July 1, 2014 (Vol. 34, No. 13)
Strong Points: Good educational section, simulation works well
Weak Points: Free version includes only neon atoms
Some educational concepts, such as the movement and interactions of atoms, are best explained by visual illustration. That is exactly the goal of the Atoms in Motion app: to provide students an intuitive understanding of the relationships among atomic interactions and kinematics, temperature, and pressure. The primary component of the app is an interactive molecular simulation wherein users can add or subtract atoms, change the temperature or pressure of the system, or introduce kinetic energy. In the free student edition of the app, users can only use neon atoms in their simulation; in the full version (available for a small fee), that repertoire is expanded to include helium, argon, krypton, and xenon atoms. Beyond the simulation, the app also comes with a nice educational section that provides background on atomic theory, gas laws, ions and salts, and molecular dynamics simulations.