Thursday, November 10, 2011

Physics Apps

So, what physics or physics-related apps do you have installed on your smartphones or tablets? Angry Birds does not count! :)

I think there's a tendency to try all those "physics equations" or calculator and stuff, but in my case, I don't find that to be that useful. So all in all, I only have two apps that I would consider to be related. One is more of a "useful" type that I can look up whenever I need to, while the other is more of an "amusement" type.

First of all, I have an Android phone. I would like to have an iPhone, but that's another story entirely. But so far, my Samsung Galaxy S II is working just fine, and it is slowly weening me off from wanting an iPhone. So all of my apps are obviously those available on the Android platform.

The apps that I consider to be useful is a periodic table app called Periodic Droid. I need this because, as someone who deals with materials issue often as part of my job, it is nice to be able to look up properties of elements on the spot, especially in a meeting. I tend to not carry my laptop with me all the time, so having access to a periodic table and search some of the basic properties is usually useful. The Periodic Droid is a free app, which means it comes with advertisement, but you can send in a donation and it will give you a code to change it to a no-ad app.

The apps gives a list of standard info for each element, such as: symbol, atomic number element category (metals, semi-metals, etc.), atomic weight, the phase state at 0 C, boiling point, melting point, electronegativity, crystal structure, period, group, electron affinity (in kJ/mol, but it would have been nice to have it directly in eV), valence number, first ionization potential (in kJ and eV, now that's more like it), atomic radius, covalent radius, ionic radius, sheer modulus, density, thermal conductivity, specific heat, heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, heat atomization (?), atomic volume, year discovered, abundance in sea water (?), abundance in Earth's crust, color, electron configuration, oxidation states, source, toxic or not, carcinogen or not, use (?), number of neutrons, electrons per shell, half-life, lifetime, name of discover/s, name of "first isolator", and monoistopic mass. Phew!!

I certainly don't need all of that, but knowing the electron configuration, crystal structure, electron affinity, first ionization, and conductivity are all useful at one time or another. So these are nice to have at my fingertips, or at least, close by.

The other app that I have is more of an amusement. It is Google Sky, and it is free. Google Sky lets you use your device to look at the known stars and constellations. You hold it up in any direction, and the screen will display all the known stars and constellations that are directly behind it in the sky! It is a very cool app! It will even show if one of our solar system planets is in that view. I've used it to identify a bright dot in the sky that I observed with my naked eye, and it happened to be Saturn. And guess what? I don't think there's an equivalent app for iOS. There certainly isn't a Google Sky app for that platform, since someone did try to look for it.

I've browsed the Android Market looking at other physics/math-related apps, and so far nothing else has caught my eye. So, do you have such an app that you would like to recommend?



rallain said...

There is not a version of google sky on the iphone (at least I don't think so) - but Stellarium is quite nice (and free).

Pi-Guy said...

For iPhone there is Stellarium, a free astronomy app which works like Google sky. I can scan the sky by hand with it on the fly. Very functional and useful. It includes a night mode, which expresses the visuals in shades of red so as not to spoil your eyes' dark adaptation.

But I still haven't found anything definitive in the way of physics apps. There are calculators with just some basic Newtonian mechanics. Hyperphysics has a paid app, but so far it's essentially just screen caps from the website. You could just as easily go to the site on your phone's browser.

SFG said...

How about Star Walk for iOS? That's the one they showed in the iPad commercial a while back.

SueW said...

LHSee - not useful for a researcher in the field, but a wonderful teaching tool for those curious about the LHC and how detectors and experiments work.

NASA - useful resource if you are teaching astronomy.

I have a periodic table that's just called "Periodic Table", by Socratica. It also gives you a lot of information - most of the things you listed plus hardness (on two scales), bulk modulus, speed of sound, neutron cross section, and the like. No ads. It also has a "quiz" function.

Satellite AR - tracks pretty much everything orbiting the Earth, in case you want to look for it.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - what's going on with the Sun, right now, at a couple dozen different wavelengths.

And then for fun:

Slide Rule (it really works!)

Tricorder - sounds silly but it lets you see the accelerometer, and also measures magnetic field strength, analyzes the local acoustic spectrum, and gives you your GPS location along with a compass.

lumbricus said...

AndroSensor is great.

For a bit of fun...Antikythera Simulation.

Boltzmann said...

Atoms in Motion! The first MD program on the iPad. It's awesome. It only does Noble Gases but it really has promise.

JimmyD said...

Some good iPad apps on gravity:

Newton's Playground, 3D Visualization of gravitational nBody equations.. worth taking a look I think, Looks nice and is pretty fun to mess around with anyway.

Also planet simulation was nice -- similar idea but no 3D.