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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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.

Does alcohol freeze?

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.

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.

10 Things You Should Never Mix With Alcohol

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.

How many atoms are in a person?

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?

How much does light weigh?

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?

Where do they get the particles for accelerators?

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.

What is supersymmetry?

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.

What is the multiverse?

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

What does the Higgs boson look like?

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?

Why is the LHC 27 kilometers in circumference?

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?

What do particle physicists see when collisions happen?

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?


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