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Physical Science Vocabulary



Absorbs- To take in
Acceleration- A change in velocity over time
Amplitude- The height of a wave. Measured from rest to crest.
Angle of Incidence-The angle between the normal and the incoming wave.
Area-Length x Width x Height
Atom-Smallest unit still showing properties of the element. Protons and Neutrons in
Atomic Mass NumberWeight of the atom. Numbers of protons and neutrons.
Atomic Number- Number of electrons.
Attract- To come together. "Opposites Attract"
Center of Gravity- The point on a body where all weight is equally balanced all around. The point where gravity seems to pull.
Chemical Energy- Energy created in a chemical reaction.
Conclusion- Results, answer to a problem.
Conduction- Transfer of heat by collision of molecules.
Contract- To come together.
ConvectionTransfer of heat in liquids and gases by means of currents.
Crest- Highest point in a wave.
Diatomic- Two Atoms.
Diffraction- Going around a barrier. ie. lagoon
Echo- Bouncing back of a wave. ie. echo or reflection
Electromagnetic Spectrum- Total range of all electromagnetic waves.
Electron- Negatively charged particle. Found outside of the nucleus in an atom.
Equilibrium- Forces are balanced. Net Force equals Zero.
Element- Building block of matter. Smallest unit.
Force- A push or pull. A force can start, stop or change direction of motion.
Frequency- Number of waves that pass a point in one second.
Friction- A force that opposes motion. "Rubbing"
Fulcrum- Pivot point of a lever.
Geographic Poles- Actual North and South poles. Axis of the Earth.
Gravitational Force- The force of attraction between two objects. The strength of the force depends upon two things: 1) Mass of the object 2) Distance between objects. ie. The larger the mass of the object the stronger the gravitational force acting on that object. The closer together two objects are the stonger the gravitational force between the two objects.
Gravity- The force of attraction between two objects.
Heat- A form of energy. Makes molecules move faster.
Horizontal- Side to side
Hypothesis- A possible answer to a problem.
Inference- A guess based on observations.
Infrared Light- Part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Lower energy than Red visible light. Heat
Insulation- Blocks the flow of energy.
Interference- Two types: 1) Constructive: two waves come in contact; the result is a wave with a larger amplitude 2) Destructive: two waves come in contact; the result is a wave with a smaller amplitude
Joule- Unit used to measure work.
Kilometer- 1000 meters. Unit used to measure distance
Kintetic Energy- Energy of motion.
Longitudinal Wave- Medium moves in the same direction as the energy. Back and forth.
Magnetic Field- Area or region of attraction around a magnet. The magnetic field is strongest at the poles.
Magnetic Poles- North and South. Area on a magnet where the force of attraction is the strongest.
Magnetism-Force of attraction and repulsion
Mass- How many particles are in a piece of matter.
Matter- anything that has mass and volume. ie. Solid, Liquid and Gas.
Medium- The matter that waves travel through.
Meter- Unit used to measure distance.
Mirage- Caused by reflection of light waves. ie. an optical illusion
Model- A discription or picture of something.
Molecule- Made up of two or more elements.
Monatomic- One atom.
Neutron- Non-charged particle in the nucleus of an atom. To find the number of neutrons: subtract the atomic mass and the atomic number.
NEWTON- Scientist responsible for the Laws of Motion
newton- Unit used to measure force.
Noble Gas- He and down on the periodic table. Outer shell full with electrons. Usually do not combine.
Nucleus- Center of the atom.
Observation- What you record using your senses.
Orbits- What electrons travel on.
Parallel Circuit- Two or more paths for the electrons to travel. ie. If one goes out the others stay lit.
Pitch- Highness or lowness of a sound.
Polarizing Lens- Blocks glare
Potential Energy- Energy of position.
Power- How much work you do in a certain amount of time.
Prediction- A guess about the future.
Prism- A triangular piece of glass that is used to separate light into diferent wavelengths.
Reflection- Bouncing back of a wave. ie. echo or reflection in a mirror.
Refraction- Bending of a light wave as it travels through a barrier. The wave will change speed and direction.
Repel- To move away from. "Like Repel"
Resistance- Opposition to a force.
ROY G BIV- The colors of the visible spectrum. Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
Scientific Method- A series of steps used to solve problems.
Series Circuit- Current only has one path in which to travel.
Simple Machines-
Speed- Distance traveled in a certain amout of time.
Temperature- A degree of hottness.
Terminal Velocity- When a falling object stops accelerating
Thermal Energy- How much kinetic energy is in the object. Heat Activity.
Transvers Wave- Particles move at right angles to the direction of the waves energy.
Trough- Lowest point of the wave.
Ultrasonic- Sounds above the range of human hearing. Above 20,000 Hz
Velocity- Speed with direction
Vertical- Up and down
Wavelength- Distance from one identical point on a wave to another. ie. Crest to crest or trough to trough.
Weight- Measure of the pull of gravity on an objects mass.
Work- Moving an object some distance using a force. Two conditions must be met in order for work to be done: 1) An object must move. 2) A force must act on the object in the direction the object moves.