This Physics Quiz Is Really Hard, So We'll Be Impressed If You Get Even 10 Right

By: Lauren Lubas
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
This Physics Quiz Is Really Hard, So We'll Be Impressed If You Get Even 10 Right
Image: Jon Feingersh Photography Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Someone took math and science and forced them together, and the reaction to that was physics. Physics is one of the most difficult subjects for people to wrap their minds around because it takes the concepts that hard sciences like biology give us and adds the most difficult math equations you can think of. Just knowing the basics of physics is a lot for one brain to handle, and in this quiz, we're taking it to a whole new level. We're exploring the concepts, equations, laws and theories that made physics what it is today: really, really hard to understand.

We know this quiz is going to be tough, but we promise to start you off with a few easier questions to warm you up ... just don't be surprised if you get a few of these wrong. As a matter of fact, we don't expect you to get more than 10 right, but we'll be really impressed if you do.

What are you waiting for? An object at rest will remain at rest until an outside force moves it ... It's time to be that outside force and scroll down to start answering questions!

Photo by Alex Tihonov / Moment / Getty Images
Can you tell us what a watt is?
Unit for power
Unit for force
Unit for pressure
Unit for weight
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In general, watts refer to how much power is in an electrical circuit. If you're ever out buying light bulbs, you will see the wattage of bulbs can be different. This shows how much light the bulb can produce, if put in a proper socket.

Smashed window
Tony Webster via WikiCommons
A ball breaks through a window and continues moving at a constant speed. Why didn't the window stop it?
The window resisted the break.
The ball doesn't abide by the rules of physics.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Inertia is an object's ability to resist change based on the composition of an object. This means that the ball didn't change momentum as it crashed through the glass because it was denser than the glass itself.

Free Fall skydiving
Wes Harrison via WikiCommons
If you fall with no force other than gravity, what kind of fall are you in?
Sea fall
Free fall
Gravitational fall
Marker fall
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When someone or something is in a free fall, there is no other force affecting their speed or acceleration than gravity. For example, a skydiver simply falls from the plane and allows gravity to help them accelerate.


Rub Hands
RUNSTUDIO / Moment / Getty Images
Two things are pressed together and there is no heat transfer. What is this called?
Thermal equilibrium
Unusable data
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Thermal equilibrium is a term used for two different objects that are of the same temperature. There is no heat transfer between them because neither is taking heat or releasing heat.

Magnifying glass
Towfiqu Photography / Moment / Getty Images
What is the ratio of the size of an object compared to the size of the image of an object?
Telescopic ratio
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are times when science has a tendency to make things a little more complicated than they have to be. Physics is no different. Magnification is when the image of something is a different size than the actually object.

Nuclear Fusion
Aarchiba~commonswiki via WikiCommons
If two light nuclei come together to form a heavier nucleus, what is happening?
Nuclear fission
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear meltdown
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When nuclear fusion occurs, you will also see a reaction in the form of a release or absorption of energy. Nuclear fusion requires extremely high temperatures to actually happen.


Bug on water
John Tann via WikiCommons
Why does it appear that some bugs can walk on water?
They have floating legs.
They don't really land on the water.
Surface tension
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Surface tension isn't exclusive to water. As a matter of fact, nearly every liquid has some amount of surface tension. This property of liquids functions very much like a membrane over it, adding resistance.

Image Source / DigitalVision / Getty Images
If something is infrasonic, what is it?
Humans can't hear it.
It annoys humans.
It disrupts human hearing.
It injures human hearing.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Infrasonic sound waves at a frequency so low that it cannot be heard by human ears. This frequency has to be less than 20Hz. However, if the pressure is high enough, humans can still perceive it.

Lyman Series
Physics4students via YouTube
What kind of series is the Lyman series?
Radio series
Podcast series
Spectral series
Book series
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The hydrogen atom is rather unique. The Lyman series refers to a group of lines (or a spectral series) within the ultraviolet region on the hydrogen spectrum. It is created when electrons move from one energy level to another within the atom.


Brightyellowjeans via WikiCommons
Can you tell us what a half-life is?
The amount of mass that is lost after 50 years
The pressure that is needed to disintegrate half of the atoms in an element
The amount of time it takes for half of the atoms in an element to disintegrate
The outside forces that disintegrate an atom
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A half-life also refers to the time it takes for the radioactivity of an isotope to be cut in half. Many elements have half-lifes that are much longer than you'd think. For example, Plutonium 239's half-life is over 24,000 years.

Weight Scale
Terry Vine / DigitalVision / Getty Images
The force with which a body is attracted to the center of the Earth based on its mass is called what?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While many people think of weight as how heavy something is, in physics terms, weight actually refers to force. You can figure out the weight of something by multiplying mass by gravity.

Seismometer Vibration
Gary S Chapman / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What exactly is a vibration?
Time multiplied by speed
A back and forth motion
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sound waves create vibrations. These vibrations are actually just a consistent motion that repeats itself, moving back and forth. The oscillations come from an equilibrium point and fan outward.


Manual labor
Alistair Berg / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What is work?
Pressure multiplied by force
Heat multiplied by pressure
Force multiplied by displacement
A unit of measurement for mass
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While many believe that work is something that you show up to every day, the true definition of work requires something to move or function. You can push on a brick wall until you're sweating, but if that wall doesn't move, you're not doing any work.

Open System
United States Department of Energy via WikiCommons
Matter and energy can both pass through what?
An open system
A closed system
An electrical system
The Fornum system
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are open systems and closed systems. In open systems, mass and energy can be lost or gained from the environment alone. On the other hand, closed systems don't interact with their environments.

Zeeman Effect
Jerry Zani via YouTube
What do you have to do to a spectral line to get the Zeeman effect?
Expose it to heat
Expose it to water
Expose it to cold
Expose it to a magnet
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A spectral line is a dark or bright line that occurs in a uniform spectrum. When you place a magnet to this spectrum, you can see the line begin to spit off. This is the Zeeman effect.


Metal springs
This Old Tony
According to Hooke's law, stress and what are directly proportional in an elastic limit?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When it comes to elasticity, Hooke's law explains what is needed to expand or contract a spring. The law states that stress and strain applied to an object must be proportional to achieve a goal.

Melting ice
SeppVei via WikiCommons
Do you know what an ice-point is?
The temperature ice cracks under atmospheric pressure
The pressure used to create ice without changing temperature
The mass of ice before it stops floating
The temperature ice melts based on regular atmospheric pressure
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The ice-point and the melting-point of ice are the same thing. It seems odd to call a melting-point an ice-point, but the temperature is consistent. It is either 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C.

Brocken Inaglory via WikiCommons
What is the steam-point of water?
100 degrees F
212 degrees F
50 degrees F
32 degrees F
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A steam-point doesn't necessarily refer to the temperature of the water itself. It actually is more specific to the steam above boiling water. In any case, at sea level, the steam-point of water is 212 degrees F.


midnightcomm via WikiCommons
When a system changes but the temperature does not, what is it called?
Interthermal process
Semi-thermal process
Anti-thermal process
Isothermal process
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An isothermal process is necessary for creating reactions at slower speeds. They usually happen when the system (or the thing being changed) is changed very slowly with the help of a thermal reservoir or a heat bath.

Tara Moore / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Do you know which frequency is considered a ultrasonic sound?
19,254 Hz
17,201 Hz
21,574 Hz
4,748 Hz
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ultra sonic sound is any sound wave that has a frequency that is higher than a human's ability to hear it properly. That means any frequency over 20,000 Hz is considered ultrasonic.

Indolences via WikiCommons
What is the lowest energy state of an atom called?
Rest state
Fall state
Ground state
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The ground state of an atom is also called the zero-point energy of the system. The opposite of the ground state is known as the excited state, which is an a state that is anything above the ground state.


boonchai wedmakawand / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know what luminosity is?
The amount of light that creates heat from a source
The amount of time it takes for light to become visible
The distance light is able to travel from a stationary source
The amount of energy radiated from a source per second
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In physics, luminosity doesn't necessarily have to refer to light. It can refer to energy that isn't visible as well. It mostly refers to the amount of radiation that is emitted from a single source.

Light Waves
Lucas V. Barbosa via WikiCommons
Can you pick the wave that is NOT considered a mechanical wave?
Sound wave
Water wave
Light wave
Jump rope wave
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The only item on this list that is not a mechanical wave is a light wave. Light waves are considered electromagnetic waves because they can travel through a vacuum (like space), whereas mechanical waves cannot.

Geek3 via WikiCommons
Can you figure out which of these has nearly zero electrical resistance?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When it comes to the way electricity moves, nearly everything gives a little resistance. However, there are some materials that will reduce the resistance almost to zero under the right conditions.


Space Station
NASA via WikiCommons
Which law states that the radius vector joining the planet to the sun covers equal areas in equal intervals of time?
Kepler's first law of planetary motion
Kepler's second law of planetary motion
Newton's fourth law of gravity
Lenz's law
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In the 1600s, Kepler created three laws of planetary motion based on his observations of the stars. Each of these laws still holds up today based on our reviews of how the planets move and interact with other celestial bodies.

Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images
What is the ideal gas equation?
G = MC^2
PV = nRT
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The ideal gas equation describes the state of a hypothetical gas (or ideal gas). The P, V and T stand for pressure, volume and absolute temperature. The n represents moles of gas while R stands for the constant of the ideal gas.

Plane flying
Patrick Foto / Moment / Getty Images
Which of these does NOT effect natural frequency?
Air resistance
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To properly record the natural frequency of an oscillating object, you have to first ensure that there are no external forces affecting it. This will help you understand how the object moves without outside factors.


Joule's Law of Heating
Derek Owens via YouTube
Do you know what this equation is for? Q = I^2 Rt
Kelvin's law of heating
Relative mass
Joule's law of heating
Kinetic energy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Joule's law of heating defines the heat that is produced by an object. In this equation, the I stands for the current flowing through a resistor (represented by the r) over a given time (t). Q represents the heat that is produced.

Mix Chemicals
Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images
Do you remember Newton's third law of motion?
An object in motion will stay in motion until an outside force stops it.
There is no third law of motion.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
The gravitational attraction of two particles is proportional to their mass.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are three laws of motion, according to Newton. While you might not be able to see the fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction (because it can be subtle sometimes), this law has yet to be disproved.

Electron spin
The Science Asylum via YouTube
Which of these describes the spin orientation of an electron?
Spin quantum number
Quantum angle number
Tilt axis number
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The energy state of electron waves have four different descriptions. Of these four descriptions, the spin quantum number represents the orientation as it relates to an outside magnetic field.


Music Sheet
Karl Tapales / Moment / Getty Images
What is the lowest frequency a wave can vibrate freely known as?
Fundamental frequency
Ground frequency
Low frequency
No frequency
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

For those who study frequencies, the fundamental frequency is referred to as the fundamental. It is the lowest possible frequency of a wave form. For example, in music, it is the lowest pitch of a note.

Marekich via WikiCommons
If a nucleus contains three protons and two neutrons, what is its mass number?
There isn't enough information to answer this question.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In order to figure out the mass number of a nucleus, you have to first know how many protons and neutrons it has. If you know these two numbers, simply add them together and you have the mass number.

Boiling Pot
Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images
How would you describe thermal capacity to someone?
The amount of outside heat added to something to raise its temperature by one degree
The amount of heat something can hold
The amount of heat a solid can withstand before turning into a liquid
The amount of heat something releases.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you consider the definition of thermal capacity, it's important to note that the entire object or body needs to raise by one degree before the proper capacity can be calculated.


Boiling Water
Capelle.r / Moment / Getty Images
You're running an experiment to figure out how much heat you need to convert something from a liquid to a gas. What are you looking for?
The latent heat of vaporization
The despondent heat of vaporization
The vapor point
The Kelvin code
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The latent heat of vaporization refers to the amount of heat that is needed to convert a specified amount of liquid into its gaseous form. Here's the catch: when you're looking for the latent heat of vaporization, you can't change the temperature of the liquid. You simply have to add energy.

Martinvl via WikiCommons
How many watts are in one unit of horsepower?
Horsepower is not measured in watts
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Both a watt and a unit of horsepower are units that measure power. One H.P. (horsepower) is equivalent to 746 watts. Horsepower is used to describe the rate that mechanical energy is expended.

You Got:
Jon Feingersh Photography Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images