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Terms from the Physics Exam Study Guide, Geeks of the Weeks, and units. Just tell me if any corrections need to be made!

percent error

[(experimental value - actual value) ÷ actual value] × 100


one goes up, the other goes down


one goes up, the other goes up; one goes down, the other goes down


how two things relate or connect to each other


a continuous path for electron motion that has a wire, EMF source, and resistor


Definition:amount of electrons
Symbol: c
Unit: Coulombs (c)

static electricity

buildup of charge on a surface


a substance that allows electrons to move freely


a substance that does not allow electrons to move freely


the pull from protons to the electrons (electromotive force)


difference in charge (electric potential difference)


Definition: a push or pull of electrons
Symbol: V
Unit: Volts (V)


Definition: speed of electrons through the wire
Symbol: I
Unit: Amps (A)


Definition: an object that slows down electrons
Symbol: R
Unit: Ohms (Ω)

Ohm's law

Voltage = Current x Resistance (V = IR)


a diagram of a circuit

grounding wire

a wire that goes directly to the ground for safety reasons


a circuit with one pathway and one or more resistors


a circuit with one or more pathways and one or more resistors


measures current and must always be connected in series


measures voltage and must always be connected in parallel

circuit breaker

a fuse with an ammeter, shuts off circuit when current gets to high


one time only use, metal snaps and breaks the circuit


controls the flow of electrons(open - no electrons flow or closed - electrons flow)


how much something speeds up each second

constant speed

acceleration = 0, Fnet = 0


distance traveled in a certain time


how far somethings travels


speed in a given direction


the number in a vector


the way that something travels


a number with a direction


a number with units


math formula to determine a side when given a side and an angle


Definition: a push or pull
Unit: Newtons (N)


an objects tendency to resist change in motion/direction

Newtonian pair

two things pulling on each other with the same force


amount of matter in an object


force due to gravity


force that pulls everything to the earth

force of motion

the largest pull in a direction

force applied

the force acted upon an object

force of friction

a force working in opposition to the force of motion

free body diagram

diagram showing the forces applied to an object


sides of a graph

graph title

y axis vs x axis


amount of energy used over a given time


anything that causes motion


energy spent

potential energy

energy stored within an object

kinetic energy

energy of motion


the distance between two points of a wave


the time it takes to complete a full wave cycle


the distance from the middle of the wave to the crest/trough


the stuff surrounding something


frequency in sound waves


amount of energy


amplitude in a sound wave


a triangular object that bends light

Doppler effect

when the source of a sound is closer, the frequency gets higher (inverse relationship)


medium is moving perpendicular to the wave


number of crests that pass a point per time interval


medium is moving parallel to the wave


light hits and bounces back at a different wavelength

sonic boom

when an object is going faster than the speed of sound and creates a condensation/Mach cone

Mach number

speed of object ÷ 331 (speed of sound)


a solid object's ability to amplify a frequency


surrounds vitreous, acts like a camera film


process color and fine detail


process light and side vision


clear covering helps focus light

optic nerve

sends signals from photoreceptors to the brain's visual center


thick jelly in the center of the eye


center of the retina, most photo receptor cells


colored part of eye that reacts to amount of light, may contract or dilate.


central circular opening in the colored part of the eye

stirrup, hammer, anvil

three small bones, help amplify and transfer sound to the inner ear

auditory nerve

sends the electrical impulses to the brain

tympanic membrane

located in the middle ear at the end of the auditory canal, also called eardrum


converts the vibrations into electrical impulses that are then sent to the auditory nerve

auditory hairs

vibrations cause these hair cells to move, which creates nerve signals that are then sent to the brain

outer ear

outside of the ear

ear canal

first destination of sound waves, closest to outer ear

Albert Einstein

Major Contribution: won Nobel Prize in 1921 for the photoelectric effect
Fun Fact: came up with the special theory of relativity

Alessandro (Giusseppe Antonio Anastasio) Volta

Major Contribution: credited with the development of the first modern battery (Voltaic pile)
Fun Fact: was made a Count by Emperor Napoleon

Georg Simon Ohm

Major Contribution: Ohm's law (V = IR)
Fun Fact: spent most of his life as a high school teacher

James Gaius Watt

Major Contribution: credited with partly starting the industrial revolution
Fun Fact:improved the steam engine

Charles Kao

Major Contribution: invented the fiber optic cable
Fun Fact: considered "father of broadband technology"

Heinrich Hertz

Major Contribution: first person to broadcast and receive a radio wave
Fun Fact: the measure of frequency (Hertz) was named in his honor

Ernst Mach

Major Contribution:determined that the speed of sound depends on the medium, temperature of medium can affect speed
Fun Fact: his other work included wave particle physics and inertia of stars

Christian Doppler

Major Contribution:discovered the Doppler effect
Fun Fact:was born into a family of stonemasons but was to weak for manual labor

Henry Cavendish

Major Contribution:determined the universal constant for gravity (9.8 m/s²)
Fun Fact:discovered hydrogen but it wasn't named

Isaac Newton

Major Contribution: universal gravitation and Newton's laws of motion
Fun Fact:first scientist to be buried at Westminster Abbey


Major Contribution:discovered x-rays

Carl Sagan

Major Contribution:brought the most complex scientific subjects to the mainstream through his writing
Fun Fact:first person to artificially produce ATP

Johannes Kepler

Major Contribution:first person to explain how planets orbit the sun
Fun Fact: determined Christ's birthday

Rube Goldberg

Major Contribution:drew cartoons that inspired the building of the first Rube Goldberg machines
Fun Fact: had a Civil Engineering degree for UCSF

acceleration due to gravity (Earth)

9.8 m/s²

speed of sound in air

331 m/s

slope of a graph

x axis ÷ y axis

meter (m)

distance (unit)

second (s)

time (unit)

joule (J)

energy (unit)

newton (N)

force (unit)

watt (w)

power (unit)

volt (v)

voltage (unit)

kilogram (kg)

mass (unit)

meters per second

velocity (unit)

meters per second per second (m/s²)

acceleration (unit)

coulomb (c)

charge (unit)

amp (a)

current (unit)

dollar ($)

cost (unit)

Ohm (Ω)

resistance (unit)

percent (%)

percent error (unit)

Hertz (Hz)

frequency (unit)

KiloWattHour (KWH)

energy (unit) (only to determine electrical energy)

decibel (dB)

amplitude (unit)

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