EDUCATION: Physics on the Move

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Science  21 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5747, pp. 415
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5747.415e

Even a well-equipped physics lab can't match the variety of experiments available at this site from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Physics Education Technology lets high school and college students run more than 40 Java and Flash simulations, investigating topics from gas properties and ballistics to Faraday's law and nuclear fission. Included is an animation, for instance, which replicates a phenomenon that puzzled physicists until Einstein came along: the photoelectric effect, in which light shining on a metal surface spurs emission of electrons. Users can tweak variables such as the light's wavelength and intensity and plot the resulting current and electron energy. To help teachers looking for good lab activities, the site features an archive of user-submitted exercises built around the simulations.

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