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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Thorium is in many ways safer than uranium for nuclear power production. But is it safe enough to bet on for our energy future?

By Jesslyn Shields

Real numbers are the opposite of imaginary numbers and include every number you can think of.

By Jesslyn Shields

This human-made element can power everything from nuclear weapons to deep space missions. So what's so scary about plutonium?

By Mark Mancini

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A perfect square is a number, but it can also be explained using an actual square.

By Jesslyn Shields

Dividing fractions is easy once you learn a couple of rules and remember three words — keep, change and flip.

By Jesslyn Shields

Multiplying fractions is easy — it just takes three simple steps!

By Jesslyn Shields

The lava-like material that formed after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is a deadly example of corium, a hazardous material created only after core meltdowns. Five minutes next to it can kill a human.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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First discovered in the late 1930s, muons are passing through you and everything around you at a speed close to light, as cosmic rays strike particles in our planet's atmosphere. So what are muons and how are they informing the new physics?

By Patrick J. Kiger

An imaginary number is a value that's the square root of a negative number. It can't exist on a one-dimensional number line. We'll explain.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Magnetism is at work all around you. Even our Earth is a giant magnet!

By Jesslyn Shields

A perfect storm of circumstances combined to create what one pool industry expert is calling "poolmageddon." Why? Because there's a major lack of chlorine in the U.S. right now. How will it affect the pool season?

By Jennifer Walker-Journey

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Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation helps put the laws of gravity into a mathematical formula. And the gravitational constant is the "G" in that formula.

By Mark Mancini

A unit circle is an important part of trigonometry and can define right angle relationships known as sine, cosine and tangent.

By Nokware Knight

A multiplication table is an easy-to-use grid of numbers that can help you learn to multiply quickly by using the chart and, eventually, your memory.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Adrenochrome has been linked to schizophrenia and the LSD counterculture movement. Now QAnon conspiracy theorists say it's part of a child sex-trafficking cult. So what's the truth behind this chemical compound?

By Jennifer Walker-Journey

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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

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

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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

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

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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