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Physics Education Technology - University of Colorado, Boulder
PhET Blog

See PhET in the July Issue of RSC’s Education in Chemistry

Molecule Polarity

We’re excited to see PhET team member Emily Moore’s study featured in  Probing Use of Simulations published in the July 2013 issue of the RSC’s Education in Chemistry.

Emily’s study was designed to provide insight into interactive simulation use during guided-inquiry activities in chemistry classes. In the study, 80 students in a General Chemistry class were given ten minutes to explore PhET simulation Molecule Polarity with no instructions on how to interact with the simulation. Using mouse click data, audio recordings and clicker question responses, she investigated: students’ ability to use the simulation by analyzing the extent to which they explored the simulation, the discussions students engaged in during simulation use, and student perceptions of simulation use.

As RSC Editor, David Read, says, “The analysis of recordings provides a fascinating glimpse of the student perspective, and does support the conclusion that the implicit scaffolding genuinely works.”

To read the full results of the study, see Emily’s article, Interactive Simulations as Implicit Support for Guided-Inquiry, in the RSC’s Chemistry Education and Research Practice. 


Oct 4


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


HTML5 Balloons and Static Electricity

Balloons and Static Electricity

Have you tried our new HTML5 version of Balloons and Static Electricity?

Why does a balloon stick to your sweater? Rub a balloon on a sweater, then let go of the balloon and it flies over and sticks to the sweater. View the charges in the sweater, balloons, and the wall.


Sep 19


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


Learn about the Future of PhET


Don’t forget to see our video on the Future of PhET to learn about what’s in store for our next-gen simulations. In addition, you can read about it here.


Sep 6


Try the HTML5 Beer’s Law Lab


Have you tried PhET’s HTML5 version of Beer’s Law Lab?

“The thicker the glass, the darker the brew, the less the light that passes through.” Make colorful concentrated and dilute solutions and explore how much light they absorb and transmit using a virtual spectrophotometer!

Don’t forget to visit the Java version to find the activities and description. And, to our US PhET users, have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!


Aug 30


Now Available New HTML5 Gravity Force Lab

Gravity Force Lab

Try the new next-gen version of our popular Gravity Force Lab — now for touch and tablets! With a touch of your finger, experience how the gravitational force that two objects exert on each other changes as you alter their properties. What happens as you increase the mass of the objects? What happens as you move them farther apart?


Aug 24


Next-Gen HTML5 Sims Now Live! (And, new logo, too)

New HTML5 Sims

We are so excited to release our next-gen HTML5 sims—just in time for the 2013-2014 academic year! These HTML5 versions not only are touch and tablet optimized but also have built-in flexibility that will enable us to easily facilitate future improvements, including enhanced 3rd-party customization and assessment abilities.

To learn about the new features, and the Future of PhET, watch the video on the right-side of the new (and temporary) “HTML5 HomePage”. The video gives tips on how to use the sims, as well as a glimpse to see what’s coming.

Do you like our new logo? We hope that the new logo reflects our mission to advance science and math literacy worldwide by making STEM active, engaging and most of all, fun!

And, if you’d like to support our next-gen sims, Donate today!
P.S. We are working on updating the logo on our donation page.


Aug 17


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


Teaching Chemistry this Fall? Don’t Forget Our Chemistry Sim Alignment Guide


To help you find the best simulation for teaching a specific topic in chemistry, don’t forget to use our preliminary guide that gives you a line up of specific simulations (and supplemental simulations) for topic areas in the general chemistry curriculum.


Aug 8