Physics Flashlets

Physics Flashlets

Michael Fowler - University of Virginia Physics

See also our Applets!


This is a collection of Flash animations to make learning physics easier! They were created by myself and my students Jacquie Hui Wan Ching and Heather Welch, and Michael Timmins and Aris Stylianopoulos, in the summer of 2003.

Flashlets with an asterisk * are also available as javascript applets, see the applets page.

Chinese Version

Newton's Mountain *

Newton's Mountain: Newton imagined shooting a cannonball horizontally from a mountaintop above the atmosphere. With sufficient speed, it would circle the Earth..

Pythagoras *

Pythagoras: prove Pythagoras' Theorem fast by moving triangles around with your mouse.

Eclipse of the Moon *

A short movie of the Moon moving through the Earth's shadow, and how it appears from Earth.

Ptolemy's Epicycles for Inner Planet Motion *

Actually a slightly simplified version, just illustrating the basic epicycle motion.

Ptolemy's Epicycles for the Outer Planets *

Again, just the basic epicycle idea.

Earth-Mars Line of Sight in Two Models *

Earth-Mars Line of Sight in Two Models.: Viewing the motion of Mars against the starry background, showing how the Ptolemy model and the Copernicus model predict the same direction, hence the same identical path through the Heavens. (We slightly simplify--taking both models in the circular orbit approximation, as portrayed in Copernicus' illustration.

Kepler's Laws *

Kepler's Laws: construct your own planetary orbits and check Kepler's Laws!

Inner and Outer Planets in Motion *

The Inner Planets: a movie of the inner planets in orbit ... and here are the Outer Planets.

Galileo's Compound Motion: Horizontal + Vertical *

Galileo's "Compound Motion"Galileo realized that the motion of a projectile was a compound of constant speed horizontal motion and constant acceleration vertical motion -- we give an animation of his diagram.

Trip to Mars! *

Try your skill at shooting a probe from the Earth to a close encounter with the Red planet.

Jupiter Slingshot

Jupiter Slingshot Find out for yourself how a gravitational boost from a moving planet can get you to the far reaches of the Solar System.

The Doppler Effect

This animation shows expanding rings of sound, and a microphone clicks as each ring hits. Dutch Version Hungarian

Carnot Cycle

The Carnot engine in action! You can slow it down to see what's going on, and choose other values of pressure and volume to vary the cycle.

Michelson-Morley Experiment *

An animation of the beautiful experiment to detect the aether that found nothing.

Time Dilation from a Lightclock *

A clock bouncing light between two mirrors is animated, to show vividly why taking the speed of light the same in all inertial frames leads inevitably to time dilation.

Young's Interference 101

Basic Young's Experiment without bells and whistles.

Young's Interference Experiment

An animation that builds up the two-slit interference pattern by adding the two waves sequentially for a series of points on the screen.

Wave Pulse Transmission through an Interface *

Two strings of different linear densities are joined, a wave pulse is sent towards the join, the reflection/transmission is demonstrated.

Phases of Venus

Phases of Venus An animation of Venus in orbit, with the sunlit portion of the surface viewed from different perspectives.

And here are a few more:

Forces on a bit of waving string *

Visualizing a Sound Wave

The Platonic Solids

Newton's Picture of Acceleration in a Circle

Tusi Couple

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.