Java Applet and VRML Resources for Teaching and Learning

This page is dedicated to web sites containing Java Applets and Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) that cover physics and astronomy topics. Additions to the existing resources will be added regularly.

Contents

Astronomy Applets

Java Applets on Astronomy Here there are three applets "Celestial Poles", "Apparent Movement of a Star" and "The Brightest Fixed Stars" which are aimed at introductory level astronomy courses. The applets are interactive and can be used in lectures, or by students in their own time to reinforce learning. The source code for the applets is available.
Stellar Astronomy Simulations Three interactive simulations are: "Stellar evolution on the H-R diagram", "Spectroscopic Binary" and "Eclipsing Binary". The simulations, a complement to a foundation level astronomy course, are interactive and the parameters can be changed and the outcomes displayed.
Java Applets for Space Education Contains a dozen interactive applets related to astronomy and space. Most of the applets are aimed at more advanced level astronomy courses.
Virtual Astronomy Lab This website contains 2 Java applets. The first deals with Stellar Evolutionary Tracks for 8 different inital mass and Z conditions. The second shows the Nucleosynthesis Processes. These applets could be used in lectures.
Java Applet Excercises from California State University These applet excercises were written for an undergraduate lab for non-science majors. There are two main links: (1) Planetary Motion covers the motion of a moon around a planet. (2) Virtual Astronomy Lab comprises links to interactive simulations illustrating how astronomers make astronomical measurements using a telescope coupled to other equipment. These pages are useful as they show how astronomy exercises could be presented to students because there are clear instructions, interactive experiments and the applets are clear and concise.
Java Sky Image Processor This application called SIP (Sky Image Processor) was written by for students to show the basic principles of astronomical image processing. The program provides simple general tools to enable standard CCD image processing tasks in a step-by-step manner.
Virtual Radio Telescope Interferometer This applet simulates the operation of a technique in radio astronomy called earth rotation aperture synthesis. An on-line guide to the basic principles of this technique is also available. The source code is not available.
Programs for Astronomy (Level 12) This web site contains seven Java applets which cover topics including Moons in the Solar System, Binary Star Systems Face-on and Edge-on, The Edge-on Disk of Beta Pictoris, Planets Orbiting Other Stars and Spiral Galaxies. All the applets are interactive and easy to use. These simulations are aimed at introductory level courses and can be used as either part of a lecture or by students in their own time.
Virtual Reality Worlds for Astronomy This web site contains about a dozen astronomical virtual reality worlds for students studying a "Stars, Galaxies and Universe" course at the University of Syracuse. The virtual reality models cover topics including the distribution of Globular clusters, the homogenity of the universe using star count data and the effects of parallax. These virtual reality worlds are aimed at introductory level astronomy and could be used both in lectures and also for the student to explore to reinforce ideas in their own time. In order to use these simulations CosmoPlayer versions 2.0/2.1 is required. CosmoPlayer is a free program and the link to the site where it can be obtained is given on the Virtual Reality Worlds for Astronomy web page. Browsers such as Netscape 4.x already ship with CosmoPlayer.

Classical Mechanics

Mark's Classical Mechanics AppletsThere are 9 applets which illustrate the following quantum mechanics topics: Projectile Motion, Damped Harmonic Oscillator, Elastic Collisions, Coupled Oscillator, Coriolis and Centrifugal Forces, Kepler Problem, Simple Plane Pendulum, Chaos in Driven Pendulum and Motion in an Electromagnetic Field. The applets are slightly restricted in their funcationality with the full functional versions being available for $29 from the author but can still be used for teaching or learning the concepts involved. Each applet comes with instructions and a brief description of the principle being illustrated.
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Electromagnetism-based Applets

VRML Gallery of Electromagnetism There are over 50 VRML simulations which attempt to visualize the vector fields in electromagnetism. Topics covered include charged points/dipoles/spheres/cylinders, parallel plate capacitors and Maxwell-Ampere law. As in the case of the Virtual Worlds for Astronomy VRML simulations, CosmoPlayer (a VRML player), is required.
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Electronics-based Applets

Java Applets on Semi-Conductor Physics There are 8 applets dedicated to the area of semi-conductor physics covering topics including p-n junction electrostatics, calculation of Fermi level/n and p, and hetrojunction band diagrams. Each applet is interactive and comes with a brief description of the physics principle that applet is associated with. These applets could be used in lectures or for students to explore in their own time. Source code is not available.
Simple Electronics Logic Circuit Simulation This simulator allows you to construct simple logic circuits using drag-and-drop component icons. Components such as LEDs, swtiches and the logic AND/NOT/EOR gates etc are included. Connections from and to other components are simply made by clicking the mouse on the connectors and dragging the virtual wires. This simulation is aimed at A-level or foundation level electronics courses. The simulation can be run on-line or the source code can be downloaded. Requires a browser that supports Java 1.1.
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General (multi-topic) Physics Applet Resources

Java Applets on Physics This website contains links to 41 Java applets covering a range of physics topics: Meachanics, Oscilaations & Waves, Electrodynamics, Optics, Thermodynamics, Theory of relativity, Physics of Atoms and Nuclear Physics. The applets are aimed at mainly foundation level physics. The applets are interactive and can be used in lectures, or by students in their own time to reinforce learning. The source code for each applet is available.
Fu-Kwun Hwang's Physics Java Applets A Virtual Physics Laboratory selection of Java Applets at the University of Hawaii. Mechanics, Dynamics, Waves and Oscillations, Thermodynamics, EM-Field, Optics and Light. Most of the applets come with instructions and a small description. Most are suitable for foundation level courses and for showing in lectures.
Physics Applets at the University of Oregon These Java applets cover astrophysics, energy and the environment, mechanics and thermodynamics.
WebPhysics Physlets These interactive Java applets cover a range of physics topics. They come with a description of the principle that is being simulated A number of applets are available in version 1.0 and 1.1 and the source codes are available.
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Quantum, Nuclear and Particle Physics Applets

Mark's Quantum Mechanics Applets There are 6 applets which illustrate the following quantum mechanics topics: A 2-D and 3-D slice of the Hydrogen Atom, Heisenberg Uncertainty Princple, Simple Harmonic Oscillator, Scattering from a 1-D square well and the infinitely-deep square well. The applets are slightly restricted in their funcationality with the full functional versions being available for $29 from the author but can still be used for teaching or learning the concepts involved.
Stern-Gerlach Experiment This applet is designed to illustrate the measurement process in quantum mechanics through a visualization of the Stern-Gerlach Experiment. Prior to starting the applet, there is a short introduction to the Stern-Gerlach experiment which covers a description of the apparatus and a brief overview of the related topics as spin quantization and measurement in quantum mechanics. The applet is interactive and the user can change parameters such as pure state or statistical nature experiment is executed and the state-vector angle. There is also the option of having sound as each measurement is made.
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Statistical/Data Analysis Applets

Rice Virtual Labs in Statistics There are 21 Java applets which demonstrate various statistical concepts including the binomial distribution, chi-squared and regression analysis. In addition to statistics-based Java applets, this website includes an online statistics book, links to other statistics resources on the web, examples of real data with analyses and interpretation and some basic statistical analysis tools. All the applets require a browser that supports Java 1.1. The source code is available for the applets upon request.
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Thermo-Physics

ThermoPhysics Animations There are 3 non-interactive Java applet animations which cover Carnot Engine and Cycle, Otton Engine and Cycle and finally Diesel Engine/Diesel cycle. Each animation comprises a cross section
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Waves and Optics Applets

Optical Raytracting Applet This is an interactive applet which allows a basic optical system comprising a lens/mirror, a beam, object and aperture to be constructed and raytraced. The parameters of the individual components can be changed the outcomes explored. Basic instruction are given and some exercises are presented. This applet is aimed at foundation level courses and can be used by students for further exploration or in lecturers.
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Directories of Physics and Astronomy Applets

Digital Cat's Java Resources This website contains links to web sites which have Java applets covering Physics, Astronomy, Electronics, Math, Earth Sciences and Chemistry. A large number of the applets are interactive and some have associated descriptions of the physics principle that is being illustrated. The majority of the applets are aimed at foundation level courses.
Developer.Com Applet Resources This website contains links to web sites which have physics, engineering and math java applets, in addition to a number of other subjects.
Institue of Physics TIPTOP Java Applet Resources
Java Applet Rating Service (JARS) This website contains links to Java applets covering a range of physics topics. The applets are aimed at mainly foundation level physics. Each link comes with information such as whether a review of the applet is available, the availability of the source code and where the applet can be viewed/downloaded. A number of the applets come with a star-rating meaning that have been reviewed and rated by in-house personell and an indepedant group of skilled judges on the applet's presentation, functionality and orginality.
Virtual Physics Labs and Simulations This web page contains links to Java applets covering the following topics: Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Light and Optics, Astrophysics, Waves, Sound and Nuclear Physics. The majority of the applets are aimed at foundation level physics courses.
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Please Note: If the source code is not available this means that the applet(s) has/have to be run over the Internet from the host site. Please bear this in mind since (a) an Internet connection socket must be available if the applet is to be used in a lecture theatre and (2) the Internet connection may either be slow or the host machine may be unavailable.
This page was created by Lee Sproats and Simone Richardson. Last update on 29th October 2002
© CTI Centre for Physics 2000