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Using This Site


Physics for the 21st Century consists of 11 units. Each unit includes a thirty-minute video and an online textbook chapter. Additionally, there are three interactive lab activities that bring together concepts from several units into one focused activity. A Facilitator's Guide, with discussion questions and activities, is provided in a downloadable PDF document. Information on obtaining graduate credit for taking the course is also available at

Web Site

The Physics for the 21st Century Web site is a home base—a place to organize the different components of the project and to locate additional information for each unit. Animations shown in the videos are available on the Web site so that users may study them in more detail. Transcripts of the video interviews with scientists are available for each unit, and a comprehensive glossary defining important terms from the online textbook chapters, with links to animations or text where these concepts are explained or indicated, are highlighted throughout the chapters and Web site.

Order of Units

Users may decide to study all 11 units, or they may be interested in a single subject. Each unit is complete in its focus, but one unit may refer to ideas and techniques presented in other units. For a comprehensive look at the many ideas presented in Physics for the 21st Century, following the order, from one to eleven, is suggested.

Content Descriptions

  1. Videos
    Videos feature interviews with two scientists who are carrying out important research at the frontier of physics.
  2. Textbook Chapters
    The units provide core content reading that extends and deepens concepts introduced in the video case studies.
  3. Scientist Biographies
    Biographies of scientists include photographs and additional interview transcripts for those scientists featured in the videos.
  4. Visuals
    Animations, photographs, and other graphics from the text and videos are compiled separately by unit, title, and type.
  5. Interactive Activities
    Three activities, each coordinated with one level of scale—subatomic, intermediate, and cosmic—reinforce key concepts discussed in this course.
  6. Facilitator's Guide
    The Facilitator's Guide is a companion to the online text, and is intended to be used by a facilitator running an on-site professional development course for high school physics teachers. Independent learners may also find the activities useful.
  7. Glossary
    Includes important terms and concepts from the text and videos.



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