Friday, August 23, 2013

Physics Video Roundup

It's been a good month for physics videos. Two recently posted animated vignettes will let you learn all of physics in less than eleven minutes. Well, maybe you won't quite learn everything, but you can get a pretty darn good introduction in less time than it takes to wash the dishes.

The first is this delightful short by animator Asa Lucander produced for BBC Two's Science Club. It's a good concise history of physics from Galileo's gravity experiments to Einstein's general relativity. It covers a lot of ground in four minutes.

 BBC Science Club - Physics from Asa Lucander on Vimeo.

In addition to "A Brief History of Physics," there's four other videos on other sciences that Lucander produced, and they're all great. His "Brain" episode gets a bit macabre, while "Extinction" has an amazing sound track.

I would love to watch more of "Science Club," but unfortunately due to international copyright laws, it hasn't made it to the United States yet.

Cartoonist Jorge Cham's video, posted just yesterday, picks up pretty much where Lucander leaves off. Quantum mechanics is a fiendishly complicated subject, and Cham's animated interviews with physicists John Preskill and Spiros Michalakis at Caltech demystify what the quantum world is, and what scientists are trying to do with it.

Cham is most famous for creating PhD Comics, documenting the foibles of graduate students desperately seeking their doctorate. Lately he's also been creating these animated great videos explaining things like dark matter, the Higgs bosonexoplanets and a whole online TV channel devoted to lots of other science.

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