PhysicsQuest

Welcome to PhysicsQuest 2019!

PhysicsQuest experiment kits demonstrate the fun and relevance of science to middle school students as they learn more about the physical world. Each free kit offers activities to build enthusiasm for science and encourage active participation. In 2018, we distributed 20,000 kits to 6th through 9th-grade physical science classes, home school groups, science clubs, and after-school programs across the United States.

Register for PhysicsQuest 2019

On this year’s quest, students will discover Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu’s important contributions to physics, and complete four experiments to learn about:

  • Thermal energy and equilibrium, using hot and cold water
  • Exothermic and endothermic reactions, using steel wool and vinegar
  • Thermal insulating properties, using thermal paper
  • Freezing and melting points, using ice, salt, and sugar

Please note: PhysicsQuest kits are limited in quantity and available on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified by email if you will receive a kit, or if you will be added to the waitlist and contacted next year.

Share your scientific findings with us on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to tag #PhysicsQuest!

About PhysicsQuest

The aim of PhysicsQuest is to introduce students to the basic concepts of physics, through fun experiments that will sustain their interest in math and science. Each kit includes a user's manual and materials for four physics experiments designed to provide engaging and accessible lessons at the middle school level.

PhysicsQuest is brought to you by PhysicsCentral, a program facilitated by the American Physical Society (APS). PhysicsCentral strives to communicate the excitement and importance of physics to people of all ages. For additional information, please contact physicsquest@aps.org.

About the American Physical Society:
The American Physical Society (APS) is the premier professional society for physicists in the United States. APS shares the knowledge of physics by publishing journals, hosting scientific meetings, reaching out to the public, and promoting physics education.

Continue the Quest

Although kits for past PhysicsQuests are no longer available, your class can still complete the projects by downloading the guides below and using the provided materials list to collect everything else you need.


This year's PhysicsQuest was made possible by a generous donation from
Google


More PhysicsQuest


Although kits for past PhysicsQuest projects are no longer available, your class can still complete the projects. You can download all of the written materials and use the provided materials list to collect everything else you need.
 

Spectra's Energetic Escape thumb

Spectra's Energetic Escape (2018)

The students at Tesla Junior High are thrilled to hear that their favorite magazine, Fetch, has selected their school to be profiled in its upcoming issue. There’s just one twist—they aren’t profiling the whole school, just a select 16 students that will be competing in 24 hours of challenges to win tickets to see the latest, hottest boy band: the Free Radicals!


Spectra 9: Sonic Surprise

Spectra's Sonic Surprise (2017)

It’s bad enough that Lucy’s powers have mysteriously started to vanish—and goes from bad to worse when the school dance is cancelled because of a power outage! But something strange is happening to Kass, and it might just help the crew save the day.


Spectra 8: Spectra's Current Crisis

Spectra's Current Crisis (2016)

Andy and Cathy Terminal, two slick hucksters, have come to Lucy's town pitching the latest and greatest in electromagnetic entertainment—the Magno-Go-Round! But at the same time, a mysterious man in a white suit is overheard talking about scamming the town for all it's worth. Something's amiss, and it's up to Lucy and her friends to find out what!


Spectra 7: High Intensity

Spectra: High Intensity (2015)

Miss Alignment has broken out of jail and is on the loose hatching evil plans. Armed with a high IQ, an inferiority complex, and a secret lair, she will try yet again to control the town. Your students can help Spectra, her gang, and her new friend the Quantum Mechanic stop Miss Alignment’s focus on evil.


Spectra's Quantum Leap

Spectra's Quantum Leap (2014)

Tesla Junior High is in ruins after H. Toueaux destroyed the gym during the big swim meet. The gang is scattered between 3 different middle schools as they wait for their school to be rebuilt. When Lucy’s mom takes their ancient mini-van to Black Body Repair, she gets a little more than she bargained for. Owner and chief mechanic Pauli Black gives the van more than new brakes, she gives it a quantum kick. With the gang so spread out, Spectra will have to use both her laser powers and the quantum additions to her mom’s mini-van to stop the Quantum Mechanic's super-powered machines.


spectra-5-thumb

Spectra: Turbulent Times (2013)

Follow Spectra in her next adventure. It’s wintertime, and the swim team of Tesla Junior high has gone to Pasadena, CA for their yearly winter training camp. The state championship meet is coming up, where they will face the unbeaten Edison Middle School Wizards of Menlo Park, IN. Coach Henri Toueaux will stop at nothing to secure a new trophy for his office and he doesn’t care who he leaves in his wake, including his team. Follow Spectra and her gang as they use her laser powers and their knowledge of fluid flow to stop H. Toueaux from crossing the line from motivating coach to evil villain.


Physics Quest 2009: Spectra

Spectra Heats Up! (2011)

Lucinda Hene began life as the most ordinary of children. She did fairly well in school and was on the swim team but she longed to stand out. Child of brilliant laser scientists, Lucinda dreamed of being more than normal, of being extraordinary. Then one day it happened. She felt something inside her begin to change. She changed from normal Lucinda Hene to the powerful Spectra, a super hero with the powers of a laser. To unlock the mystery of her past and her powers Spectra must defeat the most evil of super villains, the beautiful yet deadly Miss Alignment.


Physics Quest 2010: Spectra

Spectra's Force (2010)

PhysicsQuest is a middle school competition that consists of four physical science experiments centered on a mystery. The experiments are designed to be done by small groups in a classroom or after school setting. Each of the experiments gives students a clue that they need to solve the mystery. Classes can submit their answers online and be entered into a random drawing for prizes. PhysicsQuest kits are provided free to registered classrooms.


Physics Quest 2009: Spectra

Spectra: The Original Laser Superhero & Spectra's Power (2009)

Lucinda Hene began life as the most ordinary of children. She did fairly well in school and was on the swim team but she longed to stand out. Child of brilliant laser scientists, Lucinda dreamed of being more than normal, of being extraordinary. Then one day it happened. She felt something inside her begin to change. She changed from normal Lucinda Hene to the powerful Spectra, a super hero with the powers of a laser. To unlock the mystery of her past and her powers Spectra must defeat the most evil of super villains, the beautiful yet deadly Miss Alignment.


Physics Quest 2008

Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair (2008)

Born in 1856 in Smiljan Croatia, Nikola Tesla was a true genius. A close friend of Mark Twain and bitter rival of Thomas Edison, he invented such things as the remote control and the AC generator. In 1893 he was charged with lighting the Chicago Worlds Fair, the first electric fair in the world, nicknamed The White City.


curie

Marie Curie's Floating Classes (2007)

Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who received two Nobel Prizes. She had to fight hard to become a scientist because she was a Polish female growing up in Russian-controlled Warsaw – some of her classes had to constantly change locations to avoid being detected by the police.


Physics quest 2006: Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin's Secret Message (2006)

We all know Benjamin Franklin as an accomplished inventor, scientist, and statesmen, but did you know he was one of America’s first spies? Travel back to 1778 with PhysicsQuest to decipher a secret message from Ben.


einstein

The Search for Einstein's Hidden Treasure (2005)

The Search for Einstein's Hidden Treasure follows Albert Einstein's wanderings along grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he spent the last 23 years of his life.