Virtual Experiment

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Wikipedia-logo-en.png Hooke's law
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Visit Hooke's law for more in depth information

It is now time to put your virtual lab coat and goggles on, and participate in a group experiment in the wiki. This virtual experiment with masses and springs deals with Hooke's Law. The law is named after 17th century British physicist Robert Hooke, who first stated the law in 1676. The simulation used in this virtual lab was created by the Physics Education Team(PhET) at the University of Colorado and modified by Robert Kruhlak of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The PhET team have created over 50 simulations that cover fundamental to advanced concepts in the Maths and Sciences. Join us and see how two great open source projects can be linked together.


Hooke's law is everywhere! We find it applies to solids, liquids, and gases in many fields of physics. The simplest way to see Hooke's law in action is to observe springs, pendulums, or balls in a bowl. It leads to the description of simple harmonic motion and waves, including sound and light waves. Do you want to understand light, sound, the configurations of DNA? Follow me to where it all starts!

One of the most heart stopping applications of Hooke's law is Bungee (or Bungy) jumping as featured in the opening scene of GoldenEye, the 17th James Bond 007 film released in 1995. To make sure that the bungy cord is not too long, bungy operators like Kiwi A.J. Hackett, the first operator of a commercial bungee jump, need to calculate how far the cord will stretch.

Hooke's law also allows us to control light, and our eyes are just one example of a highly evolved material that controls light and directs it to the optic nerve. Small imperfections cause us to be short- or far-sighted. Enter the optometrist, the eye doctor, who again applies Hooke's law to correct our vision with glasses or contact lenses.


Icon objectives.jpg Objectives
Explore Hooke's Law:
  • Explore the interactive simulation
  • Develop a relationship between the force applied to a spring and the displacement of the spring
  • Measure the displacement for several masses
  • Record individual data in a group data table
  • Determine the spring constant for Spring #1