There has been a surge in the interest of using machine learning techniques to assist in the scientific process of formulating knowledge to explain observational data. We demonstrate the use of Bayesian Hidden Physics Models to first uncover the physics governing the propagation of acoustic impulses in metallic specimens using data obtained from a pristine sample. We then use the learned physics to characterize the microstructure of a separate specimen with a surface-breaking crack flaw. Remarkably, we find that the physics learned from the first specimen allows us to understand the backscattering observed in the latter sample, a qualitative feature that is wholly absent from the specimen from which the physics were inferred. The backscattering is explained through inhomogeneities of a latent spatial field that can be recognized as the speed of sound in the media.