Monday, August 26, 2013

Free Physics Games and Simulations

Want to conduct a variety of physics experiments but don't have a high-tech lab at your disposal? That's no problem; just check out the hundreds of free, online PhET simulations to test your physics knowledge and discover something new.

These simulations have been around for awhile, but the PhET team at the University of Colorado Boulder has recently migrated several of them into HTML5. This means you can experiment with physics on just about any browser on your laptop, tablet, or phone – all for free.

Previously, the simulations required both JAVA and Flash – a platform that Apple has officially rejected for use on its mobile devices although workarounds do exist.

Here's a sample of the new HTML5 simulations:

Orbits and "Star Ballet"

In this sim, you can create your own solar system complete with a sun, planets, and moons. Just set the starting mass, position, and velocity of the planets around a central (more massive) star.

If you need some inspiration, try the various preset conditions in the top right. "Star Ballet" and the binary star look especially cool.

Click here for a full screen version.

Lunar Lander

This game pits you against gravity in a battle to safely land a lunar module. Turn on the vectors to better see how your thrusters are changing the acceleration and velocity of your module.

Click here for a full screen version.

Radiating Charge

See how the electric field radiating from a point charge change as you move the charge around. Try the preset motions and increase the frequency for some trippy-looking electric fields. The only rule in this simulation is the universal speed limit: the speed of light.

Click here for a full screen version.

You can play all of the PhET simulations on the team's website where they are sorted by subject and grade level. Not all of them are currently running on HTML5, but it looks like the PhET web team continues to switch the simulations over one at a time.

H/T Rhett Allain:


  1. open source physics has also released 2 javascript model that runs on mobile browsers!

  2. Here are my favourite PHYSICS games and simulations :)

  3. Hi, where can i download this kind of games?

  4. Want to conduct a variety of physics experiments but don't have a high-tech lab at your disposal? free video editing software

  5. It's really an informative and well described post. I appreciate your topic for blogging. Thanks for sharing such a useful post.

  6. Check out WaveWorkshop, which simulates coherent waves and their interference in 2-dimensional space.
    Thanks for WebGL, animations are smooth. Just run the demo!

  7. Now at The Physics Classroom: 50 free HTML5 interactives - skill-building exercises, simulations and game-like challenges. Visit