Physics lecture demonstrations at Boston University

The current on-line demo catalog contains:

Last update : 27 July 2000

The lecture demonstrations available at Boston University's Physics department are classified according to the scheme suggested by PIRA, the Physics Instructional Resource Association. For more information about PIRA, look at the PIRA home page. A complete list of demonstrations, along with a brief description of each demonstration, including references, can be found in the demonstration bibliography.

Demonstrations are continually being developed and acquired, and these pages contain the most up-to-date list available. Please note that demonstrations are not necessarily confined to the list: if you have an idea for a good demonstration it's possible to acquire and/or build the apparatus required.

Ordering a demonstration

It's one thing to talk about a concept, or to draw it on a board, but to demonstrate it in front of people is a great way to bring physics to life. To request a demonstration for a class or group, please contact the demonstration coordinator, Andrew Duffy, in room 109A in the Science Building. Requests are best made in person, and plenty of advance notice is appreciated, but feel free to make arrangements by phone at 353-2634, or by e-mail at

Andrew Duffy and Ali Loewy are developing on-line material, built around simulations, aimed at introductory physics students. Go to Physlabs to check out what we've done so far. We've started with electric forces, fields, potential and potential energy, but we plan to expand into other topics.

Interactive Lecture Demonstrations

Preview our new program of Interactive Lecture Demonstrations.

Demos for specific courses

Look here for a record of demonstrations done in particular courses.

Demonstrations by topic

  1. Mechanics
  2. Fluid mechanics
  3. Oscillations and waves
  4. Thermodynamics
  5. Electricity and magnetism
  6. Optics
  7. Modern Physics

Multimedia, audio-visual and other resources

Java simulations

Simulations for first-semester introductory physics, particularly mechanics, that have been created right here at BU.

If you have ideas for other simulations, or you'd like to request one to be custom-designed, let me know at

Demonstrations at other universities

Suppliers of demonstration equipment

Large scientific-supply companies:

Large general-supply company:

Specialty companies:


The bulk of the diagrams originated at the University of Minnesota, with the artists including Becca Gowdy, Robert Netzer, Rob Loucks, Jodi Eineicher, and Mike Walker.

The assistance of Steve Brooks at UNC Chapel Hill is also much appreciated.

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