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the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element


positively charged particle of an atom


a subatomic particle that has the same mass as a proton but no electric charge


a negatively charged subatomic particle


an explanation that is based on prior scientific research or observations and that can be tested

atomic number

the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom


the basic unit of all living things

chemical change

a change that produces matter with a different composition than the original matter

chemical formula

a combination of chemical symbols and numbers to represent a substance

chemical reaction

the process by which one or more substances change to produce one or more different substances


distinct thread-like structures located in the nucleus composed of the genetic information of the cell


substances formed by the joining of elements through chemical bonding. every molecule of a compound is the same.

deductive reasoning

Thinking that moves from general principles to specific cases. Two or more premises used to reach a conclusion. The conclusion is ALWAYS true if premises are true

electromagnetic radiation

radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge


simple substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances


The capacity to do work or to produce heat

energy efficiency

the amount of useful energy that can come from a system

energy productivity

the same as energy efficiency, a measure of how much useful work is accomplished by a particular input of energy into a system

energy quality

A measure of an energy's source's ability to do useful work.


a research method in which the investigator manipulates one ormore factors to observe their effect on some behavior or mental proce while controlling other relevent factors by random assingment of subjects

feedback loop

Occurs when an output of matter, energy, or information is fed back into the system as an input and leads to changes in that system.

first law of thermodynamics

states that energy is conserved. It is neither created nor destroyed underneath normal conditions.


a throughput of matter and energy within the system at certain rates, and outputs to the environment.

frontier science

Preliminary scientific data, hypotheses, and models that have not been widely tested and accepted


the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein


the transfer of thermal energy

high-quality energy

energyconcentrated at a high capacity to do useful work

high-quality matter

highly concentrated, found near the earth's surface and has great potential as a resource

inductive reasoning

inferring general principles from specific examples

inorganic compounds

compounds that do not contain carbon


resources such as energy, matter and information from the environment entering a system


atoms of the same element that differ in the number of neutrons they contain

kinetic energy

the energy an object has due to its motion

law of conservation of energy

the law that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can be changed from one form to another

law of conservation of matter

the idea that matter is neither created nor destroyed in only changes form

low-quality energy

Energythat is dispersed and has little ability to do useful work. Ex: low temp heat

mass number

the sum of the numbers of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom


anything that occupies space and has mass

matter quality

a measure of how useful a substance is, based on availability, accessibility, and concentration


the smallest particle (one or more atoms) of a substance that has all the properties of that substance

natural radioactive decay

A nuclear change in which unstable isotopes spontaneously emit fast-moving chunks of matter (alpha or beta particles), high-energy radiation (gamma rays), or both at a fixed rate.

negative feedback loop

A feedback loop that causes a system to change in the opposite direction from which it is moving

nuclear change

Occurs when nuclei of certain isotopes spontaneously change or are made to change into nuclei of different isotopes.

nuclear fission

A nuclear reaction in which a massive nucleus splits into smaller nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy

nuclear fusion

the combination of the nuclei of small atoms to form a larger nucleus; releases energy

organic compounds

carbon-based molecules (most abundant compound besides water)

paradigm shift

Rare, radical changes in thought or scientific views.


a value that indicated the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0-14, based on the proportion of H+ ions.

physical change

one in which the form or appearance of matter changes, but not its composition

positive feedback loop

Causes a system to change further in the same direction.

potential energy

stored energy that is latent but available for use. A rock poised at the top of a hill or water stored behind a dam are examples.

radioactive isotopes

their nuclei are unstable and break down at a constant rate of time


heavier isotopes that are unstable and tend to decompose to become more stable


Search for understanding the natural world using inquiry and experimentation

scientific (natural) law

A description of what scientists find happening in nature repeatedly in thesame way without exception.

scientific hypothesis

is a testable assumption, or guess, often used to explain an observed phonomenon

scientific theory

a well-tested concept that explains a wide range of observations

second law of thermodynamics

any conversion of heat energy to useful work, some of the initial energy input is always converted to low quality, more dispersed, less useful energy.

synergistic interaction

Interaction of two or more factors or processes so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of their separate effects


the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects


a collection of structures, cycles, and processes that relate to and interact with each other


rate of flow of matter, energy and information into a system - a process that allows input to be changed so it is useful to system (text example: gasoline to car)

time delays

Time lag between the input of a stimulus into a system and the response to the stimulus

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