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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Science requires that we make guesses, which is why we have confidence intervals.

By Jesslyn Shields

Bayes' theorem describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event. Sounds intimidating, but we'll walk you through it.

By Mark Mancini

Rational numbers can be expressed as the ratio of two integers, while irrational numbers, such as square roots, cannot. So, why does the difference matter?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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You may remember from math class that a prime number is a number that can only be divided by 1 and itself. But why are they important anyway?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just made history with einsteinium. They held a sample of the short-lived element long enough to measure some of its chemical properties.

By Dave Roos

You use solenoids every day without ever knowing it. So what exactly are they and how do they work?

By Mark Mancini

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More than fodder for melt-in-your-hand YouTube videos, gallium is a key component in LED lights and the powerful microchips in your smartphone.

By Dave Roos

Static electricity happens when there's an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. It's when those charges get released that we feel that infamous spark.

By Sebastian Deffner

Vantablack is one of the darkest substances known, able to absorb up to 99.965 percent of visible light. But is it the blackest of blacks on the planet?

By Cherise Threewitt

Although the term might be unfamiliar, you know all about alkali metals. Ever used salt or eaten a banana? So, what special properties do these elements have?

By Trevor English

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A simple math problem may seem to some of us like an inscrutable pile of numbers and symbols, just waiting to trip us up. PEMDAS to the rescue!

By Mark Mancini

It's an important question, so come with us and we'll show you how to figure it out.

By Jesslyn Shields

Two lines that are perpendicular to the same line are parallel to each other and will never intersect.

By Mark Mancini

It's easy to make a Mobius strip with some paper and tape, but your mind will be blown by the mathematical concepts it unlocks.

By Trevor English

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You might wonder what phosphates do, but they are so intrinsic to our daily lives that the question really is: What don't phosphates do?

By Jesslyn Shields

Tungsten's hardness and heat resistance make it a must for products like rocket engine nozzles, armor-piercing bullets and even the humble light bulb filament. In fact, pure tungsten boils at 10,030 F, the same as the photosphere of the sun.

By Dave Roos

Terpenes are the aromatic organic compounds found in nature that give us many of our favorite fragrances. They are also known to have surprising health benefits.

By Jesslyn Shields

Don't know your fool's gold from the real deal? We'll tell you how to tell what's pyrite (aka fool's gold) and the good ol' 24 karat stuff you want.

By Mark Mancini

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There's some serious chemistry behind the flavor in your favorite brew and esters are the compounds responsible for it.

By Jesslyn Shields

Venn diagrams are an easy way to simplify information and visualize relationships between concepts or sets of data.

By Jesslyn Shields

Purified water will 'instantly freeze' under certain conditions, and you can even make it happen at home. Is it magic? No. It's science!

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

We may think the butterfly effect means that a small change (like the flap of a butterfly's wings) can have huge consequences (a tornado in China). But what if it means the opposite?

By Nathan Chandler

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Boyle's Law describes the relationship between pressure and the volume of a container with gas in it. As the volume of the container decreases, the pressure inside the container increases.

By Jesslyn Shields

Corresponding angles are what you get when two parallel lines are crossed by a third line, creating angles that have the same relative position at each intersection. They're easy to find once you know what to look for.

By Nathan Chandler