These simulations (and the associated exploration activities) were mainly written by me while I was a professor of physics
at Bridgewater College in Virginia, USA, and have been used by myself and other
professors and teachers in physics and astronomy courses. The goal of
the project continues to be to
develop web-based simulations (with exercises) that are interactive
visualizations of scientific concepts. While designed
primarily for high school and college students, these
activities have also been used by lay person with some
- Visualization: Most persons learn better
when a scientific concept or its consequences can
be visualized. All of the Phys-Astro Sims activities
emphasize visual output so that a user will leave
the activity saying, "Ah ha, I saw it!".
- Interactive: Learning is also enhanced
when a participant interacts with the material
rather than just passively reading and reciting it. The Phys-Astro
activities allow the user to experiment and then
visualize the results of that experimentation.
- Web-based: The PhysAstro Sims
web-pages are written in
of the particular computer and web browser in use, to interact with
the concepts under study. If a simulation does not work in your
browser. please report this on the form
- Associated Exercise Page:
Each simulation has an accompanying lab "write-up" or exercise that
can guide a user through using the simulation to learn the concepts
upon which the simulation was built. These exercises can also be
modified by a teacher for their own purposes. Each one can be
completed within two-hours by a student.
- Additional Resources:
The introductory page to each simulation and the pages of the
simulation also describes the concepts involved. Books and other web
links are also included.
The simulations that are part of this PhysAstro Sims site
were originally written for the project entitled ISAW (pronounced "I
saw") which stood for Interactive Science Activities on the Web.
II. The Simulations and Associated Activities
III. Using The Activities
These simulations may be used directly from this Ed Tech by Bowman
site. However, if they are to be
used in a classroom/laboratory setting, then the
instructor may wish to copy them to their own server.
Permission is hereby granted to do such copying if the
hyperlinks to PhysAstro Sims and the author(s) are left intact. Check
the PhysAstro Sims site regularly so as to have available the
latest version of each activity on your own server.
The above simulations were tested using the latest versions (and many
earlier versions, too) of Microsoft
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and
Maxthon. and the simulations all worked fine. If you have a problem,
please report it to the address below. BUT beware of the following
- Browsers must be set to allow cookies and to be
simulations to function properly. (Cookies are
used to store values entered in a form so that
the next web page can use these values for its
- Text-based browsers will not be able to use these
activities since the resulting plots are images and cannot be
displayed as text.
IV. Other Physics Simulations
- Merlot--a large collection of many forms of multimedia learning
materials including the simulations at PhysAstro Sims. Many
of these are peer-reviewed.
PhET--a good collection of interactive simullaitons in physics, biology,
chemistry and math.
Physics Simulations--these were written by A. John Mallinckrodt
using the software, Interactive Physics.
Science, Optics and You--some Java tutorials on light and optics from the Molecular
Expressions site at Florida State University.
Fowler's Physics Applets--constructed by Michael Fowler, University of Virginia.
Simulabs--programs (no web functionality) for many lab simulaitons from Dr.
Rick Tarara of Saint Marys College (USA).
Interactive Physics Modules--featuring matter, electricity & magnetism,
energy and fusion.
2000--an interactive journey through modern physics.
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