One of the best parts about science is that it contains no shortage of awesome-sounding terms to describe complicated ideas. Here are 25 of our favorites.
1. Absolute Zero: The coldest possible temperature
2. Action At A Distance: A term used in quantum mechanics to describe the eerie effect when objects separated in space still interact with each other (non-local interaction)
3. Big Bang: A theory on the origin of the Universe that's pretty self explanatory
4. Big Crunch: A theory on the ultimate demise of the Universe in which the cosmos closes back in on itself
5. Big Rip: Another theory on the ultimate demise of the Universe in which the cosmos continues to expand at a rapid rate, destroying everything in the process, including matter at the atomic scale
6. Biotic Factor: A living part of an ecosystem
7. Blue Shift: Another word for the Doppler Effect, it describes any decrease in the wavelength of light (Red Shift works just as well)
8. Cold Fusion: A hypothetical type of nuclear reaction that could occur at room temperature
9. Cosmological Singularity: The location near a black hole where the quantities that are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite
10. Dark Energy: A hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and contributes to the acceleration and expansion of the Universe
11. Dark Matter: A hypothetical form of matter that accounts for a large part of the total mass in the Universe
12. Escape Velocity: The speed required to break free from the gravitational forces of a large celestial object (like the planet Earth)
13. Event Horizon: The point of no return near a black hole where events cannot affect an outside observer (i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull is so great that escape becomes impossible)
14. Heat Death of the Universe: Yet another theory on the ultimate demise of the Universe in which the cosmos has been exhausted of all its energy (why do all the cosmological doomsday terms sound so cool?)
15. Limiting Factor: Anything that controls the growth or survival of a population
16. No Action Without An Equal And Opposite Reaction: This is essentially Newton's First Law of Motion
17. Null Hypothesis: A term coined by Ronald Fisher to describe a type of hypothesis which proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations (an attempt to show that no variation exists between variables)
18. Quantum Entanglement: A term that describes what happens in "action at a distance" when microscopic particles interact physically and then become separated; it describes the special connection between pairs or groups of quantum particles (actually, anything with the word ‘quantum' in front of it belongs on this list, like quantum superposition, or quantum locking).
19. Red Dwarf: A small and relatively cool star
20. String Theory: A branch of physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity; it proposes that elementary particles within an atom are 1-dimensional oscillating "strings"
21. Super Collider: Another term for a particle accelerator
22. Survival Of The Fittest: A wickedly concise description of Darwinian natural selection
23. Terminal Velocity: The point at which a falling object has zero acceleration on account of the drag force equaling the downward force of gravity (for humans this is 210 km/h (130 mph) and for cats it's 100 km/h (60 mph))
24. Test Tube Babies: An outdated term for in vitro fertilization
25. The Central Dogma: A term coined by Francis Crick and used in molecular biology to describe the flow of genetic information within a biological system
Yes, you have a lot of names for your new band, now. You can thank us later.
I'm sure we missed a ton. Add your favorites to comments!
Thanks to Annalee and Robbie for their suggestions!
Top image via Shutterstock/HomeArt, NASA/JPL-Caltech,, Shutterstock/ l i g h t p o e t, cat.