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Guide and features
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Stage: 4 and 5
stemNRICH : Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
: the physics section of
. This contains mathematical activities for students aged 14 - 19 designed to complement and enhance the study of physics.
Area of maths
Big and Small Numbers in Physics
Work out estimates of the numerical values for these physical quantities.
See also the Dynamics problems on the
Track the motion of this dangerous driver.
Analyse the dynamics to determine if this speeding ticket was issued in error.
The Not-so-simple Pendulum 1
See how the motion of the simple pendulum is not-so-simple after all.
The Not-so-simple Pendulum 2
Friction is now added to the approximate simple pendulum, leading to a more realistic solution.
Look at the dynamics of the sphere of death and see the results in action on the video.
A ball whooshes down a slide and hits another ball which flies off the slide horizontally as a projectile. How far does it go?
How high will a ball taking a million seconds to fall travel?
Where will the spaceman go when he falls through these strange planetary systems?
Escape from Planet Earth
How fast would you have to throw a ball upwards so that it would never land?
Follow in the steps of Newton and find the path that the earth follows around the sun.
Units in physics
Universal Time, Length, Mass
Can you work out the natural time scale for the universe?
New Units for Old
Give yourself an in-depth units workout by matching up these physical phenomena with their dimensions and standard units.
Levels of Bohr
Look at the units in the expression for the energy levels of the electrons in a hydrogen atom according to the Bohr model.
Power, work and energy in physics
See also the Power, Work and Energy problems on the
How high could you pole-vault on the moon?
Go, Spaceship, Go!
Show that even this powerful spaceship will eventually run out of overtaking power.
Look at kinetic and potential energies of a planet to find out about the moment of momentum.
Atoms and particles
The Ultra Particle
Explore the energy of this incredibly energetic particle.
Investigate some of the issues raised by Geiger and Marsden's famous scattering experiment in which they fired alpha particles at a sheet of gold.
Investigate the effects of the half-lives of the isotopes of cobalt on the mass of a mystery lump of the element.
Work out the best packing structure to maximise the density of a metal.
Lennard Jones Potential
Investigate why the Lennard-Jones potential gives a good approximate explanation for the behaviour of atoms at close ranges.
See also the Electrical Engineering problems on the
How would the resistance build up in an infinite network of resistors?
Pumping the Power
Look at how the power in a lightbulb varies over time.
Hold Still Please
Can you arrange a set of charged particles so that none of them starts to move when released from rest?
The Lorentz Force Law
Explore the Lorentz force law for charges moving in different ways.
Keep Your Momentum Going
Find out about the steady flow momentum equation of fluid dynamics.
Explore the transportation by river of the blocks used to make Stonehenge
Look at the flow of fluids down circular pipes.
See also the Gases problems on the
Various problems which make you think about the kinetic ideas underlying the ideal gas laws.
Explore how changing the axes for a plot of the gas law equations can lead to different shaped graphs emerging.
Waves and oscillations
This interactive environment monitors the motion of your mouse and produces a displacement-time graph. Experiment with the interactivity and challenge yourself to draw different shaped graphs.
Look at the wavefronts produced by aricraft as they approach and go beyond Mach 1.
Advanced mathematics in physics
The Real Hydrogen Atom
Dip your toe into the world of quantum mechanics by looking at the Schrodinger equation for hydrogen atoms.
Modelling Assumptions in Mechanics
This advanced article demonstrates mathematically how various physical modelling assumptions affect the solution to the seemingly simple problem of the projectile.
The Power of Dimensional Analysis
Read about this very useful concept and view physical equations in a different light.
Find out how Ohm's law develops and find a fundamental link to complex numbers along the way.
Which Twin is Older?
A simplified account of special relativity and the twin paradox.
Meet the team
The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners. To support this aim, members of the NRICH team work in a wide range of capacities, including providing professional development for teachers wishing to embed rich mathematical tasks into everyday classroom practice. More information on many of our other activities can be found here.
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