Matter & Energy

Matter is composed of atoms or groups of atoms called molecules. The arrangement of particles in a material depends on the physical state of the substance. In a solid, particles form a compact structure that resists flow. Particles in a liquid have more energy than those in a solid. They can flow past one another, but they remain close. Particles in a gas have the most energy. They move rapidly and are separated from one another by relatively large distances.


Electricity, one of the basic forms of energy. Electricity is associated with electric charge, a property of certain elementary particles such as electrons and protons, two of the basic particles that make up the atoms of all ordinary matter. Electric charges can be stationary, as in static electricity, or moving, as in an electric current.

Electrical activity takes place constantly everywhere in the universe. Electrical forces hold molecules together. The nervous systems of animals work by means of weak electric signals transmitted between neurons (nerve cells). Electricity is generated, transmitted, and converted into heat, light, motion, and other forms of energy through natural processes, as well as by devices built by people.

Electricity is an extremely versatile form of energy. It can be generated in many ways and from many different sources. It can be sent almost instantaneously over long distances. Electricity can also be converted efficiently into other forms of energy, and it can be stored. Because of this versatility, electricity plays a part in nearly every aspect of modern technology. Electricity provides light, heat, and mechanical power. It makes telephones, computers, televisions, and countless other necessities and luxuries possible.