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Glossary of Physics Terms
beginning with letter A
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absorbed dose Tweet Definition of absorbed dose Like Definition of absorbed dose on Facebook
  1. The amount of energy imparted by nuclear (or ionizing) radiation to unit mass of absorbing material. The unit is the rad.
absorber Tweet Definition of absorber Like Definition of absorber on Facebook
  1. One who, or that which, absorbs.
absorption Tweet Definition of absorption Like Definition of absorption on Facebook
  1. The act or process of absorbing or sucking in anything, or of being absorbed and made to disappear; as, the absorption of bodies in a whirlpool, the absorption of a smaller tribe into a larger.
  2. (context, chemistry, physics) An imbibing or reception by molecular or chemical action; as, the absorption of light, heat, electricity, etc.
  3. (physiology) In living organisms, the process by which the materials of growth and nutrition are absorbed and conveyed to the tissues and organs.
  4. Entire engrossment or occupation of the mind; as, absorption in some employment.
absorption band Tweet Definition of absorption band Like Definition of absorption band on Facebook
  1. (physics),(chemistry) one of any number of ranges of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation absorbed by a substance
absorptivity Tweet Definition of absorptivity Like Definition of absorptivity on Facebook
noun (absorptiviti, es)
  1. The quality of being absorptive; absorptiveness.
accelerator Tweet Definition of accelerator Like Definition of accelerator on Facebook
noun Often used adjectivally
  1. One who, or that which, accelerates.
  2. A device for causing acceleration.
  3. A substance which speeds up chemical reactions.
  4. accelerator pedal.
accelerometer Tweet Definition of accelerometer Like Definition of accelerometer on Facebook
  1. An instrument for measuring acceleration
acceptor Tweet Definition of acceptor Like Definition of acceptor on Facebook
  1. One who accepts.
  2. (context, In law and commerce) one who accepts a draft or a bill of exchange; a drawee after he has accepted.
  3. (chemistry) an atom or molecule which can accept an electron to form a chemical bond.
  4. (physics) a chemical acceptor atom forming a positive hole in a semiconductor.
acoustician Tweet Definition of acoustician Like Definition of acoustician on Facebook
  1. One versed in acoustics, especially a physicist who specializes in acoustics
acoustics Tweet Definition of acoustics Like Definition of acoustics on Facebook
noun See -ics regarding the treatment of such nouns as singular.
  1. The quality of a space for doing music.
Until they discovered the non-contractual concrete slab under the stage floor, everyone at Carnegie Hall wondered, since the renovations, why the had changed.
  1. (physics) The science of sounds, teaching their nature, phenomena, and laws.
Acoustics, then, or the science of sound, is a very considerable branch of physics. - Sir John Herschel.
actinic Tweet Definition of actinic Like Definition of actinic on Facebook
  1. Of, or relating to actinism
adhere Tweet Definition of adhere Like Definition of adhere on Facebook
verb (adher, ing)
  1. (intransitive) To stick fast or cleave
    1. etymology 2 , cleave, as a glutinous substance does; to become joined or united; as, wax to the finger; the lungs sometimes adhere to the pleura.
    2. (intransitive) To hold, be attached, or devoted; to remain fixed, either by personal union or conformity of faith, principle, or opinion; as, men adhere to a party, a cause, a leader, a church.
    3. (intransitive) To be consistent or coherent; to be in accordance; to agree.
adhesion Tweet Definition of adhesion Like Definition of adhesion on Facebook
  1. The ability of a substance to stick to an unlike substance.
  2. A feeling of attachment (e.g. an infant to its parents).
  3. An agreement to adhere
  4. (medicine) An abnormal union of surface by the formation of new tissue resulting from an inflammatory process.
adhesive Tweet Definition of adhesive Like Definition of adhesive on Facebook
  1. A substance, such as glue, that provides or promotes adhesion.
  1. sticky, Sticky; tenacious, as glutinous substances.
  2. apt, Apt or tending to adhere; clinging.
aeolipile Tweet Definition of aeolipile Like Definition of aeolipile on Facebook
  1. an instrument used to demonstrate the force at which heated vapour escapes from a vessel through a narow aperture
aerate Tweet Definition of aerate Like Definition of aerate on Facebook
verb (aerates, aerating, aerated)
  1. To supply oxygen or air.
aerometer Tweet Definition of aerometer Like Definition of aerometer on Facebook
  1. An instrument used to measure the mass and density of gases
air pressure Tweet Definition of air pressure Like Definition of air pressure on Facebook
  1. atmospheric pressure
allowed Tweet Definition of allowed Like Definition of allowed on Facebook
  1. (past of, allow)
alpha particle Tweet Definition of alpha particle Like Definition of alpha particle on Facebook
  1. A positively charged nucleus of a helium-4 atom (consisting of two protons and two neutrons), emitted as a consequence of radioactivity.
alpha ray Tweet Definition of alpha ray Like Definition of alpha ray on Facebook
  1. a stream of alpha particles.
amplitude Tweet Definition of amplitude Like Definition of amplitude on Facebook
  1. the measure of something's size; magnitude
  2. (mathematics) the maximum absolute value of the vertical component of a periodic curve
  3. (physics) the maximum absolute value of some quantity that varies periodically
angular Tweet Definition of angular Like Definition of angular on Facebook
  1. (context, anatomy) A bone in the base of the lower jaw of many birds, reptiles, and fishes.
  1. Relating to an angle or to angles; having an angle or angles; forming an angle or corner; sharp-cornered; pointed; as, an angular figure.
  2. Measured by an angle; as, angular distance.
  3. (Figurative) Lean; lank; raw-boned; ungraceful; sharp and stiff in character; as, remarkably angular in his habits and appearance; an angular female.
angular acceleration Tweet Definition of angular acceleration Like Definition of angular acceleration on Facebook
  1. (classical mechanics) The rate of change of angular velocity, often represented by α.
angular velocity Tweet Definition of angular velocity Like Definition of angular velocity on Facebook
  1. (math) (physics) The angle travelled, in a given time, by a body rotating about an axis, the rate of motion through an angle.
anharmonic Tweet Definition of anharmonic Like Definition of anharmonic on Facebook
  1. Perturbed harmonic.
    An anharmonic oscillator is a perturbed version of a harmonic oscillator.
anisotropic Tweet Definition of anisotropic Like Definition of anisotropic on Facebook
  1. (physics) Having properties that differ according to the direction of measurement; exhibiting anisotropy.
The crystal has an structure, as it is stronger along its length than laterally.
antielectron Tweet Definition of antielectron Like Definition of antielectron on Facebook
  1. (physics) a positron
antimatter Tweet Definition of antimatter Like Definition of antimatter on Facebook
noun (uncountable)
  1. (physics) Matter that is composed of the antiparticles of those that constitute normal matter.
adjective (no comparative or superlative)
  1. Consisting of antimatter.
antineutrino Tweet Definition of antineutrino Like Definition of antineutrino on Facebook
  1. the antiparticle of the neutrino
antineutron Tweet Definition of antineutron Like Definition of antineutron on Facebook
  1. (physics) The antiparticle corresponding to a neutron
antinode Tweet Definition of antinode Like Definition of antinode on Facebook
  1. (physics) a region of maximum amplitude situated between adjacent nodes of a vibrating body, such as a string
antiparticle Tweet Definition of antiparticle Like Definition of antiparticle on Facebook
  1. (particles) A subatomic particle corresponding to another particle with the same mass, spin and mean lifetime but with charge, parity, strangeness and other quantum numbers flipped in sign.
antiproton Tweet Definition of antiproton Like Definition of antiproton on Facebook
  1. The antiparticle of the proton, having a negative electric charge
antiquark Tweet Definition of antiquark Like Definition of antiquark on Facebook
  1. (particles) the antiparticle of a quark
atmometer Tweet Definition of atmometer Like Definition of atmometer on Facebook
  1. An instrument that measures the rate of evaporation of a liquid
atmosphere Tweet Definition of atmosphere Like Definition of atmosphere on Facebook
noun (wikipedia, atmosphere, Atmosphere (layer of gases))
  1. The gases surrounding the Earth or any astronomical body.
  2. The air in a particular place.
  3. The mood or feeling in a situation.
atomic Tweet Definition of atomic Like Definition of atomic on Facebook
  1. Of, or relating to atoms
    • A stream of hydrogen is emitted
      1. Of, or employing nuclear energy or processes
    • We built a small bomb in the garage
      1. Infinitesimally small
    • The hairs on a bedbug are almost
      1. Unable to be split or made any smaller
    • A bit is an item of data
atomic mass unit Tweet Definition of atomic mass unit Like Definition of atomic mass unit on Facebook
  1. (chemistry) a unit of mass equal to 1/12 the mass of an atom of the 12C isotope of carbon
atomic orbital Tweet Definition of atomic orbital Like Definition of atomic orbital on Facebook
  1. (quantum), (chemistry) The quantum mechanical behaviour of an electron in an atom describing the probability of the electron's particular position and energy.
  2. A particular atomic orbital associated with a given set of quantum numbers.
atomic pile Tweet Definition of atomic pile Like Definition of atomic pile on Facebook
  1. (physics) an early nuclear reactor fuelled by uranium and moderated with graphite
atomize Tweet Definition of atomize Like Definition of atomize on Facebook
verb to atomize
  1. to separate into atoms
  2. to make into a fine spray
  3. to fragment (can be used metaphorically)
  4. to bomb with nuclear weapons
attenuation Tweet Definition of attenuation Like Definition of attenuation on Facebook
  1. A gradual diminishing in the strength of something
  1. (physics) A reduction in the level of some property with distance, especially the amplitude of a wave or the strength of a signal
  2. (biology) A weakening in the virulence of a pathogen or other microorganism
  3. (botany) The tapering of a leaf etc to a fine point
  4. (engineering) A fabrication process in which a material is stretched out into a thin shape
attract Tweet Definition of attract Like Definition of attract on Facebook
  1. To pull toward without touching
A magnet attracts iron filings
  1. To arouse interest or desire
Advertising is designed to attract customers
  1. To bring upon oneself
Bizarre behavior is sure to attract attention
attraction Tweet Definition of attraction Like Definition of attraction on Facebook
  1. The tendency to attract
The Moon is held in its orbit by the attraction of the Earth's gravity
  1. The feeling of being attracted
I felt a strange attraction towards the place
  1. An event or location that has a tendency to attract visitors
The new mall should be a major attraction
avalanche Tweet Definition of avalanche Like Definition of avalanche on Facebook
  1. A large mass or body of snow and ice sliding swiftly down a mountain side, or falling down a precipice.
  2. A fall of earth, rocks, etc., similar to that of an avalanche of snow or ice.
  3. A sudden, great, or irresistible descent or influx of anything.

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