Physics in Action by Topic

Force & Motion

What could we accomplish with machines that draw power from the air around us?

Meet the Tiny Machines that Harness Humidity for Power

What could we accomplish with machines that draw power from the air around us?


Passively Cool: A Departure from A/C

A potential low-energy alternative to air conditioning.


Measuring Drought with GPS

Tracking how strongly water pushes on the Earth's crust.


Whirling Skirts Reveal Steady Patterns

An unexpected application of the Coriolis effect


The Monkey and the Hunter

Test your knowledge of gravity with this thought experiment.


"Living" Crystal Colonies

These inanimate crystals form colonies under UV-light, like bacteria


Shattering Science and Glass Physics

Scientists try to strike a balance with glass


Bullet Proof: Absorbing Micro-Bullets

Bullet-proof material absorbs bullets and reseals itself


Mixing Physics: Rayleigh-Taylor Instabilities

Fluid dynamics behind beautiful video of mixing patterns


The cup-in-hand walk

Have you ever done the cup-in-hand walk, and spilled your drink? It's a common event. The Krechetnikov Fluid Physics Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara usually doesn't focus on this type of problem, but after seeing enough people spilling, they decided to look into it!


Crash Reconstruction Physics

Few physics experiments come with greater consequences than those done by a police crash reconstruction team.


The Big and Small of Rockets

From the acidic digestive fluid in your stomach to the dry, cratered surface of Mars, rockets could soon make it possible to explore extreme environments as never before.


Physics of Baseball

Spring has sprung and the batters have swung. Baseball season has officially started. Although the games we watch in the big leagues could be drastically different by changing only one aspect; the bat.


Blowing in the Wind

Flying kites and tumbling plastic bags show that wind carries kinetic energy. The purpose of a windmill is to harness that energy. From the earliest versions 2,200 years ago in Persia to the Megawatt turbines today, windmills use physics to harness nature's chaotic fiery for human benefit.


Catch an Earthquake

San Francisco and Los Angeles, home to about 7.5 million people and to much of the economy of California, lie close to the infamous San Andreas fault.


Big 'G'

In 1665, Isaac Newton recognized that all matter attracts all other matter, but he also recognized that the gravitational attraction of everyday objects for each other was far too small to be measured in his time.


Blowin' in the Wind

After crossing Florida, Hurricane Katrina headed into the Gulf of Mexico early on August 26, 2005 as a Category One hurricane.


Granular Materials

In our everyday world, matter is usually classified into solids, liquids, and gases. But what about dry sand?