force electrostatic flux electron
electronic electrostatics extremely high frequency extremely low frequency field flow flux
flux density gauss henry hertz high frequency induce induced
intensity intermediate frequency kilohertz luminous flux magnet-> permanent ~ magnetic
magnetic circulation magnetic dipole moment magnetic field magnetic field intensity magnetic flux magnetic flux density magnetic permeability
magnetic potential magnetic spin magnetizing flux magnetomotive force magnetron medium meter-kilogram-second
microwaves nuclear magnetic resonance permanent magnet permeability permittivity permittivity of free space radiant
repel right-hand rule siemens solenoid spin (magnetic) superposition tesla
transverse electric transverse magnetic ultraviolet weber weigh (a) weight zero (a gauge/meter)


antibaryon antiparticle baryon boson bottom (quark) charm (quark) delta resonance baryon
down (quark) electron electron neutrino eta-c meson eta resonance meson fermion gluon
kaon k-star resonance meson lambda baryon lambda resonance baryon leptons meson muon
muon neutrino N resonance baryon neutron omega baryon omega resonance baryon omega resonance particle
phi resonance meson photon pion proton quark rho meson rho resonance
sigma strange (quark) tau fermion tau neutrino top (quark) up (quark) W boson
xi baryon Z-zero boson


conservation of energy electron volt erg fulcrum horsepower impulse kilowatt
kinetic energy mechanical advantage microwatt milliwatt nanowatt newton-meter picowatt
potential energy power run down (power) watt work


See also "Wave Mechanics" below.

damped damping constant decay constant harmonic motion harmonic oscillation oscillate oscillator
pendulum retarding (motion) spring spring constant undamped vibrate, vibration vibrating body


area expansion calorie celsius conduct convection fahrenheit degree celsius
degree fahrenheit degree kelvin heat kelvin radiant specific heat volumetric expansion


See also "Dynamics" above and "Vectors and scalars" below.

acceleration air resistance arrow (vector) centimeter concurrent displacement distance
distance formula final (position, velocity, or acceleration) horizontal component initial (position, velocity, or acceleration) instantaneous kinematics magnitude
mass minute net force newton Newton's laws of motion pound-mass projectile motion
pulley second tangential tension vertical component yard


See also Chemistry under "Elements and compounds" and "States of matter".

alpha particle anti- (particle) antibaryon antimatter antiparticle atom atomic mass unit
atomic number atomic theory of matter atomic weight B0 meson baryon beta particle binding energy
Bohr magneton boson bottom (quark) charm (quark) collide, collision conservation of matter decay
delta resonance baryon disintegration constant down (quark) electron electron neutrino eta-c meson eta resonance meson
fermion fission fusion gamma ray gluon ground state ion
ionic ionization ionize isotope kaon k-star resonance meson lambda baryon
lambda resonance baryon leptons mass defect mass number matter meson micron
molar mass molecule muon muon neutrino N resonance baryon neutral neutron
non-baryonic matter nuclear nuclear reactor nucleus occupy (space) omega baryon omega resonance baryon
omega resonance meson orbital orbital quantum number parity particle permitted orbits phi resonance meson
photon pion proton quark radioactive radiation radiation absorbed dose
radiation hard reactor (nuclear) recombination reduced mass repulse, repulsion rho meson rho resonance meson
right-hand rule roentgen roentgen equivalent man roentgen equivalent physical shell (electron) sigma baryon spin
strange (quark) tau fermion tau neutrino top (quark) transition (between energy levels) up (quark) valence
vibrate, vibration W boson xi baryon x-ray Z-zero boson


See also "Wave Mechanics" below.

candela candela per square foot candela per square meter concave converge convex curvature
diffraction diverge erect image electroluminescent fiber optics focus footcandle
footlambert inverted image lambert lens-> concave ~ concave-concave ~ concave-convex ~
converging ~ convex ~ convex-convex ~ diverging ~ plano-concave ~ plano-convex ~ light
light beam lumen lumen per square foot lumen per square meter lumen per watt lumen-second lux
magnification magnify medium mirror opaque optical time-domain reflectrometry optics
parabolic phase difference polarize polarized light polarizability photon photonics
prism radius of curvature rainbow rain drop(s) ray reflection-> diffuse ~
regular ~ refraction-> index of ~ spectrum steradian superposition principle translucent
transparent triplet vibrate, vibration visible watt per steradian watt per steradian square meter yttrium aluminum garnet
yttrium iron garnet


See also "Nuclear and particle physics" above.

orbital Planck's constant principal quantum number quantum quantum leap quantum mechanics Schroedinger wave function
Uncertainty Principle work function (of a metal)


simultaneity, simultaneous space


angular frequency angular velocity angular velocity of precession center of gravity center of mass centripetal acceleration clockwise
counter clockwise cycle cycles per second line of rotation radian revolution revolutions per minute
revolutions per second right-hand rule rotate tangential torque uniform circular motion


absorption spectrum binding energy continuous spectrum emission spectrum ground state permitted orbits radial velocity
transition (between energy levels) wavelength of maximum intensity


absolute zero celsius conduction convection degree celsius degree fahrenheit degree kelvin
enthalpy entropy fahrenheit flow heat isobaric isothermal
kelvin thermodynamics vibrate, vibration


component direction geometric method negative of a vector quantity resolve(d) resultant
right-hand rule scalar vector-> the A ~ tail to head (adding ~s) the ~ A


See also Engineering under "Acoustics".

amplitude amplitude modulation amplitude modulation or frequency modulation angstrom antinode audio frequency baud
cathode ray oscilloscope cause cause and effect causality compression constructive interference crest
cycle cycles per second cyclical destructive interference Doppler effect Doppler shift frequency
frequency at resonance billion electron volts British thermal units incidence-> plane of ~ Hertz incident
incident ray increment in phase interference longitudinal compression longitudinal rarefaction longitudinal wave
medium nodal points node out of phase peak peak to peak period
periodic phase-> ~ angle ~ shift in ~ out of ~ pitch
principle of superposition radian rarefaction resonance sawtooth wave sinusoidal wave slit
spherical wave square wave superposition principle surface acoustic wave sympathetic vibration tetrahertz total harmonic distortion
transverse electromagnetic (wave) transverse magnetic (wave) transverse wave travelling wave tube triangular (wave) trough tuning fork
vibrate, vibration wave wave characteristic wave compression wave condensation wave displacement function waveform
wavelength wave rarefaction

For the signs for these terms, see Signs for technical/specialized vocabulary.

For additional relevant terms, see Representing the Greek alphabet, Vocabulary list for chemistry and Vocabulary list for engineering (especially "Circuitry and components" and "Fluid dynamics").