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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Quarks Are the Building Blocks of All Matter

Protons and neutrons, the particles that form the nuclei of atoms, are themselves made up of even smaller particles known as quarks.

Mathematicians Solve Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem for the Number 42

Two mathematicians have solved a decades-old math problem by harnessing the power of a virtual supercomputer.

Formaldehyde Is Everywhere, But Is It Dangerous?

It's an odorless gas that's present in a variety of home products, cosmetics, car exhaust and even humans. But is it bad for us?

What's the Difference Between Covalent and Ionic Bonds?

Making chemical compounds is a lot like dating. Some ions are naturally compatible; others hook up out of desperation.

Peyote Is Endangered, Spiritually Sacred and Becoming Legal

Long-banned in the U.S., except for religious purposes, peyote is starting to be decriminalized in some cities. But is that a good thing for this endangered plant?

Primary Colors Are Red, Yellow and Blue, Right? Well, Not Exactly

Primary colors are the blocks from which all other colors are built. But there's a lot more to know about them than the basic red, yellow and blue we learned about in kindergarten.

How Alchemy Paved the Way for Chemistry

Alchemy may seem like a cousin to witchcraft but in reality it was the forerunner of modern chemistry.

What Are Isotopes?

You don't need to be a fan of chemistry to appreciate isotopes. They affect geology and medicine, too.

How Are Coroners and Medical Examiners Different?

Coroners and medical examiners both help investigate unusual or violent deaths. The two jobs are different, but deeply connected.

Elemental Haiku: A Poetic Take on the Periodic Table

Award-winning poet and fiction writer Mary Soon Lee has found a charming way to combine science and poetry in a refreshing new take on the periodic table of elements.

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?


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