The Sky Is Not Blue – So Why Does It Look Blue?

The latest installment of MinutePhysics tackles the enduring question of why the sky appears blue, and the less common (albeit related question) of why the sun appears yellow. » 10/22/14 9:45am 10/22/14 9:45am

Why Do We Draw Stars With Pointed Arms?

If stars themselves are giant balls of gas and appear as dots in the night sky, why is it so common to draw them with pointed arms? Minute Physics explains how the light from stars interacts with our eyes to create that "star-shaped" image. » 8/27/14 4:40pm 8/27/14 4:40pm

Why Is It So Damn Hard to Balance a Pencil on Your Fingertip?

If you've ever tried balancing something as short and skinny as a pencil on your fingertip, you know it isn't easy. Why is that? How is it possible to create a free-standing rock sculpture like this one, when it's all but impossible to balance a stinking pencil for more than a couple seconds? » 8/21/14 2:20pm 8/21/14 2:20pm

The Ocean Is Crowded With Tiny Little Bits Of Plastic

The ocean is full of plastic. Not big pieces of plastic, as you've probably heard, but tiny bits of plastic. Microplastic. Plastic that hasn't decomposed, but broken down into small pieces that are incredibly durable. We've found this stuff throughout the world's oceans, at every depth. What kind of environmental… » 5/11/14 9:47am 5/11/14 9:47am

Here's Why Squinting Helps You See Better

Ever wonder why squinting helps you focus when you've misplaced your glasses? Or why things appear clearer when viewed through a small hole? Here's the answer in video form. » 4/28/14 12:20pm 4/28/14 12:20pm

Here's why winter has the best full moons

Winter makes for longer nights and shorter days. It also boasts the year's greatest lunar displays – but there's more to this fact than an increase in daily hours of darkness. » 12/18/13 6:20am 12/18/13 6:20am

Earth's tides, explained in 9.999 seconds

Henry Reich of Minute Physics may have just set a world record for providing the quickest explanation to that infamously inexplicable phenomenon: Earth's tides. » 11/14/13 8:20am 11/14/13 8:20am

Magnets: HOW DO THEY WORK? Well... like this.

It's a match made in YouTube Science Heaven: In the latest episode of Minute Physics, Henry Reich teams up with the folks at Veritasium to address one of the Internet's favorite scientific conundrums: MAGNETS. » 9/24/13 1:40pm 9/24/13 1:40pm

When the Universe expands do we expand with it?

If the Universe is expanding (as opposed to, say, getting fat), shouldn't we, our planetary neighborhood, our galaxy, be expanding right along with it? If so, would we even be able to notice? » 8/02/13 6:20am 8/02/13 6:20am

Here's what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object

Here's an idea! Let's get reeaaaal pedantic about what it means for an object to be truly "immovable" (i.e. "un-accelerateable") and a force to actually be unstoppable (spoiler: all forces are unstoppable) and use the thought experiment to answer one of the oldest, most ancient questions to ever come up ever. Turns… » 1/25/13 12:20pm 1/25/13 12:20pm

Is there poop on the Moon?

Here to give us the down and dirty on space excreta (because let's face it, you were always curious) is Minute Physics' Henry Reich and Smarter Every Day's Destin. It's a match made in YouTube science-explainer heaven. With poop. And spacecraft-trajectory-altering pee. In spaaaace. » 12/14/12 7:00am 12/14/12 7:00am

An Open Letter to the President: US physics education is crap. Let's…

Henry Reich — creator, illustrator and narrator of Minute Physics — has a message for the President. America's educational standards for physics, he argues, provide a surprisingly dated and incomplete introduction to the world of physics. A lot has happened in the field since 1865; shouldn't some basic knowledge of… » 11/14/12 2:00pm 11/14/12 2:00pm

The birth of quantum theory (deliciously, it involves cookies)

This is the story of how quantum mechanics — that physical science of the very, very small — came to be. It's a fascinating tale involving Max Planck, Albert Einstein, cookies and fussy light. » 10/16/12 7:15am 10/16/12 7:15am

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. Here's how we know…

Minute Physics' Henry Reich takes a break from physics to drop some maths knowledge. Using some basic tenets of set theory, Reich explains how we know that one infinity can be bigger than another. » 5/12/12 1:40pm 5/12/12 1:40pm

How much milk would you have to vomit in order to levitate?

In X-Men: First Class, Banshee uses ultrasonic screaming like a jet pack to power his flight. In a recent video from special effects whiz Freddie Wong, a character named "Milk Man" gushes gallons of milk from his gullet to achieve a similar effect. » 2/13/12 8:45am 2/13/12 8:45am

Believe it or not, you can explain why tides go in and out

Surprise, surprise. Leave it to MinutePhysics' Henry Reich to serve up a quick, clean rebuttal to Bill O'Reilly's infamous assertion that the rise and fall of sea levels can't be explained. » 1/09/12 1:40pm 1/09/12 1:40pm

What makes the past different from the future?

We all know that time has direction, because we've all experienced it; you will never again be as young, for example, as you are at this very second. Or this second. Or this second. The directionality of time prohibits it. » 11/14/11 1:53pm 11/14/11 1:53pm

How do we know for sure that we live in three dimensions?

Sure, our surroundings certainly appear to exist in three dimensions, but any good Cartesian will tell you that the appearance of a material object alone is insufficient evidence of its true nature. So how do we go about proving that we aren't, in fact, deluded inhabitants of Abott's two-dimensional Flatland, or… » 9/06/11 8:00am 9/06/11 8:00am