Science, Grades 9-12

Vocabulary list related to science and technology for students in grades 9-12.
definitions & notes only words
  1. accelerator
    a pedal that controls the throttle valve
  2. advection
    (meteorology) the horizontal transfer of heat or other atmospheric properties
  3. Albert Einstein
    physicist born in Germany who formulated the special theory of relativity and the general theory of relativity; Einstein also proposed that light consists of discrete quantized bundles of energy (later called photons) (1879-1955)
  4. Antoine Lavoisier
    French chemist known as the father of modern chemistry
  5. artifact
    a man-made object taken as a whole
  6. atomic bomb
    a nuclear weapon in which enormous energy is released by nuclear fission (splitting the nuclei of a heavy element like uranium 235 or plutonium 239)
  7. atomic energy
    the energy released by a nuclear reaction
  8. atomic mass
    the property of an atom that causes it to have weight
  9. atomic number
    the order of an element in the periodic table of elements
  10. atomic theory
    a theory of the structure of the atom
  11. atomic weight
    (chemistry) the mass of an atom of a chemical element expressed in atomic mass units
  12. big bang theory
    (cosmology) the theory that the universe originated sometime between 10 billion and 20 billion years ago from the cataclysmic explosion of a small volume of matter at extremely high density and temperature
  13. binary
    of or pertaining to a number system have 2 as its base
  14. biotechnology
    the branch of molecular biology that studies the use of microorganisms to perform specific industrial processes
  15. bit
    a small piece or quantity of something
  16. buoyancy
    the tendency to float in water or other liquid
  17. byte
    a sequence of data processed as a single unit of information
  18. carbon
    an abundant nonmetallic tetravalent element occurring in three allotropic forms: amorphous carbon and graphite and diamond; occurs in all organic compounds
  19. carbon atom
    an atom of carbon
  20. carbon cycle
    the organic circulation of carbon from the atmosphere into organisms and back again
  21. carbon dioxide
    a heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances; absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis
  22. catalyst
    substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction
  23. cell membrane
    a thin membrane enclosing the cytoplasm of a cell
  24. cell nucleus
    a part of the cell containing DNA and RNA and responsible for growth and reproduction
  25. cell organelle
    a specialized part of a cell; analogous to an organ
  26. cell wall
    a rigid layer of polysaccharides enclosing a plant membrane
  27. Charles Darwin
    English natural scientist who formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection (1809-1882)
  28. chat room
    a site on the internet where a number of users can communicate in real time (typically one dedicated to a particular topic)
  29. chemical bond
    an electrical force linking atoms
  30. chip
    a small fragment of something broken off from the whole
  31. chloroplast
    plastid containing chlorophyll and other pigments
  32. chromatography
    a process used for separating mixtures by virtue of differences in absorbency
  33. chromosome
    a threadlike strand of DNA that carries genes
  34. closed-loop system
    a control system with a feedback loop that is active
  35. convection
    transfer of heat through a fluid caused by molecular motion
  36. Copernicus
    Polish astronomer who produced a workable model of the solar system with the sun in the center (1473-1543)
  37. CPU
    the part of a computer that does most of the data processing
  38. cytoplasm
    the substance inside a cell, not including the nucleus
  39. debug
    locate and correct errors in a computer program code
  40. DNA
    a long linear polymer found in the nucleus of a cell
  41. Doppler effect
    change in the apparent frequency of a wave as observer and source move toward or away from each other
  42. drag
    pull, as against a resistance
  43. elasticity
    the tendency of a body to return to its original shape
  44. electric motor
    a motor that converts electricity to mechanical work
  45. electric potential
    the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts
  46. electromagnetic radiation
    radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge
  47. electromagnetic spectrum
    the entire frequency range of electromagnetic waves
  48. electromagnetic wave
    radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge
  49. electron
    an elementary particle with negative charge
  50. elementary particle
    a particle that is less complex than an atom
  51. endothermic reaction
    a chemical reaction accompanied by the absorption of heat
  52. Enrico Fermi
    Italian nuclear physicist (in the United States after 1939) who worked on artificial radioactivity caused by neutron bombardment and who headed the group that in 1942 produced the first controlled nuclear reaction (1901-1954)
  53. entropy
    a numerical measure of the uncertainty of an outcome
  54. enzyme
    a complex protein produced by cells that acts as a catalyst
  55. Ernest Rutherford
    British physicist (born in New Zealand) who discovered the atomic nucleus and proposed a nuclear model of the atom (1871-1937)
  56. exothermic reaction
    a chemical reaction accompanied by the evolution of heat
  57. experimental method
    the use of controlled observations and measurements to test hypotheses
  58. external storage
    a data storage device that is not the main memory of a computer
  59. Fahrenheit
    of or relating to a temperature scale proposed by the inventor of the mercury thermometer
  60. field
    extensive tract of level open land
  61. frame
    the internal structure that gives an artifact its shape
  62. gamma ray
    electromagnetic radiation emitted during radioactive decay and having an extremely short wavelength
  63. gene expression
    conversion of the information encoded in a gene first into messenger RNA and then to a protein
  64. general theory of relativity
    a generalization of special relativity to include gravity
  65. genetic mutation
    any event that changes genetic structure
  66. geologic time
    the time of the physical formation and development of the earth (especially prior to human history)
  67. geological dating
    use of chemical analysis to estimate the age of geological specimens
  68. germ theory
    (medicine) the theory that all contagious diseases are caused by microorganisms
  69. gigabyte
    a unit of information equal to 1000 megabytes or 10^9 bytes
  70. Golgi apparatus
    a netlike structure in the cytoplasm of animal cells
  71. greenhouse gas
    a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation
  72. Gregor Mendel
    Augustinian monk and botanist whose experiments in breeding garden peas led to his eventual recognition as founder of the science of genetics (1822-1884)
  73. HTML
    a set of tags and rules (conforming to SGML) for using them in developing hypertext documents
  74. hydrogen bomb
    a nuclear weapon that releases atomic energy by union of light (hydrogen) nuclei at high temperatures to form helium
  75. hydrogen ion
    a positively charged atom of hydrogen
  76. initialize
    assign an initial value to a computer program
  77. ion
    a particle that is electrically charged positive or negative
  78. isotope
    atom with same atomic number, different number of neutrons
  79. Johannes Kepler
    German astronomer who first stated laws of planetary motion
  80. John Dalton
    English chemist and physicist who formulated atomic theory and the law of partial pressures; gave the first description of red-green color blindness (1766-1844)
  81. Kelvin
    British physicist who invented the Kelvin scale of temperature and pioneered undersea telegraphy (1824-1907)
  82. kilobyte
    a unit of information equal to 1000 bytes
  83. Lise Meitner
    Swedish physicist (born in Austria) who worked in the field of radiochemistry with Otto Hahn and formulated the concept of nuclear fission with Otto Frisch (1878-1968)
  84. macro
    very large in scale or scope or capability
  85. magnetic field
    the lines of force surrounding a permanent magnet or a moving charged particle
  86. megabyte
    a unit of information equal to 1000 kilobytes or 10^6 bytes
  87. meiosis
    cell division in sexually reproducing organisms
  88. microprocessor
    integrated circuit semiconductor chip that performs the bulk of the processing and controls the parts of a system
  89. microwave
    kitchen appliance that cooks food by passing an electromagnetic wave through it; heat results from the absorption of energy by the water molecules in the food
  90. mitochondrion
    an organelle containing enzymes responsible for producing energy
  91. mitosis
    the process by which a cell divides into two smaller cells
  92. mole
    a small congenital pigmented spot on the skin
  93. natural object
    an object occurring naturally; not made by man
  94. natural selection
    a process in which organisms evolve to adapt to environment
  95. neuron
    a cell that is specialized to conduct nerve impulses
  96. neurotransmitter
    a neurochemical that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse
  97. neutron
    an elementary particle with zero charge
  98. Newtonian mechanics
    the branch of mechanics based on Newton's laws of motion
  99. nitrogen
    a common nonmetallic element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless inert diatomic gas; constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume; a constituent of all living tissues
  100. nitrogen cycle
    the circulation of nitrogen
  101. nuclear fission
    a nuclear reaction in which a massive nucleus splits into smaller nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
  102. nuclear fusion
    a nuclear reaction in which nuclei combine to form more massive nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
  103. ohm
    a unit of electrical resistance equal to the resistance between two points on a conductor when a potential difference of one volt between them produces a current of one ampere
  104. operating system
    (computer science) software that controls the execution of computer programs and may provide various services
  105. ozone
    a colorless gas that is a screen for ultraviolet radiation
  106. patent
    a document granting an inventor sole rights to an invention
  107. peripheral device
    (computer science) electronic equipment connected by cable to the CPU of a computer
  108. person-to-person
    involving direct communication or contact between persons or parties
  109. pixel
    (computer science) the smallest discrete component of an image or picture on a CRT screen (usually a colored dot)
  110. plate tectonics
    branch of geology studying the folding of the earth's crust
  111. potential energy
    mechanical energy that a body has by virtue of its position
  112. pressure
    the exertion of force to a surface
  113. protein
    an organic compound essential to living cells
  114. proton
    a stable particle with positive charge
  115. Ptolemy
    Alexandrian astronomer (of the 2nd century) who proposed a geocentric system of astronomy that was undisputed until the late Renaissance
  116. radio wave
    an electromagnetic wave with a wavelength between 0.5 cm to 30,000 m
  117. radioactive dating
    measurement of the amount of radioactive material (usually carbon 14) that an object contains; can be used to estimate the age of the object
  118. radioactive decay
    the spontaneous disintegration of a radioactive substance along with the emission of ionizing radiation
  119. RAM
    the most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on; an integrated circuit memory chip allows information to be stored or accessed in any order and all storage locations are equally accessible
  120. redundancy
    the attribute of being superfluous and unneeded
  121. scanner
    someone who scans verse to determine the number and prosodic value of the syllables
  122. segregation
    the act of keeping apart
  123. semiconductor
    a substance as germanium or silicon whose electrical conductivity is intermediate between that of a metal and an insulator; its conductivity increases with temperature and in the presence of impurities
  124. sex cell
    a spermatozoon or an ovum
  125. simulation
    the act of imitating the behavior of some situation
  126. sound wave
    (acoustics) a wave that transmits sound
  127. space probe
    a rocket-propelled guided missile that can escape the earth's atmosphere; makes observations of the solar system that cannot be made by terrestrial observation
  128. spam
    unwanted e-mail
  129. special theory of relativity
    a physical theory of relativity based on the assumption that the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant and the assumption that the laws of physics are invariant in all inertial systems
  130. speciation
    the evolution of a biological species
  131. speed of light
    the speed at which light travels in a vacuum
  132. streaming
    the circulation of cytoplasm within a cell
  133. subsystem
    a system that is part of some larger system
  134. template
    a model or standard for making comparisons
  135. thermal equilibrium
    a state in which all parts of a system are at the same temperature
  136. torque
    a twisting force
  137. transmitter
    any agent that carries and transmits a disease
  138. ultraviolet radiation
    radiation lying in the ultraviolet range
  139. vacuole
    a tiny cavity filled with fluid in the cytoplasm of a cell
  140. viscosity
    resistance of a liquid to flowing
  141. x-ray
    take a photograph with a stream of high-energy photons