Physical Science

Physical science is the study of the physical world around you. Learn about everything from electricity to magnetism in this section.


If you've ever had a half-frozen beer explode on you, you know that yes, alcohol freezes -- but not all in the same way. We'll let you in on the secrets to frozen alcoholic delights.

Light travels pretty rapidly, but when it comes to faraway galaxies, that light takes a while to reach our telescopes. In fact, the light you see might actually be from billions of years ago.

Juice and soda mix well with alcohol, but a few things don't mix so well. Some may just produce embarrassing moments. Others could cost you your life.

Atoms: the building blocks of life and the universe. We're all made of these microscopic bits of matter, but how many does it take to make a complete human being? And exactly what kinds of atoms do we have inside us?

Seven ounces a ray! No, that's a lie. Measuring the weight of light is not as straightforward as that. So what's the more complicated explanation?

When physicists want accelerator particles, they head to OK Quark, answer questions about what they're looking for, and hope for a match. Nah, wait … that's not it at all.

Of all the superheroes we have in the universe, supersymmetry might be the one that will save us from total annihilation. Not because it fights bad guys, but because it just might explain how the tiniest parts of the cosmos work.

Want to see two physicists fight? Ask them what they think about the multiverse. Isn't it time you formed an opinion, too?

When something as important as the Higgs rocks our world, we want to know every last thing about it, including what it looks like. So?

Twenty-seven kilometers is more than five 5K races. Most humans aren't interested in running that much, so why do a bunch of speeding protons require that considerable distance?

The Large Hadron Collider sounds so exciting, with its millions of near-light-speed collisions per second. But what do scientists really see while that's going on?

String theory is the basic idea that everything in the universe is fundamentally composed of vibrating strings. Can the LHC prove that it's true?

Supersymmetry: the idea that the particles we know about have as-yet-underscovered force partners. Multiverse: exactly what it sounds like. Can they coexist?

When scientists announced that the Large Hadron Collider had found evidence of the Higgs boson, we cried right along with elated physicists everywhere. But ... then what?

To the uninitiated, the LHC can look like a junk drawer ... a junk drawer that's full of tiny, rapidly decaying particles that move at light speed. How do scientists know what's where?

The Large Hadron Collider isn't just a one-trick (Higgs) pony. Find out what else has happened where hundreds of millions of particles may collide any given second.

Has this ever happened to you? The meteorologist calls for a massive snowstorm, but the flakes fail to arrive. Chaos theory can shed light on why forecasts fail (and why our orderly world may not be so orderly after all).

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.

Imagine taking a substance that turns your skin green and scaly, then rots your flesh. It's not sci-fi. It's the reality of injecting krokodil, also known as the "flesh-eating zombie drug."

For a time, this designer drug was legal and available. And then ERs across the U.S. recorded 23,000 visits associated with bath salts in 2011, and the U.S. banned them and other synthetic drugs in 2012. What's the scoop on this relative newcomer?

Lance Armstrong, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire: The list of superstar athletes accused of -- or admitting to -- taking performance-enhancing drugs is almost as impressive as the number of sports that they compete in. And we're not just talking about steroids anymore.

Compounding pharmacies don't usually get a lot of media coverage for good news. It's the mistakes that tend to make the evening news. It turns out that U.S. regulatory practices for compounding pharmacies tend to follow much the same pattern.

If a drugstore is the equivalent of a 7-Eleven where you can pick up ready-made apple pie pockets, then a compounding pharmacy is your corner bakery where an individual tart is made just for you. But are these specialized pharmacies safe?

A sonic boom occurs when a vessel breaks the speed of sound. So what is this infamous sonic boom, if not the shattering of the picture-window-in-the-sky?

Nuclear waste epitomizes the double-edged sword of modern technology. It's a toxic and radioactive byproduct of nuclear medicine, nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants.