acceleration: A change in the speed or direction of some object.

average: (in science) A term for the arithmetic mean, which is the sum of a group of numbers that is then divided by the size of the group.

concrete: To be solid and real. (in construction) A simple, two-part building material. One part is made of sand or ground-up bits of rock. The other is made of cement, which hardens and helps bind the grains of material together.

conservation: The act of preserving or protecting something. The focus of this work can range from art objects to endangered species and other aspects of the natural environment.

data: Facts and/or statistics collected together for analysis but not necessarily organized in a way that gives them meaning. For digital information (the type stored by computers), those data typically are numbers stored in a binary code, portrayed as strings of zeros and ones.

environment: The sum of all of the things that exist around some organism or the process and the condition those things create. Environment may refer to the weather and ecosystem in which some animal lives, or, perhaps, the temperature and humidity (or even the placement of things in the vicinity of an item of interest).

equation: In mathematics, the statement that two quantities are equal. In geometry, equations are often used to determine the shape of a curve or surface.

factor: Something that plays a role in a particular condition or event; a contributor.

force: Some outside influence that can change the motion of an object, hold objects close to one another, or produce motion or stress in a stationary object.

information: (as opposed to data) Facts provided or trends learned about something or someone, often as a result of studying data.

infrared: A type of electromagnetic radiation invisible to the human eye. The name incorporates a Latin term and means “below red.” Infrared light has wavelengths longer than those visible to humans. Other invisible wavelengths include X-rays, radio waves and microwaves. Infrared light tends to record the heat signature of an object or environment.

kinetic energy: The energy held by an object due to its being in motion. The amount of this energy contained will depend on both the mass (usually weight) of the object and its speed.

laser: A device that generates an intense beam of coherent light of a single color. Lasers are used in drilling and cutting, alignment and guidance, in data storage and in surgery.

mass: A number that shows how much an object resists speeding up and slowing down — basically a measure of how much matter that object is made from.

physics: The scientific study of the nature and properties of matter and energy. Classical physics is an explanation of the nature and properties of matter and energy that relies on descriptions such as Newton’s laws of motion. Quantum physics, a field of study that emerged later, is a more accurate way of explaining the motions and behavior of matter. A scientist who works in such areas is known as a physicist.

potential energy: The energy held by an object due not to its motion but instead to its position or condition (such as being held motionless by a brake or suspended from a wire). Examples of objects possessing this type of energy include a compressed spring or a mass of snow on a hillside (think of its capacity to create an avalanche).

range: The full extent or distribution of something. For instance, a plant or animal’s range is the area over which it naturally exists. (in math or for measurements) The extent to which values can vary (such as the highest to lowest temperatures). Also, the distance within which something can be reached or perceived.

sun: The star at the center of Earth’s solar system. It is about 27,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Also a term for any sunlike star.

variety: (in agriculture) The term that plant scientists give to a distinct breed (subspecies) of plant with desirable traits. If the plants were bred intentionally, they are referred to as cultivated varieties, or cultivars.

wood: A porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees, shrubs and other woody plants.

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