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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We've Got Your Numbers Quiz

Whether you're a math whiz or not, there are some pretty cool number theories, beliefs and coincidences to appreciate. How down with digits are you?

Why Does Ice Stick to Your Fingers?

You've probably had ice stick to your hand when you pull it out of the ice maker. But why is that?

Is Borax Harmful or Helpful?

Borax, a popular addition to laundry detergents and slime recipes, is a natural ingredient that has been getting flack for possibly being harmful to children. But is this true?

Mathematician Cracks the 33 Problem

Mathematician Andrew Booker has found the three cubes that add up to the number 33, a long-unsolved math problem.

Color Wheel Theory: How to Talk About Color

Modern color theory got its start with, believe it or not, Sir Isaac Newton, who also discovered a little thing called gravity and invented calculus.

Viking Warrior in Ancient Grave Was a Woman

Researchers in Sweden confirm through genetic testing that a 10th-century Viking warrior, first unearthed in the 1870s, was a woman.

5 Trailblazing Female Mathematicians

Can you name even one female mathematician? Don't worry if you can't. That just means you need to read our article on five famous female mathematicians to up your cred.

Humans, Like Other Animals, May Have a Magnetic Sixth Sense

What was once fringe science is becoming mainstream — scientists now believe that humans may be able to detect Earth's magnetic field.

How Pi Works

Whether the circle is as big as Planet Mars or as small as a tennis ball, the ratio of its circumference divided by its diameter will always equal pi (3.14). But why?

Does Alcohol Freeze?

If you've ever had a half-frozen beer explode on you, you know that yes, alcohol freezes — but not all types freeze at the same rate. We'll let you in on the secrets to frozen alcoholic delights.

Quiz: The Periodic Table Turns 150

It’s the ultimate cheat sheet for science class — and it’s right there hanging on the wall. What do you really know about the indispensable periodic table of elements?

How a New Blue Pigment Became a Crayon

The story of how the first new blue pigment in 200 years was discovered and took its place in the crayon box.

CERN Wants to Build a Bigger, Badder Particle Collider

The proposed collider would dwarf the existing Large Hadron Collider. But is the $22 billion price tag worth it?

5 Things You Didn't Know About Autopsies

Autopsies have been around since ancient times, but they seem so shrouded in secrecy. What goes on when a corpse goes under the knife?

Ray of Enlightenment: Is Light a Wave or a Particle?

Is it its own special type of particle? A wave that's flowing through another medium? Or is there some creepy, unknown substance surrounding us that we simply don't perceive or understand?

The Kilogram Is Dead. Meet the Kilogram 2.0

For more than a century, the mass of a kilogram was defined by a weight stored in a French vault. But now, instead of a hunk of metal, the kilogram's mass will be tied to a mathematical equation.

Skipping Stones on Ice Makes Crazy Sci-fi Sounds

You know that sound synonymous with a certain laser blaster from a galaxy far, far away? Yeah. It sounds like that.

What Makes a Scent Soothing?

Why do most of us start relaxing as soon as we smell lavender or vanilla? Is it the memories they conjure up or is there a chemical reason?

HowStuffWorks: Illustrated: Scutoids! Just Like Spheres and Cubes, But Not

The scutoid is kind of like the Higgs boson. Researchers theorized the new shape existed. And then they went looking for it.

Mathematician Claims Proof of 159-year-old Riemann Hypothesis

Sir Michael Atiyah says he has proven the Riemann Hypothesis, one of the long-unsolved problems in mathematics.

Antarctica's Spooky Cosmic Rays Might Shatter Physics As We Know It

Something very strange is afoot above the frozen landscape of Antarctica.

How 'Word Cops' Unmask Anonymous Authors

Forensic linguists may never get their own TV show, but these scientists do help solve crimes in their own way.

Closing In on Higgs, Six Years Later

We caught up with everyone's favorite boson to see what it's been up to and exactly how it decays.

Particle Acceleration Takes a Leap Forward

CERN researchers have successfully tested a new way of accelerating electrons to high energies through proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration.