Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Podcast: Physics Superstars on YouTube

This week on the podcast we're talking about physics on YouTube! It's not just for cat videos and vlogs anymore. No, YouTube is a great place for creating entertaining, educational and unexpected physics content.

For the podcast I spoke with the host and creator of Veritasium, Derek Muller.  Muller and I talked about why people occasionally get angry with him about his videos (they really shouldn't make anyone angry). Muller, who has a background in teaching physics, takes a very calculated approach to his videos. Namely, he includes wrong answers as well as right answers. Have a listen to understand why people actually learn more this way. (Here's the video about falling objects that I mentioned in the podcast.)

You might be familiar with Veritasium thanks to this amazing video about a Slinky that appears to defy gravity! (See this other video for an even more intense physics analysis of this phenomenon):

I also spoke with Michael Stevens, creator and host of VSauce, an awesome channel that poses very interesting questions about the world, such as: If you built a circular bridge all the way around the planet, would you be able to remove all the supports and just let it "float" there? This question and many others can only be answered with physics. Bust Stevens says VSauce is not a science communication channel. Instead he thinks of himself and the VSauce family (there are actually four VSauce channels) as "tour guides of amazing things"; and physics just happens to be amazing. Here's a VSauce video that poses the question: when will humans travel to other stars? (We will....won't we?)

You might also be familiar with a few of these other channels, but if not, settle in and enjoy! (We are not responsible for lost work time).

The highly popular Minute Physics features short, animated physics lessons.

Sixty Symbols is like having tea with a physicist. The show features interviews with real physicists on all kinds of awesome physics topics, like the Schroadinger's Cat paradoxThe Butterfly Effect, and the recently confirmed source of cosmic rays. The topics are tough, but the explanations are wonderfully clear. Sixty Symbols is the physics project of video journalist Brady Haran, and it is one of just NINE science-based YouTube channels Haran has created (I also highly recommend the Periodic Table of Videos and DeepSkyVidoes).

Smarter Every Day is hosted by real-life missile engineer "Destin," who enjoys playing with chickens and lighting things on fire. Trust me, there's some amazing physics in there.

Vi Hart, the self-described mathemusician, will make anyone fall in love with math.

Need some science news? Check out This Week in Science and Technology, featuring Bad Astronomer Phil Plait and Carin Bondar.

There's also SciShow for your science news needs; these busy bees post a new video about four times a week.

All of these awesome YouTube channels are demonstrating the many wonderful ways there are to make physics educational, interesting and exciting. Please let us know in the comments if we forgot any! Enjoy the entertainment and I'm sorry if you don't get any work done for the rest of the week.

1 comment:

  1. ScienceMan's channel has good physics lessons.

    Here's an example:

    ScienceMan Digital Lesson - Physics - Refraction