Electricity and Magnetism on the Web
If you have a question about physics, magnetism or electricity, you'll surely find the answer in one of the excellent Web sites listed below. Although some of these sites are for kids, most are written with adults in mind, and explore topics such as superconductivity, hysteresis loops, particle physics, semiconductors, circuits and much more. Adults or kids looking for more Web sites targeting younger students are invited to visit our list of Web Resources for Kids.
The Basics of NMR
The site is very easy to read and provides a thorough demystification of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Written by Dr. Joseph P. Hornak, a professor of Chemistry and Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the site breaks down NMR into 11 chapters. Clicking on footnotes within the text makes illustrations pop up just when you need them, helping you to visualize what goes on at the atomic level.
Caltech Physics Applets
Although specifically designed for physics students at Caltech, anyone interested in learning more about electricity, magnetism or various other physical phenomena can benefit by exploring these interactive applets. A circuit tutorial demonstrates how a resistor, a capacitor and an inductor react with one another; another applet illustrates the electric fields surrounding variously distributed charges; others demonstrate concepts relating to moving charges, magnetic fields and inductance.
Developed and maintained by the Physics Department at the University of Guelph, this Web site describes and demonstrates a number of important concepts related to direct current circuits. Information on many of the featured topics, such as the use of Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's laws, is accompanied by interactive Java applets that illustrate key points. Examples of featured topics include the curl of a vector field, current density, magnetic flux and Gauss' law, sources of magnetic fields and Faraday's law.
Exploring Electric Fields
An interactive electric charge field simulator is the primary offering at this site, although there is also a very brief article covering the theoretical aspects of electric fields. Using the simulator, you can place charges in a plane area (exact coordinates and values of charges can be entered) and trace the field lines, or alternatively delete field lines and one or more charges.
John Belcher, an MIT physics professor, has made several interactive Java applets, including this one that depicts a permanent magnet falling through a non-magnetic copper ring. An animated meter shows the magnitude and direction of the eddy current in the copper ring. Users can alter the resistance of the ring and the magnetic dipole moment, then view the effects these changes produce.
Física con Ordenador
More than 500 applets are featured on this interactive Spanish-language physics resource. The site is divided into several sections, one of which covers many important concepts relating to electromagnetism.
Originally created for the ThinkQuest Internet contest, Fizzics Fizzle is an interactive guide to physics. The site is conveniently organized based on difficulty levels so that students of varying ages and backgrounds can access the information most relevant to them. A reference page and site map enable visitors to quickly link to a particular topic. Various aspects of electricity and magnetism are covered in the intermediate and advanced sections of the site. Diagrams accompany most of the discussions and some concepts are further illustrated with interactive tutorials.
Formation of a PN Junction Diode and its Band Diagram
A diode is a semiconductor device that conducts electric current to run in only one direction. An interactive applet found on the University at Buffalo Web site lets users virtually build PN junction diodes. Equilibrium band diagrams appear below the illustrated diode.
FOSS Web Magnetism and Electricity Module
The official site for the FOSS science curriculum includes a nice collection of interactive materials on electricity and magnetism aimed at elementary and middle school students. The activities, such as exploring kitchen magnets and attempting to pick up metal filings with an electromagnet, are designed to be both educational and fun.
Introduction to High Frequency Magnetic Excitations in Ferromagnets
This site focuses on concepts related to high-frequency magnetic excitations in ferromagnetic materials. In addition to introductory text, you'll find several interactive applets that illustrate concepts such as spin waves and damped precessional motion of magnetization vectors. Based heavily on a Ph.D. thesis, the material is relatively complex.
The Ising model, a mathematical model commonly used in statistical mechanics, can be used to provide a simplified description of ferromagnetism. In such a model, a set of magnetic spins are arranged on a regular square lattice and the energy of the system is determined by the sum of elementary interactions between a spin and its neighbors. The interactive Ising model on this site provides a basic understanding of ferromagnetism and the effect of temperature on spin fluctuations.
Java Applets on Physics
This collection by Walter Fendt (who also offers many applets on mathematics and astronomy) is large and comprehensive. Everything from classical mechanics to the theory of relativity and nuclear physics is covered. Numerous interactive applets are available for illustrating the concepts and laws governing electrodynamics.
Learning Online Applet Collection
These applets are virtual renditions of realistic scenarios, following the actual equations that govern real experimental systems. The applets illustrate concepts from many branches of physics, including dynamics, thermal physics, mechanics, optics, wave phenomena, quantum physics, electrostatics and electromagnetics. The material is well-suited for beginning and intermediate students.
This interactive tutorial is by John Belcher, a professor in the Astrophysics Division of the Department of Physics at MIT. The tutorial illustrates the force of attraction or repulsion between two dipoles which are parallel or anti-parallel. The user can control the parameters of friction, speed and magnet position.
Math, Physics and Engineering Applets
Written by Paul Falstad, these educational Java applets address myriad concepts related to electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics. You'll find instructions on how to operate each applet, but little explanatory material.
MATTER Initiative for Schools A-Level Resources
This site features numerous interactive resources (such as simulations, interactive exercises, experiments, etc.) designed for teachers and students of the physical sciences. Some of the resources are available only on CD-ROM, but most are freely accessible via the Internet. Sections on magnetic fields, electric currents, capacitors and resistors are among the many topics covered.
MIT OpenCourseWare Electricity and Magnetism
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a free and open educational resource for educators, students and self-learners. The university's physics OpenCourseWare includes a large section on electricity and magnetism. Numerous multimedia visualizations are featured in this section, many of them interactive. You'll find illustrations of electrostatics, magnetostatics and Faraday's Law.
Molecular Expressions Electricity & Magnetism Interactive Java Tutorials
Molecular Expressions is a comprehensive scientific educational resource that features a considerable collection of interactive Java tutorials relating to electricity and magnetism. Tutorials range in complexity and difficulty of concepts covered; visitors can explore most anything from a simple cathode ray tube to a pulsed magnet or the effects of scalar coupling.
NTNU Java Virtual Physics Laboratory
The National Taiwan Normal University maintains this educational physics resource that features a comprehensive selection of interactive JAVA simulations. Many, including those related to electromagnetics, are accompanied by guest comments and discussions. Some portions of the site are available to registered members only.
The Particle Adventure
This is a rarity: a plain-spoken, witty explanation about a cutting-edge field of physics. Visitors click through a series of pages, each of which presents a digestible morsel of knowledge on particle physics that is enhanced by effective visuals and the occasional joke. Though the amount of material covered is vast, it is organized and split up in such a way as to make it approachable and comprehensible, even to non-scientists. And if understanding this material in plain English isn't enough of a challenge, you can try reading about it in French, Polish or a number of other languages! Classroom activities and other special features are included. Don't miss this one!
A University of Colorado at Boulder Web site, Physics 2000 is an outstanding, award-winning educational resource. The site leads visitors on an interactive journey through the exciting world of modern physics. Many topics are addressed in a conversational format, and key points in the discussions are frequently demonstrated in accompanying interactive animations. A considerable portion of the site is dedicated to explaining and illustrating concepts related to electromagnetic waves and quantum physics.
Physics by Demonstrations
This is an interactive learning/teaching tool available for free online. Originally created as a ThinkQuest contest entry, it provides not only descriptions of theories but also visual demonstrations. The five primary sections of the site cover mechanics, fluids, waves, electricity and nuclear physics.
Physics Lessons by Science Joy Wagon
These physics lessons and tutorials are designed to be a resource for learning introductory level, algebra-based physics. Organization is by topic, but a search option is available for quickly finding specific information. Although most of the lessons and tutorials focusing on electrostatics, electricity and magnetism are available to everyone, some can be accessed by registered members only.
Provided by Davidson College, this collection of interactive physics applets is a valuable educational resource. Each "Physlet" is designed to demonstrate a single scientific concept, making them very simple to understand. A range of topics is covered, but many of the applets focus on various aspects of electromagnetism.
University of Oregon Virtual Laboratory
The collection of interactive physics applets offered by the University of Oregon is an excellent resource for students. The applets are grouped in broad subject areas including astrophysics, energy and environment, mechanics and thermodynamics. The site also offers some JAVA-based tools that can aid in the production of graphs, figures and spreadsheets.
Included on a PBS site about transistors, Wafer Maker is an interactive Java applet designed as an educational game. Using the arrow keys as controls, players can attempt to grow layers of crystals at the proper speed and temperature and in the right order, in an attempt to build transistors.
When Things Get Small
This very engaging, very accessible video demystifies nanoscience with illustrations such as a stadium-sized bowl of peanuts, a shrinking elephant and a crazed hockey player. This half-hour piece, produced by UCTV at UC San Diego, addresses magnetic concepts such as quantum spins and magnetic domains.