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Martindale's Calculators On-Line Center   has 18,000 calculators, simulations, and virtual labs for just about everything!!!


Sites with a variety of calculators, vlabs and sims


edinformatics physics directory




educypedia physics directory

How Stuff Works

Applets for High School Physics

Wiley-mechanics simulations

JavaBoutique (TM) Boutique

U Oregon-killer applets!!

Contemp CollegePhysics

Web-based student activities


Physlet Illustrations from Gustavus Adolphus College

Pre-labs for Introductory Physics Experiments 

Eckerd College Physlets


BU Physlabs BU

Cal Techs SIMS are very good!***CalTech applet below.






Units Use the three fundamental units (mass, length, time) to describe other units. new Java Web Start version.



Inverse Square Measure the flux at different distances from a star using a noisy detector. Inverse Square Applet for Java Plugin



Atomic Emission Applet for Java Plugin

3D Atom Finally, a 3D applet that doesn't require Java3D. This started out as just an attempt to create a 3D renderer from scratch. For some reason, I decided to model an atomic nucleus. The result looked good enough that I just had to put some electrons in there too. Along the way, I accidentally produced something useful. All the electrons are displayed in their proper subshells, although relative distances are not to scale.

3D DNA Molecule Uses the same code as the Atom applet. Less useful, but it is kinda cool looking, and shows that the code is capable of rendering more complex stuff.



Elements Look up the visible spectra of the elements. Both emission and absorption lines, as well as different ionization levels.


Greenhouse Calculates global temperatures based on population growth and increased greenhouse gases. Be careful, raise the temperature too much and the ice caps melt.

Lunar Phases This applet shows how the phase of the moon relates to its position relative to the Earth and Sun. Lunar Phases Applet for Java Plugin


Stellar Parallax Measure the distance to nearby stars using stellar parallax, then plot them on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.  Parallax Applet for Java Plugin

Galaxy Crash  Smash two galaxies together, sit back and watch the destruction.  GalCrash Applet for Java Plugin

Wobble Look at the redshift of stars and try to determine if there are large planets influencing them.

Equivalent Width Measuring Applet for Stellar Spectra Displays stellar spectral lines and allows you to determine the continuum.

Solar System Simulation A realtime n-body simulation of the solar system. Requires Java3D  Solar System Applet for Java Plugin

3D Jupiter Simulation N-body simulation of Jupiter and its four largest moons. Requires Java3D 3D Jupiter Applet for Java Plugin

2D Jupiter Simulation A two dimensional representation of Jupiter and its moons 2D Jupiter Applet for Java Plugin

Blackbody Curve and Stellar Spectra measure the temperature and total flux. Blackbody Applet for Java Plugin

Asteroid Impact Simulator Models the cratering of a planetary surface by asteroids. Asteroid Applet for Java Plugin

Hubble Expansion Law Examine the emission lines of galaxies to determine their redshift and calculate the expansion rate of the universe.
Hubble Applet for Java Plugin

Stellar and Galactic Spectra Add stellar spectra together to create galaxy spectra.

Virtual Planetarium Stars, constellations, planets. Watch them all twirl through the sky in a realistic manner. Requires Java3D.



Electrical Circuits Build electrical circuits out of resistors and batteries and measure amperage and voltage. Under construction.
Circuit Applet for Java Plugin


Music Visualization Tool This applet plays a music file and visually displays the pitch and duration of each note. Have a look, it's easier to show you than it is to explain.

Moonlight Sonata
Brahm's Piano Concerto #1
Star Wars Cantina Theme

The original idea for this comes from Stephen Malinowski's Music Animation Machine. My contribution was to rewrite it in Java and make it web-accessable.




Grades Nine Through Twelve – Physics

Motion and Forces

1. Newton's laws predict the motion of most objects. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to solve problems that involve constant speed and average speed.

b. Students know that when forces are balanced, no acceleration occurs; thus an object continues to move at a constant speed or stays at rest (Newton's first law).
c. Students know how to apply the law F =ma to solve one-dimensional motion problems that involve constant forces (
Newton's second law).

Friction Applet for Java Plugin Inclined plane with friction **** Fun
d. Students know that when one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object always exerts a force of equal magnitude and in the opposite direction (
Newton's third law).

Force and Friction

Inclined Plane

Equilibrium of Three Forces

Resultant of Forces (Addition of Vectors)

Resolution of a Force into Components

Inclined Plane

Newton's Second Law Experiment
e. Students know the relationship between the universal law of gravitation and the effect of gravity on an object at the surface of Earth.

Projectile motion

Free Fall Lab - Terminal Velocity

Free FallThis a ball in free fall and displays a position vs. time graph or a velocity vs. time graph.

One Dimensional Motion Simulations by Masatoshi Ito, Department of Physics, Meijo University

Balloons Toss a water balloon from the top building
f. Students know applying a force to an object perpendicular to the direction of its motion causes the object to change direction but not speed (e.g., Earth's gravitational force causes a satellite in a circular orbit to change direction but not speed).


g. Students know circular motion requires the application of a constant force directed toward the center of the circle.

Carousel (centripetal force)

Coriolis and Centrifugal Forces

Circular and Simple Harmonic Motion  horizontal and perpendicular components of circular motion.

h.* Students know
Newton's laws are not exact but provide very good approximations unless an quantum effects are important.

i.* Students know how to solve two-dimensional trajectory problems.

****Shoot the Monkey -  Cannon Applet for Java Plugin

Projectile Motion

Projectile Motion

Golf Range!

Projectile Motion
j.* Students know how to resolve two-dimensional vectors into their components and calculate the magnitude and direction of a vector from its components.

Resultant of forces (addition of vectors)

Resolution of a Force into Components

Vector Addition

Vector Calculator vector addition by Julio Gea-Banacloche, University of Arkansas

k.* Students know how to solve two-dimensional problems involving balanced forces (statics).

Lever Principle

Seesaw Simulation 

See-Saw Torque

Pulley System

Lever Principle
l.* Students know how to solve problems in circular motion by using the formula for centripetal acceleration in the following form: a =v2/r.

Carousel (Centripetal Force)The Conservation of Angular Momentum
m.* Students know how to solve problems involving the forces between two electric charges at a distance (Coulomb's law) or the forces between two masses at a distance (universal gravitation).




Conservation of Energy and Momentum
2. The laws of conservation of energy and momentum provide a way to predict and describe the movement of objects. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to calculate kinetic energy by using the formula E =(1/2)mv2.

b. Students know how to calculate changes in gravitational potential energy near Earth by using the formula (change in potential energy) = mgh (h is the change in the elevation).

c. Students know how to solve problems involving conservation of energy in simple systems, such as falling objects.

d. Students know how to calculate momentum as the product mv.

e. Students know momentum is a separately conserved quantity different from energy.

Momentum Applet for Java Plugin  - Collision Cart Simulation ****
f. Students know an unbalanced force on an object produces a change in its momentum.

g. Students know how to solve problems involving elastic and inelastic collisions in one dimension by using the principles of conservation of momentum and energy.

One-Dimensional Collision

Two-Dimensional Collision

Inelastic Collision

Elastic Collision

Seesaw Simulation

Newton's Cradle

Air Track

2D Collisions

Hard Spheres

Elastic and Inelastic Collision

Elastic Collisions

Collisions: Light, Heavy, Same  What happens when two things crash into each other?

In Which Direction Will It Roll?

See-Saw Torque Forces, Accelerations, & Car Accidents - Videos of car crashes and physics


h.* Students know how to solve problems involving conservation of energy in simple systems with various sources of potential energy, such as capacitors and springs.


Heat and Thermodynamics
3. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, although in many processes energy is transferred to the environment as heat. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know heat flow and work are two forms of energy transfer between systems.

b. Students know that the work done by a heat engine that is working in a cycle is the difference between the heat flow into the engine at high temperature and the heat flow out at a lower  temperature (first law of thermodynamics) and that this
is an example of the law of conservation of energy.

c. Students know the internal energy of an object includes the energy of random motion of the object's atoms and molecules, often referred to as thermal energy. The greater the temperature of the object, the greater the energy of motion of the atoms and molecules that make up the object.

d. Students know that most processes tend to decrease the order of a system over time and that energy levels are eventually distributed uniformly.

e. Students know that entropy is a quantity that measures the order or disorder of a system and that this quantity is larger for a more disordered system.

f.* Students know the statement "Entropy tends to increase" is a law of statistical probability that governs all closed systems (second law of thermodynamics).

g.* Students know how to solve problems involving heat flow, work, and efficiency in a heat engine and know that all real engines lose some heat to their surroundings.


4. Waves have characteristic properties that do not depend on the type of wave. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know waves carry energy from one place to another.
b. Students know how to identify transverse and longitudinal waves in mechanical media, such as springs and ropes, and on the earth (seismic waves).
c. Students know how to solve problems involving wavelength, frequency, and wave speed.
d. Students know sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in which it propagates.
e. Students know radio waves, light, and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 3×108m/s (186,000 miles/second).
f. Students know how to identify the characteristic properties of waves: interference (beats), diffraction, refraction, Doppler effect, and polarization.
Electric and Magnetic Phenomena
5. Electric and magnetic phenomena are related and have many practical applications.
As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to predict the voltage or current in simple direct current (DC) electric circuits constructed from batteries, wires, resistors, and capacitors.
b. Students know how to solve problems involving Ohm's law.
c. Students know any resistive element in a DC circuit dissipates energy, which heats the resistor. Students can calculate the power (rate of energy dissipation) in any resistive circuit element by using the formula

Power = IR (potential difference) ×I (current) = I2R.
d. Students know the properties of transistors and the role of transistors in electric circuits.
e. Students know charged particles are sources of electric fields and are subject to the forces of the electric fields from other charges.
f. Students know magnetic materials and electric currents (moving electric charges) are sources of magnetic fields and are subject to forces arising from the magnetic fields of other sources.
g. Students know how to determine the direction of a magnetic field produced by a current flowing in a straight wire or in a coil.
h. Students know changing magnetic fields produce electric fields, thereby inducing currents in nearby conductors.
i. Students know plasmas, the fourth state of matter, contain ions or free electrons or both and conduct electricity.
j.* Students know electric and magnetic fields contain energy and act as vector force fields.
k.* Students know the force on a charged particle in an electric field is qE, where E is the electric field at the position of the particle and q is the charge of the particle.
 l.* Students know how to calculate the electric field resulting from a point charge. m.* Students know static electric fields have as their source some arrangement of electric charges.
n.* Students know the magnitude of the force on a moving particle (with charge q) in a magnetic field is qvB sin(a), where a is the angle between v and B (v and B are the magnitudes of vectors v and B, respectively), and students use the right-hand rule to find the direction of this force.
o.* Students know how to apply the concepts of electrical and gravitational potential energy to solve problems involving conservation of energy.

Atomic and Molecular Structure
1. The periodic table displays the elements in increasing atomic number and shows how periodicity of the physical and chemical properties of the elements relates to atomic structure. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to relate the position of an element in the periodic table to its atomic number and atomic mass.
b. Students know how to use the periodic table to identify metals, semimetals, non-metals, and halogens.
c. Students know how to use the periodic table to identify alkali metals, alkaline earth metals and transition metals, trends in ionization energy, electronegativity, and the relative sizes of ions and atoms.
d. Students know how to use the periodic table to determine the number of electrons available for bonding.
e. Students know the nucleus of the atom is much smaller than the atom yet contains most of its mass.
f.* Students know how to use the periodic table to identify the lanthanide, actinide, and transactinide elements and know that the transuranium elements were synthesized and identified in laboratory experiments through the use of nuclear

g.* Students know how to relate the position of an element in the periodic table to its quantum electron configuration and to its reactivity with other elements in the table.
h.* Students know the experimental basis for Thomson's discovery of the electron,
Rutherford's nuclear atom, Millikan's oil drop experiment, and Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect.
i.* Students know the experimental basis for the development of the quantum theory of atomic structure and the historical importance of the Bohr model of the atom.
j.* Students know that spectral lines are the result of transitions of electrons between energy levels and that these lines correspond to photons with a frequency related to the energy spacing between levels by using Planck's relationship (E =hv).


Chemical Bonds
2. Biological, chemical, and physical properties of matter result from the ability of atoms to form bonds from electrostatic forces between electrons and protons and between atoms and molecules. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know atoms combine to form molecules by sharing electrons to form covalent or metallic bonds or by exchanging electrons to form ionic bonds.

b. Students know chemical bonds between atoms in molecules such as H2, CH4, NH3, H2CCH2, N2, Cl2, and many large biological molecules are covalent.
c. Students know salt crystals, such as NaCl, are repeating patterns of positive and negative ions held together by electrostatic attraction.
d. Students know the atoms and molecules in liquids move in a random pattern relative to one another because the intermolecular forces are too weak to hold the atoms or molecules in a solid form.
e. Students know how to draw Lewis dot structures.
f.* Students know how to predict the shape of simple molecules and their polarity from Lewis dot structures.
g.* Students know how electronegativity and ionization energy relate to bond formation.
h.* Students know how to identify solids and liquids held together by Van der Waals forces or hydrogen bonding and relate these forces to volatility and boiling/melting point temperatures.

Conservation of Matter and Stoichiometry
3. The conservation of atoms in chemical reactions leads to the principle of conserva-
tion of matter and the ability to calculate the mass of products and reactants. As a
basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to describe chemical reactions by writing balanced equations.
b. Students know the quantity one mole is set by defining one mole of carbon 12
atoms to have a mass of exactly 12 grams.
c. Students know one mole equals 6.02×1023
particles (atoms or molecules).
d. Students know how to determine the molar mass of a molecule from its chemical
formula and a table of atomic masses and how to convert the mass of a molecular
substance to moles, number of particles, or volume of gas at standard tempera-
ture and pressure.
e. Students know how to calculate the masses of reactants and products in a chemi-
cal reaction from the mass of one of the reactants or products and the relevant
atomic masses.
f.* Students know how to calculate percent yield in a chemical reaction.
g.* Students know how to identify reactions that involve oxidation and reduction and
how to balance oxidation-reduction reactions.
Gases and Their Properties
4. The kinetic molecular theory describes the motion of atoms and molecules and
explains the properties of gases. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the random motion of molecules and their collisions with a surface
create the observable pressure on that surface.
b. Students know the random motion of molecules explains the diffusion of gases.
c. Students know how to apply the gas laws to relations between the pressure, tem-
perature, and volume of any amount of an ideal gas or any mixture of ideal
d. Students know the values and meanings of standard temperature and pressure
e. Students know how to convert between the Celsius and Kelvin temperature scales.
f. Students know there is no temperature lower than 0 Kelvin.
g.* Students know the kinetic theory of gases relates the absolute temperature of a gas
to the average kinetic energy of its molecules or atoms.
h.* Students know how to solve problems by using the ideal gas law in the form
PV =nRT.
i.* Students know how to apply
Dalton's law of partial pressures to describe the
composition of gases and Graham's law to predict diffusion of gases.

Acids and Bases
5. Acids, bases, and salts are three classes of compounds that form ions in water solu-
tions. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the observable properties of acids, bases, and salt solutions.
b. Students know acids are hydrogen-ion-donating and bases are hydrogen-ion-
accepting substances.
 c. Students know strong acids and bases fully dissociate and weak acids and bases
partially dissociate.
d. Students know how to use the pH scale to characterize acid and base solutions.
e.* Students know the Arrhenius, Brønsted-Lowry, and Lewis acid­base definitions.
f.* Students know how to calculate pH from the hydrogen-ion concentration.
g.* Students know buffers stabilize pH in acid­base reactions.
6. Solutions are homogenous mixtures of two or more substances. As a basis for under-
standing this concept:
a. Students know the definitions of solute and solvent.
b. Students know how to describe the dissolving process at the molecular level by
using the concept of random molecular motion.
c. Students know temperature, pressure, and surface area affect the dissolving pro-
d. Students know how to calculate the concentration of a solute in terms of grams per
liter, molarity, parts per million, and percent composition.
e.* Students know the relationship between the molality of a solute in a solution and
the solution's depressed freezing point or elevated boiling point.
f.* Students know how molecules in a solution are separated or purified by the meth-
ods of chromatography and distillation.
Chemical Thermodynamics
7. Energy is exchanged or transformed in all chemical reactions and physical changes
of matter. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to describe temperature and heat flow in terms of the motion
of molecules (or atoms).
b. Students know chemical processes can either release (exothermic) or absorb (en-
dothermic) thermal energy.
c. Students know energy is released when a material condenses or freezes and is
absorbed when a material evaporates or melts.
d. Students know how to solve problems involving heat flow and temperature
changes, using known values of specific heat and latent heat of phase change.
e.* Students know how to apply Hess's law to calculate enthalpy change in a reaction.
f.* Students know how to use the Gibbs free energy equation to determine whether a
reaction would be spontaneous.
Reaction Rates
8. Chemical reaction rates depend on factors that influence the frequency of collision of
reactant molecules. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the rate of reaction is the decrease in concentration of reactants or
the increase in concentration of products with time.
b. Students know how reaction rates depend on such factors as concentration, tem-
perature, and pressure.
c. Students know the role a catalyst plays in increasing the reaction rate.
d.* Students know the definition and role of activation energy in a chemical reaction.

Chemical Equilibrium
9. Chemical equilibrium is a dynamic process at the molecular level. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to use LeChatelier's principle to predict the effect of changes
in concentration, temperature, and pressure.
b. Students know equilibrium is established when forward and reverse reaction rates
are equal.
c.* Students know how to write and calculate an equilibrium constant expression for
a reaction.
Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
10. The bonding characteristics of carbon allow the formation of many different organic
molecules of varied sizes, shapes, and chemical properties and provide the bio-
chemical basis of life. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know large molecules (polymers), such as proteins, nucleic acids, and
starch, are formed by repetitive combinations of simple subunits.
b. Students know the bonding characteristics of carbon that result in the formation of a large variety of structures ranging from simple hydrocarbons to complex poly-mers and biological molecules.
c. Students know amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.