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The FREE online science and technology book

CCD chip from a webcam.

Atoms Under the Floorboards book cover

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Want to know why giant ships can float, how your earbuds make music, what graphene is, or how windows can clean themselves? You've come to the right place! Here you'll find simple explanations you can really understand—hurrah!

Hard stuff... made simple!

Explain that Stuff is an online book written by science writer Chris Woodford (author of many popular science books for adults and children, including Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home). It includes over 400 easy-to-understand articles, richly illustrated with clear artworks and animations, covering how things work, cutting-edge science, cool gadgets, and computers. We take the "pain" from explain and the "tough" out of stuff! There's more information on this website than in your average expensive science book, it's continually updated, and it's completely free to use! Explain that Stuff also helps to support curriculum learning (conventional STEM education and home-schooling).

What's hot in September 2020?

In the news now...

Simple diagram showing the difference between serial and parallel processing in computer systems.

Supercomputers

Plans to launch the world's first "exascale" supercomputer in the USA in 2021 have suffered a major setback. Meanwhile, Fugaku, at RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Japan remains the fastest machine on Earth.


An artist's impression of how laser beams from the NIF are concentrated on a fuel pellet to produce nuclear fusion

Nuclear fusion

Construction has started on ITER, an experimental nuclear fusion plant in France. Will this ingenious atomic machine help us solve the world's energy problems?


A bar of pure soap

Soap

Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water is a great thing to be doing right now. But why, exactly, is soap better than water alone?


Aerosol can generating a blast of aerosol mist

Air pollution

From Delhi to Paris and London to New York, air pollution has fallen in the last few months. But why, indoors and out, does it still kill an estimated 7–10 million people a year?


Artwork explaining how Earth heats up when greenhouse gases trap heat.

Geoengineering

A new study suggests spreading rock dust on fields to "suck" carbon dioxide out of the air. How realistic is "geoengineering" and can it really tackle the climate change emergency?


Most popular

Model of a steam turbine at Think Tank science museum, Birmingham, England.

These are some more of our classic, ever-popular articles:

  1. Water pollution: Rivers and seas take a long time to recover from the effects of careless human treatment. What causes pollution and what can we do to stop it?
  2. Electricity: The most versatile and useful form of energy in our world, electricity is going to become a whole lot more important in future.
  3. Nanotechnology: Can we build a brave new world just by shuffling atoms and molecules under a microscope?
  4. Magnetism: One of the first bits of science people studied, magnetism is still just as relevant today in everything from electric cars to body scans at the hospital.
  5. Gears: Wheels with teeth carved around them can make you go faster or bump up your power—and here's how.
  6. Batteries: We all need electricity, wherever we happen to be, so thank goodness for batteries—miniature power plants you can carry in your pocket.
  7. Electric motors: These amazing machines turn electricity and magnetism into movement, powering everything from handheld toothbrushes to bikes, cars, and trains.
  8. Cloud computing: Why buy yourself an expensive computer or programs to go with it when you can get access to something just as good over the Internet?
  9. Global warming: Is the planet really heating up? What can we do about it?

What else is on our site?

The articles on our site are divided up into broad topical areas, listed below. We've also given you a rough idea of the kind of questions you're going to find answers to in each section:

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