The history of physical science explains how some of the major physics concepts were discovered. Check out these articles on the history of physics.

The History of Cosmology

Human efforts to make sense of the universe undoubtedly began long before the dawn of civilization, but the speculations of the first stargazers can never be known.

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  • Mysterious Gamma Rays

    Mysterious Gamma Rays

    By early 2000, astronomers had made considerable progress in understanding one of the universe's most puzzling phenomena: gamma-ray bursts. See more »

  • On the Trail of the Elusive Neutrino

    On the Trail of the Elusive Neutrino

    Every second, day and night, hundreds of trillions of invisible particles are zipping through the Earth and everything on it—including you. See more »

  • Probing the History of Climate Change

    Probing the History of Climate Change

    One of the major science stories in the late 1990's was the growing concern that Earth's climate is getting warmer. See more »

  • Probing the Planets

    Probing the Planets

    When American astronaut Neil Armstrong piloted the Apollo 11 lunar module to a soft landing on the surface of the moon in July 1969, he gazed upon a landscape that was, in some respects, already familiar to him. See more »

  • Reconsidering Nuclear Power

    Reconsidering Nuclear Power

    With growing numbers of people in the United States purchasing computers, televisions, appliances, and many other electricity-gobbling devices, the demand for electric power has been surging. See more »

  • Rocket Man

    Rocket Man

    The American astronaut James Arthur Lovell, Jr., served on four key space flights in the early days of the United States space program. See more »

  • Stones from Space

    Stones from Space

    The asteroid was 795,000 kilometers (494,000 miles) from Earth when astronomers at the Spacewatch Telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona spotted it moving across the night sky on Jan. See more »

  • The Biggest Eruptions on Earth

    The Biggest Eruptions on Earth

    When Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines began erupting in June 1991, the catastrophe made headlines around the world. See more »

  • The Chemistry of Cleaning Clothes

    The Chemistry of Cleaning Clothes

    Have you ever wondered how a cup of detergent cleans soiled jeans, towels, socks, and other articles in your wash, or how cleaning fluid at the dry cleaner whisks away that grease stain from your suit? And why are hair spray,vinegar, club soda, and baking soda surprisingly effective dirt and stain removers in an emergency? The answers lie both in the chemical properties of various types of dirt and stains and in the ways that the cleaning agents chemically interact with them. See more »

  • The Chemistry of Cosmetics

    The Chemistry of Cosmetics

    Few people would whip out a chemistry set, uncork the vials, and slap the compounds on their face. See more »

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