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Einstein Demonstrations-
Photo-Electric Effect in Action

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This podcast is part of the series: Einstein Demonstrations


McWane Science Center


McWane Science Center


The understanding that light interacts with matter like a particle also lead to modern information technology, like computers, TVs, and lasers. The communicator is a direct example of the Photo-Electric Effect, one of Einstein’s groundbreaking 1905 theses. This is the achievement for which he won the Noble Prize for Physics in 1921. The Photo-Electric Effect centers on the ability of light to free up electrons inside metal atoms. This induces electric current through out an illuminated piece of metal. The idea that light can physically disturb electrons denotes a particle nature of light. The energy produced is proportional to the frequency of light, not the intensity of light. This fact draws on the wave-like properties of light within the same interaction.

Length: 01:36

Content Areas: Science

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

SC (4)
1. Describe how electrical circuits can be used to produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic fields.
  • Identifying ways to use and conserve electrical energy
  • Identifying characteristics of parallel and series circuits
  • Classifying materials as conductors, nonconductors, and insulators of electricity and heat
  • Identifying relationships among charge, current, and potential energy
  • Identifying components of a circuit
    SC (8)
    1. Identify steps within the scientific process.
  • Applying process skills to interpret data from graphs, tables, and charts
  • Identifying controls and variables in a scientific investigation
  • Measuring dimension, volume, and mass using Systéme International d'Unités (SI units)
  • Identifying examples of hypotheses
  • Identifying appropriate laboratory glassware, balances, time measuring equipment, and optical instruments used to conduct an investigation


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