Physics in Pictures by Topic

Force & Motion

The bizarre brilliance of bismuth

Metallurgical Magic

The bizarre brilliance of bismuth

Schlieren flow visualization reveals the structure of a sonic boom

Seeing a Sonic Boom

Schlieren flow visualization reveals the structure of a sonic boom

Alternating vortices spawn over an island on the ocean.

Vortex Streets

Clouds form enormous eddies over the Juan Fernandez islands.

A layer of meltwater keeps ice moving through fluid with minimal turbulence

Ice Slips Through Water

A layer of meltwater keeps ice moving through fluid with minimal turbulence.


Space Dust Impact

A close look at the dangers of space dust.


Fluid Flags

Tiny filament "flags" leave beautiful fluid wakes


Physics of the Bed of Nails

How do people lie on a bed of nails without leaving a mark?


New Year's Eve Ball Drop

The physics behind the iconic celebration


STAR Collision

What happens when two gold ions collide

AFM virus

Virus Microscopy

An atomic force microscopy (AFM) scan reveals several hundred tobacco mosaic virus particles.

fractal globule

Fractal Globule

Experimental evidence suggests that the human genome may bundle into these unknotted fractal globules.

fluid fracture

Fluid Fracture

Pressing liquids as flat as possible yields unique designs.

stream network

Stream Network Branching

Ever wonder how streams form? Physicists are using models to better understand the branching of streams.

bouncing ball

Bouncing Ball

The simple act of bouncing a ball may not conjure up feelings of physics, but there is more physics going on than meets the eye. Tags: Force and Motion


Liquid Art

These images captured the moment streams of liquid collide, bending the streams and forming beautiful images.

berliner helicopter

Berliner Helicopter

What looks like a unique airplane was actually the first helicopter to make a controlled flight.


Smoke Rings in Water

A smoke-ring flow pattern - or vortex ring--can develop, pinch-off, and be regenerated, all without forces, when the flow is driven by chemical reactions.


LED Hula Hoopers and Fire Hoopers Show Physics in a Whole New Light

What does dancing have to do with physics? One photographer uses his understanding of light and technology to capture fire dancing and hula hooping, which inadvertently reveal different forces in physics and the nature of light.


Relativity Train

This train has endured space and time to teach physics to those wandering through the Bolivian desert.


Bouncing Jets

Oil is slick but did you know it can also bounce?


A New Twist

The frictionless flow of atoms within solid helium may be confined to the axis of a screw dislocation, a spiral defect like the one in this crystal of silicon carbide.


Molecular Motion

The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) can make impressive images of single atoms and molecules on surfaces; now it has been used to measure a molecule's internal motion.


Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

Puny tremors may be the real movers and shakers of the seismic world.