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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When speed is everything and light marks the universe's speed limit, lasers are bound to be the answer. At least, that's what NASA and a bunch of Wall Street types are betting on.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Metallurgy involves studying how metals behave and using that understanding to manipulate and shape them into various forms.

By Desiree Bowie

If you're already familiar with subtracting fractions, learning how to add fractions will be a piece of cake for you. And if you haven't learned how to subtract fractions yet, don't worry — we've got you covered!

By Jesslyn Shields

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Hand warmers work through simple chemistry. A massively sped-up version of oxidation (the chemical reaction that makes rust) is to thank.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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 & Desiree Bowie

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 & Austin Henderson

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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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 Collatz conjecture can be worked on by 9-year-old math whizzes, but it's flummoxed some of the greatest minds of the past century. Will it ever be solved?

By Jesslyn Shields

A new geometric shape called the "einstein" shape has been discovered and when you tile it, no repeating pattern emerges.

By Jesslyn Shields

Math is a language of symbols and equations and knowing the basic signposts is the first step in solving mathematical problems.

By Thomas Harlander

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It's seeped into movies and popular culture, but what does "six degrees of separation" really mean? Are we really that connected to each other?

By Dave Roos

There are two different scales of measuring temperature on Earth, but they merge at just one very cold number.

By Jesslyn Shields

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

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

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The seriously ambitious experiment aims to understand the mysterious neutrino and maybe even figure out why matter won out over antimatter during the Big Bang.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

A reinterpretation of an ancient Babylonian tablet shows that trigonometry might be 1,000 years older than thought. But there's some disagreement.

By Jesslyn Shields

If you're one of those people who chooses invisibility as your desired superpower, it could mean you have a dark side.

By Alia Hoyt

Scientists have figured out why some objects stick more to each other. And it's a very cool trick.

By Alia Hoyt

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Why do we love looking at a perfectly stacked display of soup cans or six flower petals around a stamen? Our brains seem wired for it -- but why?

By Dave Roos

It's a force of habit to shake spray canisters, but when it comes to canned air, that inclination could cause frostbite.

By Laurie L. Dove

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant aims to demonstrate that nuclear fusion could be a viable source of power in the future.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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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 & Austin Henderson

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