Videos

  • How Transistors Work Suppose you learned that transistors are a fundamental building block of modern electronics, and you decided to learn about how they function. If you looked at the first result in a google search you would see this Wikipedia article filled with technical details, but not that much beginner-friendly clarity. As with many such important concepts, ...
  • The Five Second Rule: A Simple Everyday Question Leading To Quantum Mechanics and Biology Sometimes the simplest question can lead down a deep rabbit hole to new worlds. How fast germs contaminate food that falls on the floor is a good example of such a question. When you start to think about it, you realize that you don’t quite now what it means for two objects to touch, and ...
  • A Short Animated Introduction to Reading Music (And a Bit of Bach) Although numerous studies have shown the importance of music education in schools, few students learn the basics of music theory as part of core curriculum requirements. Apart from the obvious reasons, this is unfortunate because music is so intertwined with math and science and has been a source of inspirations for many great mathematicians and ...
  • A Simple Animated Explanation of Free Falling and Zero Gravity As children we first learn about the notion of weightlessness in outer space and the idea of zero gravity, but these concepts are actually a bit more nuanced than may appear. For example, why satellites orbit Earth instead of crashing into it because of Earth’s gravitational pull can be a mystery if you have never ...
  • An Animated Introduction to Ontology: Is a Copy the Same as the Original? Questions of equality and equivalence are of fundamental importance in mathematics and computer science. In everyday use we are usually comfortable with a vague definition of equality, but in programming for example, two objects may be identical in one instance and different in another. This is usually a great source of confusion for inexperienced programmers. ...
  • A Comprehensive Introduction to Information Theory for Complete Beginners The term ‘information age’ is a modern cliche, yet few realize that the word information has a precise mathematical meaning with far-reaching consequences. Information theory is one of the great developments of the twentieth century that spans multiple disciplines including mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering, and biology. Unfortunately, although some of the fundamental ideas of ...
  • 10 Science Tricks for Entertainment and Further Exploration In the era of iPhones and iPads, magic tricks involving everyday items may not be as exciting as they once were, but in a classroom they are still an effective teaching tool. Richard Wiseman has created a video featuring ten science-based stunts which are an excellent demonstrations of various principles of physics. Some of these ...
  • Richard Feynman on the Differences between Mathematics and Physics As previously discussed, mathematics is not a science in the same way as physics, chemistry, and biology, yet because it is treated as a scientific discipline in school, students rarely understand it’s role. If you’re a math teacher, ask your students the following question: “Biology is the study of living organisms, physics is the study ...
  • Vacuum Cleaners, Cannons, and the Quantum Mechanics of Empty Space The force exerted by air molecules is something that we take for granted every day, but it is a surprisingly powerful force with equally surprising applications. For example, a vacuum cleaner “sucks” dirt in by creating a partial vacuum that allows the air outside the vacuum cleaner to push dirt into it. Similar reasoning can ...
  • Is Mathematics Real? A Thought-Provoking Discussion for Any Math Class Mathematics is so frequently put into the same category as the sciences that students often assume that it is one of the many scientific disciplines, just like physics, chemistry and biology. This can become a problem when students try to understand the reason for studying mathematics. Most students can immediately see that biology is the ...
  • Two Minutes of Thermodynamics: Heat Versus Temperature Sometimes a simple drawing or animation is all that it takes to understand a previously confusing idea. A good illustration of this principle is the following video by Henry Reich which does a good job of explaining the difference between heat and temperature. These two concepts are clearly related but students often erroneously equate them, ...
  • A Collection of Natural Science Demonstrations from Harvard Science often feels like a magic show and that aspect makes it particularly appealing to science education. Great communicators of science like Walter Lewin can enchant any audience by turning ordinary physical phenomena into captivating demonstrations that violate intuition and tickle imaginations. In this tradition, Harvard University has created a collection of science demonstrations and ...
  • The Seasons Simply Explained The fact that certain months are hot and others are cold is so deeply ingrained in our brains that we take it for granted. Fortunately, it doesn’t take advanced science to explain the basics behind this phenomenon. In the “Reasons for Seasons” animation below, Rebecca Kaplan talks about the science of seasons as if she ...
  • Stop Mindlessly Memorizing the Order of Operations Breaking news: the order of operations that elementary schools teach students is not a fundamental law of nature but a convention to make our lives easier. Unfortunately, many students add PEMDAS (as the order of operations is commonly called in the US) to the list of mystical yet unquestionable truths to be memorized and feared. ...
  • Dimensions: A Beautiful Excursion Through Geography, Geometry, and Topology Unfortunately, some of the most beautiful mathematics is hidden from most people because it is so difficult to visualize. A good explanation has limited reach when the discussion at hand is about geometry, especially when it spans more than two dimensions. We may have an abundance of technology to help illustrate the subject, but someone ...
  • Jetpacks, Rocket Science, and Basic Physics for Beginners Rocket science is usually a term associated with something too complicated for mere mortals to comprehend. In reality, the basic principles are fairly simple and involve basic middle school or high school physics. In this video, Derek Muller illustrates Newton’s laws of physics as they apply to rockets and jetpacks and mentions a few other ...
  • A Quick Look at the Biochemistry and History of Modern Frozen Food Most of us know that freezing food prevents it from spoiling, but the fact that quick freezing is better than slow freezing is a more subtle point that not everyone may know. As always, Henry Reich delivers a to the point video that addresses this issue and illustrates the science behind modern frozen food. As ...
  • How Much Money Is There on Earth? An Entertaining Introduction to the Monetary System How much money exists on Earth may sound like a silly question, but answering it leads to several important concepts underlying the modern economy. Michael Stevens, in his usual engaging style, answers the question and turns a normally dry subject into an exciting one. His video discusses the creation of money, how it acquires it’s ...
  • One Hour With Richard Feynman: Imagining How Nature Works Once in a rare while, a genius unlocks a secret of nature, moves humanity forward, and secures a prominent place in the annals of science. Sometimes, more rarely, that same person, also conveys the excitement of discovery and the most complex phenomena in the simplest most beautiful language. Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists ...
  • For the Love of Physics: Science as a Performance Art Inspiring future scientists takes great teachers who are often talented performers. The beauty of physics as an academic subject is that it lends itself well to awe-inspiring demonstrations and performances. Walter Lewin, an MIT physics professor and legendary lecturer, is one of those talented teachers and performers who squeezes out of physics every drop of ...
  • The Origins of Writing and the Development of Language as Technology We take written language for granted because it defines what it means to be literate in our modern world, but it is a part of our technological and scientific progress, no less important than electricity or algebra. The story of how written language developed is complicated, with multiple interconnected threads and missing details, but it ...
  • Zeno’s Paradox: Is Movement Possible? Sometimes when you think really hard about something, you can reach a conclusion so contradictory to everyday experience, that it forces you to reexamine fundamental scientific and mathematical truths. That is exactly the predicament that Zeno of Elea, a Greek philosopher, reached almost two and a half thousand years ago. His famous Dichotomy paradox proposes ...
  • Street-Fighting Mathematics: Inexact Reasoning Leading to Deeper Understanding All too often school teaches us to “guess and check” when a simple exact calculation would lead to the right answer. Guessing the answer to a one variable equation may not further our mathematical knowledge, but is it possible that guessing can lead to deep insights? According to Sanjoy Mahajan, physicist and author of Street-Fighting ...
  • Why Does Earth Have Deserts and Related Questions Answered Some facts are so ingrained in our consciousness that we can’t avoid taking them for granted. We accept the existence of deserts, but unfortunately we rarely wonder why they exist where they do and what causes their creation. Once again, Henry Reich brings the subject to life with a brief but beautifully simple animation that ...
  • A Short Animated Foray into the Physics of Parallel Universes Before you get into the nitty-gritty of math and physics it helps to get fired up about the subject. Thanks to Henry Reich of MinutePhysics you can get a quick curiosity-arousing peek at the latest thinking on the possible existence of multiple universes. None of the presented theories can be experimentally tested currently, but these ...
  • A Miniature Introduction To Infinity Infinity is a topic that has for ages caused a great deal of both fascination and confusion among students. It is a mathematical abstraction that unlike other abstractions seems hard to make concrete. The fact there is more than one type of infinity and that infinity is often treated like a number but is not ...
  • The Scale of the Universe and How We Measure It Students often ask about the existence of the largest, smallest, or most distance objects that exist. These questions undeniably provide intellectual entertainment, especially when we can visualize the answers with ease. Take a look at this beautiful interactive animation created by Cary and Michael Huang to get a sense of the the kinds of distances ...
  • The Story of Martin Gardner and Mathematics as Magic Martin Gardner, one of the greatest recreational mathematicians of all time, is responsible not only for helping popularize mathematics as an art form and as a form of recreation but for inspiring a generation of future mathematicians to pursue it as a profession. He wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American for a quarter ...