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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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?

30 Years After Chernobyl, Wildlife Thrives

The site of the largest nuclear accident in history is now home to diverse wildlife. Can studying the animals help researchers discover how radiation affects us all?

Large Hadron Collider's Spring Break Finally Ending

One of the world's most complex devices is gearing up again for some serious collisions.

Sine Us Up: It's Square Root Day.

Four (squared) cheers for Square Root Day!

Is Particle Physics About to Rewrite the Standard Model? Not So Fast…

For nearly 40 years, science has relied upon the Standard Model of particle physics to describe the universe. But now some are saying that it's time for a rewrite.

Experts Skeptical About Using Snot to Identify a Shooter

They say gunshot residue is not a good way to ID a suspect.

Common Pool Chemical Could Be Key to Building Triple-Helix DNA Nanomaterials

A molecule used to protect the chlorine in swimming pools from sunlight could be key to building new kind of DNA structures

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Zaps Theism and Bigotry

Scientists recently found that a little tender-loving TMS to a specific part of the brain could decrease the subject's belief in God, angels or heaven by a third.

Skunk Water: A Weapon That Uses Stench to Control Crowds

Developed in Israel, this foul-smelling liquid has been used on Palestinian and Israeli protesters … and it's showing up in the United States.

Is Fusion Fact or Fantasy?

Early fusion reactor experiments ran into a big problem: It took more energy to get fusion started than was produced by the fusion itself.

HowStuffWorks: How To Draw An Impossible Shape

It’s true: In 6 easy steps, you too can draw an impossible shape.

What is cosmological redshift?

Cosmological redshift: sounds like the latest blockbuster coming to a theater near you, doesn't it? In reality, it has to do with how light itself travels -- and understanding how it works is essential to advanced space telescope technology.

How Nitrous Oxide Works

At the same time scientists discovered that nitrous oxide could numb agonizing pain, they also found it could make you really lightheaded and silly. Yes, huffing parties started in the 1700s.

Can you really shatter a glass with a high note?

There are so many things in this world that are possible, and shattering glass with sonic force is one of them – but just how probable is it, really?

How Impossible Colors Work

What if there are colors within the visible spectrum that our brains can't perceive? In fact, there are. They're called impossible colors. But some researchers think they've discovered a way to see the impossible.

Can a sound wave kill you?

A sound wave alone probably won't kill you. Crank the volume on a terrible song, though, and you just might annoy everyone to death.

What's a monomer?

These small molecules are the foundation for much bigger things, from ordinary household products around us to essential components within our bodies.

What's a polymer?

Polymers are the basic components in so many of the products we use each day.

How can a telescope see through time?

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.

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