Compass, in navigation, an instrument used to indicate directions. It ranks as one of the most important inventions ever made. The usual compass shows the cardinal points—north, east, south, and west—and a number of intermediate points. Most compasses are also graduated in the degrees of a circle, north being 0°; east, 90°; south, 180°; and west, 270°. Surveyors, however, reverse this arrangement and measure clockwise from the south, so that a bearing of 90° in a survey is west.
Magnets are used in all kinds of applications, but do you ever wonder exactly why it sticks to certain metals? Find out the answer to this and other questions as we explore exactly how magnets work.
It begins with an unassuming "H" and ends in crazy elements that you've likely never heard of. But the periodic table, encapsulated on a mere sheet of paper, can be a scientist's best friend and a testament to our human drive to organize the world.