PhET Logo
Physics Education Technology - University of Colorado, Boulder
PhET Blog

Archive for the ‘General ’ Category

Carl Wieman Returns to CU as PhET Senior Advisor

Carl Wieman

We are delighted to announce that PhET Founder and Nobel Laureate, Carl Wieman, is returning to the University of Colorado Boulder this fall to serve part-time as PhET’s Senior Advisor. Carl will also join the faculty at Stanford University, in a split appointment between their Department of Physics and School of Education.

Says PhET Director, Kathy Perkins, “Carl is great to work with, and I’m very excited to be able to partner with him once again to advance PhET’s impact on STEM education over the next 10 years. The expertise in science education and education research that he brings to the project are absolutely invaluable.”

For more information, see


Sep 28


PhET Still Available But…

Please be patient with any issues or questions regarding PhET simulations. Boulder, including the University of Colorado, has been experiencing devastating flooding and the University is officially closed. If you have any issues, please continue to send e-mails to But please be patient, we will get back to you.


Sep 13


Examples of PhET in HS Physics Courses

Fluid Pressure and Flow

Teaching HS physics?

Here’s a guide to PhET simulations and activities for high-school level courses. In the guide, you’ll find example simulations, activities and demos for Mechanics (e.g., Moving Man, Energy Skate Park, and Masses and Springs) and Electricity & Magnetism (e.g., Waves on a String, Electric Field Hockey, and Circuit Construction Kit).

Wishing everyone a great 2013-2014 year. And, look for new HTML5 next-gen sims coming out soon!


Aug 14


Play in the Snow with Our Glaciers Simulation


Looking for a fun educational way to cool off? Adjust mountain snowfall and temperature to see the glacier grow and shrink in our Glaciers simulation. Use scientific tools to measure thickness, velocity and glacial budget.


Jul 29


See PhET in a Swedish Television Series on STEM Ed

Swedish TV Series on PhET

Last April, we hosted a Swedish TV film producer and crew that were interested in featuring the University of Colorado’s efforts in STEM education in a 30-minute episode for a Swedish television series on education. While the narration is in Swedish, the interviews with Founder, Carl Wieman, CU professors, and students are in English. See PhET in action at CU in the classrooms.

Here’s a link to the special that was aired on May 10, 2013 in Sweden:

“Is there a democratic classroom? Carl Wieman works to improve science education in the United States. At the University of Colorado scientists show that active learning, combined with new pedagogical tools give better results. Through web-based interactive tool, students can simulate the lab at their computers. Carl Wieman says, much of the science that is taught in the classroom allows students to sit with their brains turned off, while the teacher takes care thinking.”


Jul 22


Keep Math Skills Fresh with Fraction Matcher

Fraction Matcher

Want to keep those maths skills fresh over the summer? Try Fraction Matcher sim. Match shapes and numbers to earn stars in this fractions game. Students can challenge themselves at different levels, collecting stars as they improve their fraction skills.


Jul 16


Java 7 Incompatibility


On June 18, 2013, Oracle released Java 7 update 25 (1.7.0_25), which introduced an incompatibility that prevents PhET simulations from launching when using either the “Run Now” button on the website or the PhET Offline Website installer.

Oracle has fixed the problem and the fix should be available in the next version of Java (although this new version may not be released for some time).

Until this problem has been resolved, the best work-around for users experiencing this issue is to “Download” local copies of the simulations. When you press the “Download” button on a sim page, a “.jar” file will be downloaded. You can then double click the “.jar” file to run the sim locally. (Please note: on a Mac, you will have to right-click the “.jar” file and select “Open.”)



Jul 10


Healthy Eating with Our Eating and Exercise Simulation

Eating and Exercise

With summer fun here, explore how many calories are in your favorite summer foods and how much exercise you’d need to burn them off with the Eating and Exercise simulation.


Jul 3


NSF Highlights PhET on Their SEE Innovations Site

The NSF Logo

Read about how PhET Makes Learning Science Fun on the National Science Foundation’s Science, Engineering and Education (SEE) Innovations website.

“The PhET project’s main goals are to make science accessible, understandable and fun. In the new ‘Build A Molecule’ simulation, for example, students learn as they play. They discover that collections of atoms create molecules; that the number, type, and order of the atoms matter; and that the ‘twos’ in 2CO2 mean different things. Students build connections that provide a key foundation to understanding chemistry–connections between chemical names, chemical symbols, atomic arrangements and molecule shapes. In a recent study, fifth-grade students using the simulation demonstrated that they had learned these ideas–ideas that have been documented as difficult even at the college level.”


Jun 27


PhET in the Philippines

PhET Simulations are used not only in the United States, but also around the world. Rollan Inis from the Tagum City National High School in Tagum City, Philippines writes that Philippine teachers from remote “barangays” will be using the offline installation of PhET to “teach science in a very interesting manner.” In addition, PhET was used at a Grade 8 teacher training program held by the Department of Education.

Thanks Rollan for spreading the word on how PhET can enhance science and math learning in schools around the world.

Do you have a story on how PhET sims are being used? Please e-mail Kathy at


Jun 21