Why are bubbles spherical?

The skin of a bubble is composed of a thin layer of water molecules sandwiched between two layers of soap molecules. Water on its own has a high surface tension due to intermolecular forces causing molecules to pull on one … Continued


Sugar on a spoon

How is man-made sugar produced?

Several different chemicals are used as artificial sweeteners. The very first was sugar of lead, used by the Romans. It was made by boiling grape juice in lead pots, but it’s quite toxic and was banned in the 18th century … Continued

Mountain peak in the Andes

Why does air pressure alter at different altitudes?

Although it’s easy to forget, air molecules all weigh something, and their combined weight pressing down is what causes this pressure. At sea level, the column of air above you weighs about a ton. As you gain altitude, the number … Continued

Loaf of brown bread

Why is brown bread ‘better’ than white?

Some brown breads are merely white breads with added sugars and colourings – and therefore no better for you at all. The key word to look for is ‘wholegrain’, which means the bread, or flour, contains the germ and bran portion … Continued

Man listening to music

Why do songs get stuck in our heads?

It’s a universal truth that most of us can remember, word for word, a certain song, or songs, from our early childhood. It’s an extreme example of this question: namely, what makes a song memorable? It’s probably a combination of … Continued

Love heart

The science of love: Why do we fall head over heels?

Falling in love might seem magical and mysterious, but it’s actually the result of a series of hormones and chemicals released by your brain. The 3 stages of falling in love 1) Lust When we reach puberty, testosterone and oestrogen become active in … Continued

male and female joggers stretching and resting before a run

What is cramp?

A cramp is an involuntary contraction or shortening of muscle, and it’s often painful. There are two main kinds of cramps: skeletal muscle and smooth muscle cramps. The former include leg spasms, which you might call a dead leg, charley … Continued


Why do we shiver when we’re cold?

Although shivering is a universal sign of feeling chilly, it is actually an evolved response to keep us alive. If the temperature of our internal organs falls much below 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit), we could die of hypothermia. … Continued

human brain

Top 5 Facts: The brain

1) Blood vessels There are a staggering 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain, that is enough to wrap around Earth four times. 2) Source of headaches A headache actually occurs in blood vessels around the brain, not the brain … Continued

Cricket ball on grass

Cricketer James Anderson gives a swing-bowling masterclass

Swing-blowing is a popular technique in cricket, as it causes the ball to move sideways in the air, confusing the batsman. It is used when one side of the ball becomes rougher than the other, causing that half to become less streamlined, and … Continued

How It Works Book of the Human Body

The How It Works Book of the Human Body uncovers the science of you

The How It Works Book of the Human Body will help you understand more about human anatomy than ever before. From how you hear, to how your digestive system works, through to how your bones repair fractures and how you express emotions, all of your curious questions will … Continued

Physicist Stephen Hawking in Zero Gravity

Top 5 facts about gravity

1) Black holes A black hole’s gravitational pull is so strong that even light can’t escape from what’s known as its ‘event horizon’, an invisible boundary around it. 2) Mighty Moon The Moon’s low gravity means objects weigh one-sixth of … Continued

T cell attacking a cancer cell

Watch a white blood cell attack a cancer cell

White blood cells, such as the T cell, are the body’s natural defence against infection and disease. Discover how the human body protected itself in an attack by watching a killer T cell and cancer cell fight it out under a … Continued

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

New antibiotic discovered in soil could fight resistant diseases

Incredibly resistent diseases, such as tuberculosis and MRSA (meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureusis), could soon be treated with the first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years. Researchers at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts discovered 25 new antibiotics from soil … Continued

3D printed tracheal splint that saved the life of a baby

How 3D printing helped save a baby’s life

3D printing isn’t just for making toys or parts for cars, it also has huge medical benefits too. April and Bryan Gionfriddo’s son Kaiba was born with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a condition that occurs when the airway walls are weak and collapse, … Continued


Why do irons work so much better when hot?

Cloth fibres are bound together by chemical bonds, the polymer strands becoming fixed in unnatural shapes (wrinkles) as the fabric bends. These bonds are weakened by heat, so when a hot iron is applied, the cross-linking between the fibres is … Continued

Christmas cracker

How do Christmas crackers work?

Christmas crackers are a popular tradition at the Christmas dinner table, but how do they make that loud bang when pulled apart? Inside the main cardboard tube are two strips of card. One contains a small amount of a chemical compound … Continued

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