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

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.

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  • The Cost of Taming a River

    The Cost of Taming a River

    In summer 1993, unusually heavy rainfall turned the Mississippi River into a powerful, sprawling force. See more »

  • The Dark Side of the Universe

    The Dark Side of the Universe

    The night sky is filled with light—tens of thousands of stars that we can see with the unaided eye, and billions more that become visible with the aid of a modest-sized telescope. See more »

  • The Early Earth

    The Early Earth

    Descriptions such as alien, hostile, and violent only hint at the conditions you would encounter if you could travel back in time 4.6 billion years to the newly formed Earth. See more »

  • The Forecast: Better Weather Prediction Ahead

    The Forecast: Better Weather Prediction Ahead

    Most of the time, local weather forecasts are pretty close to the mark. If the month is July and the forecast is for a high of 35 degrees C (95 degrees F), you can probably leave your jacket at home. See more »

  • The Formation of Galaxies and Other Structures

    The Formation of Galaxies and Other Structures

    Wherever in the sky astronomers point radio telescopes, they pick up a hiss of microwaves. See more »

  • The Galapagos—Endangered Isles

    The Galapagos—Endangered Isles

    A pair of strange-looking sea birds meet along a gravel pathway. The male begins to raise and lower his bright blue webbed feet. See more »

  • The History of Cosmology

    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. See more »

  • The Planet Within the Earth

    The Planet Within the Earth

    If you were to go on a journey to the center of the Earth, you would first have to dig through 8 to 40 kilometers (5 to 25 miles) of rocky crust, the “skin” of the Earth. See more »

  • The Sahara's Bleak Shore

    The Sahara's Bleak Shore

    Along a sandy track on the eastern frontier of Niger is the village of Bouri, a small farming community in this west African republic. See more »

  • The Search for Gravity Waves

    The Search for Gravity Waves

    At two remote locations in the United States—one set amid marshes and cypress stands near Livingston, Louisiana, and the other on the arid, treeless plains outside of Richland, Washington—teams of scientists in 2001 were tuning up the largest and most sensitive measuring devices ever built. See more »

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