Physical Science

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


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.

Most people probably haven't heard of the inventor T. Galen Hieronymus, but according to his advocates his machines are able capable of everything from remote analysis to remote healing -- so what is eloptic energy? Tune in to learn more.

Batman and particle physicists have a lot in common. While Batman brawls with anarchist clowns and mutated ecoterrorists, CERN scientists chase down their own notable adversaries. Get to know five of them.

Who wants to reduce our complicated universe down to its simplest building blocks? A bunch of particle physicists, that's who. Why is the Higgs boson critical to that goal?

Kaleidoscopes have been fascinating people since the early 19th century. Whether you think of kaleidoscopes as toys or as works of art, no matter how often you look inside, you'll never see the same thing twice.

Thanks to our voracious appetite for energy, the element long linked with nuclear weapons is taking on a new role. Where does the hunt begin for uranium?

That's one seriously big number, and technically Amedeo Avogadro didn't even come up with it. So how did the Italian chemist make such an indelible (numerical) mark on the wonderful world of chemistry?

Voltage is how we measure the difference in electric potential energy. Learn about what voltage is from this article.

All colors that you see fall into the visible light spectrum. Learn about the colors in the visible light spectrum in this article.

Electrical insulators are materials that don't conduct electricity because the electrons in the atoms of which they're made don't move around. Learn what the different electrical insulators are in this article.

Wavelengths are used to measure the size of a wave. Learn about wavelengths in this article.