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 take the mystery out of reporting the percent error correctly and show you how to use it in real life.

By Mark Mancini

The iconic "school bus yellow" was the invention of an educator named Frank Cyr. But if yellow is so good for visibility, why don't all fire trucks use it too?

By Dave Roos

Want to know the area of your pizza or the kitchen you're eating it in? Come on, and we'll show you how to figure it out with an area formula.

By Thomas Harlander

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The very idea of trying to subtract one fraction from another may send you into convulsions of fear, but don't worry — we'll show you how.

By Jesslyn Shields

It's called fusion ignition and it's being hailed as a historic development in nuclear fusion that could pave the way for clean energy. We talked to a nuclear physicist who explained it all.

By Carolyn Kuranz

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

By Mark Mancini

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

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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

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

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

By Allison Troutner

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