Physical Science

Physical science is the study of the physical world around you. Learn about everything from electricity to magnetism in this section.

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You can find the distance between two points by using the distance formula. It's an application of the Pythagorean theorem. Remember that from high school algebra?

By Mark Mancini

The science is pretty simple. It's all about oxidation (the chemical reaction that makes rust). It's just sped up super fast.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

When a peta and a tera won't do, you can now call on the quetta or the ronna prefixes. But just how big are these new metric systems of measurement?

By Alia Hoyt

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A rise in carbon-14 in the early 1960s from nuclear bomb testing and radioactive contamination had some unexpectedly useful side effects. It's called the bomb pulse, but its benefits won't last forever.

By Patrick J. Kiger

How large does a random group of people have to be for a 50 percent chance to exist that at least two of the people will share a birthday?

By Laurie L. Dove

It looks completely impossible that this rock should stand, balanced as it is, but it has not moved since the last ice age.

By Jesslyn Shields

In 1999, a worker at a Japanese nuclear fuel plant was exposed to critical levels of radiation. He's still thought to have suffered the worst radiation burns in history. He lived for 83 agonizing days afterward as his body all but disintegrated.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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There are many types of energy in the world, from potential and kinetic to electrical and thermal, along with many others. But what exactly is energy?

By Mark Mancini

All bubbles pop — that's a fact of life. But what's the science behind the short life and inevitable pop of a bubble?

By Allison Troutner

Scientists created this expanding black hole illusion to show how your mind can trick your eye.

By Kathryn Whitbourne

With a little patience, you can master this trick of converting binary code to decimals — and have fun doing it!

By Mark Mancini

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The answer to the question "Does time exist?" may seem obvious, but is it? And what if time doesn't exist, but is merely a human construct?

By Sam Baron

A decade of science and trillions of collisions show the W boson is more massive than expected. A physicist on the team explains what it means for the reigning model of particle physics.

By John Conway

Superacids are those with an acidity greater than sulfuric acid. So which is the most super of superacids and what exactly is it used for?

By Allison Troutner

Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. Those mountains way off in the distance really do look blue, and it's because of how light wavelengths scatter in the atmosphere.

By Mark Mancini

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Both degrees and radians represent the measure of an angle in geometry. So, how do you convert one to the other?

By Mark Mancini

Most of the world uses meters, apart from the U.S. and a few other countries. So what's an easy way to convert from meters to feet and vice versa?

By Mark Mancini

Finding the range of a set of numbers is an easy subtraction problem!

By Jesslyn Shields

We all have favorite colors. But have you ever considered why you like one color more than another?

By Allison Troutner

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There was a time (4,000 years ago) when simply being able to add might get your name on a clay tablet or help you accumulate vast wealth.

By Dave Roos

Converting kilogram measurements into pounds is not hard. We'll show you the textbook way plus two quick-and-dirty shortcuts.

By Mark Mancini

Cadmium is a natural metal and the leading component in rechargeable batteries and solar cells. It is also highly toxic and heavily regulated.

By Allison Troutner

Many people get speed and velocity confused. It's no surprise because the terms are often used interchangeably. But they're not quite the same thing. So how do you find the velocity of an object?

By Mark Mancini

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The main function of the Krebs cycle is to produce energy, stored and transported as ATP or GTP, to keep the human body up and running.

By Jesslyn Shields

Discovered in the early 1800s from a chunk of smuggled platinum ore, rhodium is the most valuable precious metal on the planet today, used mainly for keeping car emissions in check.

By Allison Troutner