physical phenomenon

Definitions of physical phenomenon
  1. noun
    a natural phenomenon involving the physical properties of matter and energy
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    acoustic phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon associated with the production or transmission of sound
    atmospheric phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon associated with the atmosphere
    boundary layer
    the layer of slower flow of a fluid past a surface
    chaos
    the formless and disordered state of matter before the creation of the cosmos
    cloud
    any collection of particles (e.g., smoke or dust) or gases that is visible
    decalescence
    phenomenon that occurs when a metal is being heated and there is a sudden slowing in the rate of temperature increase; slowing is caused by a change in the internal crystal structure of the metal
    electrical phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon involving electricity
    electricity
    a physical phenomenon associated with stationary or moving electrons and protons
    energy
    any source of usable power
    energy, free energy
    (physics) a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do work; the units of energy are joules or ergs
    power
    (physics) the rate of doing work; measured in watts (= joules/second)
    event
    a phenomenon located at a single point in space-time; the fundamental observational entity in relativity theory
    field, field of force, force field
    the space around a radiating body within which its electromagnetic oscillations can exert force on another similar body not in contact with it
    force
    (physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity
    hysteresis
    the lagging of an effect behind its cause; especially the phenomenon in which the magnetic induction of a ferromagnetic material lags behind the changing magnetic field
    resonance
    an excited state of a stable particle causing a sharp maximum in the probability of absorption of electromagnetic radiation
    mechanical phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon associated with the equilibrium or motion of objects
    opacity
    the phenomenon of not permitting the passage of electromagnetic radiation
    optical phenomenon
    a physical phenomenon related to or involving light
    force per unit area, pressure, pressure level
    the force applied to a unit area of surface; measured in pascals (SI unit) or in dynes (cgs unit)
    reflection, reflexion
    the phenomenon of a propagating wave (light or sound) being thrown back from a surface
    refraction
    the change in direction of a propagating wave (light or sound) when passing from one medium to another
    resolution, resolving power
    the ability of a microscope or telescope to measure the angular separation of images that are close together
    resolution
    (computer science) the number of pixels per square inch on a computer-generated display; the greater the resolution, the better the picture
    conduction, conductivity
    the transmission of heat or electricity or sound
    propagation
    the movement of a wave through a medium
    fundamental interaction, interaction
    (physics) the transfer of energy between elementary particles or between an elementary particle and a field or between fields; mediated by gauge bosons
    surface tension
    a phenomenon at the surface of a liquid caused by intermolecular forces
    syzygy
    the straight line configuration of 3 celestial bodies (as the sun and earth and moon) in a gravitational system
    transparence, transparency
    permitting the free passage of electromagnetic radiation
    turbulence, turbulency
    unstable flow of a liquid or gas
    chop
    the irregular motion of waves (usually caused by wind blowing in a direction opposite to the tide)
    floatation, flotation
    the phenomenon of floating (remaining on the surface of a liquid without sinking)
    countercurrent, crosscurrent, rip, riptide, tide rip
    a stretch of turbulent water in a river or the sea caused by one current flowing into or across another current
    cloud
    a visible mass of water or ice particles suspended at a considerable altitude
    coma
    (astronomy) the luminous cloud of particles surrounding the frozen nucleus of a comet; forms as the comet approaches the sun and is warmed
    nebula
    an immense cloud of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust in interstellar space
    aberration, distortion, optical aberration
    an optical phenomenon resulting from the failure of a lens or mirror to produce a good image
    absorption band
    a dark band in the spectrum of white light that has been transmitted through a substance that exhibits absorption at selective wavelengths
    activation energy, energy of activation
    the energy that an atomic system must acquire before a process (such as an emission or reaction) can occur
    aerodynamic force
    forces acting on airfoils in motion relative to the air (or other gaseous fluids)
    aerosol
    a cloud of solid or liquid particles in a gas
    affinity, chemical attraction
    the force attracting atoms to each other and binding them together in a molecule
    air hole, air pocket, pocket
    a local region of low pressure or descending air that causes a plane to lose height suddenly
    alternative energy
    energy derived from sources that do not use up natural resources or harm the environment
    amperage
    the strength of an electrical current measured in amperes
    atomic energy, nuclear energy
    the energy released by a nuclear reaction
    attraction, attractive force
    the force by which one object attracts another
    repulsion, repulsive force
    the force by which bodies repel one another
    aurora
    an atmospheric phenomenon consisting of bands of light caused by charged solar particles following the earth's magnetic lines of force
    binding energy, separation energy
    the energy required to separate particles from a molecule or atom or nucleus; equals the mass defect
    blood pressure
    the pressure of the circulating blood against the walls of the blood vessels; results from the systole of the left ventricle of the heart; sometimes measured for a quick evaluation of a person's health
    capacitance, capacity, electrical capacity
    an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored
    elastance, electrical elastance
    the reciprocal of capacitance
    capillarity, capillary action
    a phenomenon associated with surface tension and resulting in the elevation or depression of liquids in capillaries
    centrifugal force
    the outward force on a body moving in a curved path around another body
    centripetal force
    the inward force on a body moving in a curved path around another body
    charge, electric charge
    the quantity of unbalanced electricity in a body (either positive or negative) and construed as an excess or deficiency of electrons
    pyroelectricity
    generation of an electric charge on certain crystals (such as tourmaline) as a result of a change in temperature
    cohesion
    (physics) the intermolecular force that holds together the molecules in a solid or liquid
    chemical energy
    that part of the energy in a substance that can be released by a chemical reaction
    Coriolis force
    (physics) a force due to the earth's rotation; acts on a body in motion (airplane or projectile) in a rotating reference frame; in a rotating frame of reference Newton's second law of motion can be made to apply if in addition to the real forces acting on a body a Coriolis force and a centrifugal force are introduced
    cosmic dust
    clouds of particles or gases occurring throughout interstellar space
    dust cloud
    a cloud of dust suspended in the air
    mushroom, mushroom cloud, mushroom-shaped cloud
    a large cloud of rubble and dust shaped like a mushroom and rising into the sky after an explosion (especially of a nuclear bomb)
    current, electric current
    a flow of electricity through a conductor
    condensate, condensation
    atmospheric moisture that has condensed because of cold
    diffraction
    when light passes sharp edges or goes through narrow slits the rays are deflected and produce fringes of light and dark bands
    drift, impetus, impulsion
    a force that moves something along
    electric power, electrical power, wattage
    the product of voltage and current
    electric field
    a field of force surrounding a charged particle
    dielectric heating
    heating of an insulator by a high-frequency electric field
    galvanism
    electricity produced by chemical action
    electrical energy, electricity
    energy made available by the flow of electric charge through a conductor
    energy level, energy state
    a definite stable energy that a physical system can have; used especially of the state of electrons in atoms or molecules
    rest energy
    the energy equivalent to the mass of a particle at rest in an inertial frame of reference; equal to the rest mass times the square of the speed of light
    work
    (physics) a manifestation of energy; the transfer of energy from one physical system to another expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which it moves a body in the direction of that force
    flare
    am unwanted reflection in an optical system (or the fogging of an image that is caused by such a reflection)
    fringe, interference fringe
    one of the light or dark bands produced by the interference and diffraction of light
    front
    (meteorology) the atmospheric phenomenon created at the boundary between two different air masses
    greenhouse effect, greenhouse warming
    warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere; caused by atmospheric gases that allow sunshine to pass through but absorb heat that is radiated back from the warmed surface of the earth
    inversion
    the layer of air near the earth is cooler than an overlying layer
    storm, violent storm
    a violent weather condition with winds 64-72 knots (11 on the Beaufort scale) and precipitation and thunder and lightning
    gravitational field
    a field of force surrounding a body of finite mass
    heat, heat energy
    a form of energy that is transferred by a difference in temperature
    hydroelectricity
    electricity produced by water power
    incidence
    the striking of a light beam on a surface
    inductance, induction
    an electrical phenomenon whereby an electromotive force (EMF) is generated in a closed circuit by a change in the flow of current
    inertia
    (physics) the tendency of a body to maintain its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force
    interreflection
    reciprocal reflection between two reflecting surfaces
    leverage, purchase
    the mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever
    Lorentz force
    the force experienced by a point charge moving along a wire that is in a magnetic field; the force is at right angles to both the current and the magnetic field
    atmospheric electricity
    electrical discharges in the atmosphere
    flux, magnetic field, magnetic flux
    the lines of force surrounding a permanent magnet or a moving charged particle
    radiation field
    a field that represents the energy lost from the radiator to space
    nuclear resonance
    the resonance absorption of a gamma ray by a nucleus identical to the nucleus that emitted the gamma ray
    magnetic resonance
    resonance of electrons or atoms or molecules or nuclei to radiation frequencies as a result of space quantization in a magnetic field
    sound
    mechanical vibrations transmitted by an elastic medium
    flight, trajectory
    the path followed by an object moving through space
    mechanical energy
    energy in a mechanical form
    midnight sun
    the sun visible at midnight (inside the Arctic or Antarctic Circles)
    moment
    a turning force produced by an object acting at a distance (or a measure of that force)
    halo
    a circle of light around the sun or moon
    optical opacity
    opacity to light
    radio-opacity, radiopacity
    opacity to X-rays or other radiation
    optical illusion
    an optical phenomenon that results in a false or deceptive visual impression
    photoelectricity
    electricity generated by light or affected by light
    piezo effect, piezoelectric effect, piezoelectricity
    electricity produced by mechanical pressure on certain crystals (notably quartz or Rochelle salt); alternatively, electrostatic stress produces a change in the linear dimensions of the crystal
    pleochroism
    the phenomenon of different colors appearing when certain crystals are viewed from different directions
    polarisation, polarization
    the phenomenon in which waves of light or other radiation are restricted in direction of vibration
    electric potential, potential, potential difference, potential drop, voltage
    the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts
    gas pressure
    the pressure exerted by a gas
    head
    the pressure exerted by a fluid
    hydrostatic head
    the pressure at a given point in a liquid measured in terms of the vertical height of a column of the liquid needed to produce the same pressure
    IOP, intraocular pressure
    pressure exerted by the fluids inside the eyeball; regulated by resistance to the outward flow of aqueous humor
    oil pressure
    pressure that keeps oil on the moving parts of an internal-combustion engine
    osmotic pressure
    (physical chemistry) the pressure exerted by a solution necessary to prevent osmosis into that solution when it is separated from the pure solvent by a semipermeable membrane
    corpuscular-radiation pressure, radiation pressure
    the minute pressure exerted on a surface normal to the direction of propagation of a wave
    instantaneous sound pressure, sound pressure
    the difference between the instantaneous pressure at a point in a sound field and the average pressure at that point
    propulsion
    a propelling force
    pull
    the force used in pulling
    push, thrust
    the force used in pushing
    reaction
    (mechanics) the equal and opposite force that is produced when any force is applied to a body
    radiant energy
    energy that is transmitted in the form of (electromagnetic) radiation; energy that exists in the absence of matter
    radiation
    energy that is radiated or transmitted in the form of rays or waves or particles
    birefringence, double refraction
    splitting a ray into two parallel rays polarized perpendicularly
    resistance
    any mechanical force that tends to retard or oppose motion
    conductance
    a material's capacity to conduct electricity; measured as the reciprocal of electrical resistance
    electric resistance, electrical resistance, impedance, ohmic resistance, resistance, resistivity
    a material's opposition to the flow of electric current; measured in ohms
    reactance
    opposition to the flow of electric current resulting from inductance and capacitance (rather than resistance)
    reluctance
    (physics) opposition to magnetic flux (analogous to electric resistance)
    meteor shower, meteor stream
    a transient shower of meteors when a meteor swarm enters the earth's atmosphere
    skin effect
    the tendency of high-frequency alternating current to distribute near the surface of a conductor
    distortion
    a change (usually undesired) in the waveform of an acoustic or analog electrical signal; the difference between two measurements of a signal (as between the input and output signal)
    acoustic projection, projection, sound projection
    the acoustic phenomenon that gives sound a penetrating quality
    electrical conduction
    the passage of electricity through a conductor
    Doppler effect, Doppler shift
    change in the apparent frequency of a wave as observer and source move toward or away from each other
    red shift, redshift
    (astronomy) a shift in the spectra of very distant galaxies toward longer wavelengths (toward the red end of the spectrum); generally interpreted as evidence that the universe is expanding
    wave front
    all the points just reached by a wave as it propagates
    electrical disturbance
    electrical signals produced by unwanted sources (atmospherics or receiver noise or unwanted transmitters)
    static electricity
    electricity produced by friction
    current electricity, dynamic electricity
    a flow of electric charge
    thermoelectricity
    electricity produced by heat (as in a thermocouple)
    stress
    (physics) force that produces strain on a physical body
    electromagnetic interaction
    an interaction between charged elementary particles that is intermediate in strength between the strong and weak interactions; mediated by photons
    gravitational interaction
    a weak interaction between particles that results from their mass; mediated by gravitons
    color force, strong force, strong interaction
    (physics) the interaction that binds protons and neutrons together in the nuclei of atoms; mediated by gluons
    weak force, weak interaction
    (physics) an interaction between elementary particles involving neutrinos or antineutrinos that is responsible for certain kinds of radioactive decay; mediated by intermediate vector bosons
    suction
    a force over an area produced by a pressure difference
    sunrise
    atmospheric phenomena accompanying the daily appearance of the sun
    sunset
    atmospheric phenomena accompanying the daily disappearance of the sun
    afterglow
    a glow sometimes seen in the sky after sunset
    interfacial surface tension, interfacial tension
    surface tension at the surface separating two non-miscible liquids
    torque, torsion
    a twisting force
    vapor pressure, vapour pressure
    the pressure exerted by a vapor; often understood to mean saturated vapor pressure (the vapor pressure of a vapor in contact with its liquid form)
    virtual image
    a reflected optical image (as seen in a plane mirror)
    electromotive force, emf, voltage
    the rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit; expressed in volts
    magnetomotive force
    the force that produces magnetic flux
    elan vital, life force, vital force, vitality
    (biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical) once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and development of organisms
    waterpower
    the power to do work that is latent in a head of water
    atmospheric condition, conditions, weather, weather condition
    the atmospheric conditions that comprise the state of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and wind and clouds and precipitation
    zodiacal light
    a luminous tract in the sky; a reflection of sunlight from cosmic dust in the plane of the ecliptic; visible just before sunrise and just after sunset
    parallax
    the apparent displacement of an object as seen from two different points that are not on a line with the object
    Tyndall effect
    the phenomenon in which light is scattered by very small particles in its path; it makes a beam of light visible; the scattered light is mainly blue
    type of:
    natural phenomenon
    all phenomena that are not artificial
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