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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Light Pollution Is Stealing the Night

Nights on Earth are getting artificially brighter, bringing unintended consequences.

Why Do We Get So Much Pleasure From Symmetry?

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?

Concept of Zero Is Centuries Older Than Assumed, Analysis Suggests

A new analysis of the ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript suggests the numerical symbol zero, as we use it today, may be centuries older than previously believed.

Party Trick Breakdown: Why Do Balloons Stick to Hair?

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

Can You Really Make Yourself Invisible?

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

Ancient Babylonian Tablet May Show Early Trigonometry, But Some Experts Are Dubious

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

How the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment Will Work

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.

Scientists Have Devised a Revolutionary Way to Redefine the Kilogram

Researchers have come up with the most precise determination of Planck's constant ever, making it possible to reframe the idea of what a kilogram even is.

Extraterrestrial Form of Hot, Dense Ice Observed Forming in Lab

Stanford University researchers for have for the first time observed the formation of a super-dense frozen water crystals called ice VII, which don't naturally exist on Earth.

Using TARDIS to Mathematically Travel Through Time

Two physicists have worked out a mathematical model for time travel. Now we just need some heretofore unseen exotic matter to get traveling.

Fukushima Radiation Readings Are Extremely High … But Let's Not Freak Out

New data shows extremely high radiation levels inside one of the reactor containment vessels. Are post-tsunami radiation levels spiking? Not so fast …

Why DNA Evidence Can Be Unreliable

DNA found at a crime scene doesn't automatically mean the person matching it is guilty, say researchers of new forensics guide.

New Eyewear Protects Your Identity from Facial Recognition Cameras

Light-reflective glasses promise to foil CCTV cameras. Here's how.

What Makes Ice Slippery?

Science is still working out exactly what makes frozen water so slippery, but there are a few intriguing theories.

The Chinese Are a Magnet Superpower

The race is on to build some seriously strong magnetic fields that are capable of doing amazing thing, like literally mapping neurons.

Samsung Eyes Projecting Holograms From TV — No 3-D Glasses Required

Electronics giant Samsung reportedly has patented 3-D TV tech that projects a hologram so that viewers don't have to wear special glasses.

Why Spinning Blades Look Weird on TV

Helicopters, ceiling fans, even tricked-out car tire rims: Sometimes they can even look like they're going backward, or bending.

Scientists Create Mind-blowing 3-D Acoustic Holograms

A wall of Lego-like bricks creates the illusion of hyper-vivid, three-dimensional audio, altering sound waves much like a hologram does visible light.

How Optical Illusions Work

It's a young lady! It's an old woman! It's a blue dress! No, it's gold! Why are we fooled by optical illusions and what do they tell us about how the brain works?

Lucky Tetrachromats See World With Up to 100 Million Colors

Whereas the majority of sighted people see a world with just a million colors, or fewer if you're color-blind.

Watch: The Chemistry of Sparklers Explained in Slow-motion Video

There's some serious science behind the sparkle, with different metals, compounds and other elements creating the fun firework.

New Mathematical Model Helps Explain Rogue Waves

Dangerous and unpredictable, rogue waves in the ocean seem to more closely resemble light waves than water waves.

10 Reasons the Multiverse Is a Real Possibility

In 1957, Hugh Everett first wrote about the multiverse — different realms where every choice spawns a separate universe in which another version of ourselves does something different. It sounds crazy, but here are some reasons it might be true.

What Makes This Video of Things Melting So Satisfying?

YouTube channel Let's Melt This has become an internet sensation. Why are we so mesmerized by videos of everyday objects undergoing phase change?

How Controlled Burns Work

How effective is fighting a wildfire with controlled fire?