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August 4, 2014
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Various Principles of Physics illustrated with GIF animations

Everything that we see around us is due to some basic science principle. And just like every other field, physics is also governed by a set of principles. The most basic physical principles deal with particles, atoms and energy which are the constituent of pretty much everything in the known universe. Various physics related principles are featured here with their corresponding animations for better understanding.

1) Archimedes’ Principle

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According to this principle, a body that is submerged in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal in magnitude to the weight of the fluid that is displaced, and directed upward along a line through the center of gravity of the displaced fluid. Some common applications of Archimedes principle include the submarine and hot-air ballons.

2) Bernoulli’s Principle

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Bernoulli principle states that as the speed of a moving fluid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. Fluid can be in liquid or gaseous state. The animation shows the lift produced as a result of the low pressure created on the upper surface of the air-plane’s wings compared to the pressure on the wing’s lower surfaces,causing the wing to be lifted upward. This uplifting is mainly on the basis of Bernoulli’s principle. 

3) Causality Principle

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The principle that cause must always precedes effect. More formally, if an event A (“the cause”) somehow influences an event B (“the effect”) which occurs later in time, then event B cannot in turn have an influence on event A. That is, event B must occur at a later time t than event A, and further, all frames must agree upon this ordering.

4) Fermat’s Principle

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The principle states that the path taken by a ray of light between any two points in a system is always the path that takes the least time. The animation shows the derivation of Snell’s law using the Fermat’s principle of least time.

5) Huygens’ Principle

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The mechanical propagation of a wave (specifically, of light) is equivalent to assuming that every point on the wave front acts as point source of wave emission. Huygens’ Principle is particularly useful analysing what happens when diffraction, the bending of waves behind obstacles, and refraction occur.

6) Pascal’s Principle

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Pascal’s principle states that pressure applied to an enclosed incompressible static fluid is transmitted undiminished to all parts of the fluid. Hydraulic systems operate according to Pascal’s law.

7) Superposition Principle

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The principle is based on the idea that, when a number of influences are acting on a system, the total influence on that system is merely the sum of the individual influences; that is, influences governed by the superposition principle add linearly. The animation shows how two sinusoidal waves with the same amplitude and frequency can add either destructively or constructively depending on their relative phase.

8) Uncertainty Principle

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A principle, central to quantum mechanics, which states that two complementary parameters (such as position and momentum, energy and time, or angular momentum and angular displacement) cannot both be known to infinite accuracy. The uncertainty principle states that the more you know about one, the less you know about the other. The animation shows the relevant spreads in the uncertainty for position and momentum (for a light wave, and the light wave’s corresponding photon particle).

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