January 28, 2020
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect an official Ansys stance or any related corporate agreements, incentives or decisions.
Many engineers are hungry for entertaining ways to learn about their technological passions, but it can be hard to find good content. With YouTube hosting one billion watch-hours daily, there is bound to be good engineering content on YouTube channels.
I’ve seen YouTube videos that entertain, educate and even help engineers design products to better protect customers, people and property. (Don’t believe me? Skip to the internet of things [IoT] and smart device security flaw discussed in the fifth entry on this list.)
So, without further ado, here is a countdown of the 10 best edutainment and engineering YouTube channels. Then, if you wish to watch more educational videos, check out some webinars in the Ansys Resource Center or watch the Ansys YouTube channel.
CrashCourse is an edutainment channel created by multitalented educators, authors and vloggers Hank and John Green.
In this show, the vlogbrothers — named for their initial channel — team up with a faculty of experts to give viewers a crash course in everything from physics to literature.
In fact, they even have a crash course on engineering that is hosted by Dr. Shini Somara. Though the course may not teach you anything new, it’s sure to be a treat to share with the family — to help them better understand your job.
For a preview, watch below:
Dr. Shini Somara introduces a crash course on engineering
Many engineering students admit to doodling during class. When my cohorts and I doodled, we typically drew fractals and mathematical patterns. There is something delightful, beautiful and entertaining about drawing math.
If you agree with that sentiment, then Vihart is the YouTube channel for you. Though Victoria Hart doesn’t upload often, her playful twist on teaching math is sure to put a smile on your face.
Why not learn a bit about pi while you check out her video below?
Vihart talking about spidermath!
Hank Green makes the list yet again with the SciShow YouTube channel. On this show, Green, Michael Aranda and Olivia Gordon discuss science history, news stories and Q&A sessions.
The channel is an entertaining way to stay in the know about scientific discoveries that have recently been announced. As a general science knowledge show, it may not always cover a topic that interests you. However, a variety of mind-blowing topics are featured on a regular basis.
For instance, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) specialists might want to learn how their equations describe other phenomena. To learn which ones, watch the video below:
Hank Green discusses three unexpected things
that can be described using fluid dynamics
I’ve yet to meet an engineer who didn’t dream of being a Mythbuster. Ever since Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage said their final goodbyes to the show, I’ve had a gap in my viewing library that took a long time to fill (skip to entry number three to learn more).
If the part of Mythbusters you miss the most was watching Adam comically approach trial-and-error, then Adam Savage’s Tested might be a YouTube channel for you.
The show isn’t nearly as flashy as Mythbusters, but if you like to build things (but watch others build it first), then give Adam Savage’s “one day builds” a look:
Watch Adam Savage build his own portable
soldering station in a one day build
If you long for the days of doing crazy experiments in a school lab, then you might be interested in watching the more extreme versions on Derek Muller’s channel Veritasium.
In it, he covers various topics including:
As many simulation users are physics wizards, you might be interested in watching his video on perplexing physics problems. Some might even stump you. Check it out below:
Watch Derek Muller cover some perplexing physics problems
For engineers hoping to support the videos of a fellow practitioner, I’d suggest tuning into Destin Sandlin’s SmarterEveryDay. Sandlin is a rocket engineer who loves to teach science and engineering in interesting ways.
He frequently has guests, and the use of prototypes help him cover various topics from fluid dynamics, rocketry, lasers, ballistics, physics and even simple machines.
The video that inspired me to write this list was actually created by Sandlin. It depicts how lasers could pose a security risk to smart home and IoT devices. Since many engineers are working on developing these products, they might want to watch the video to learn of the unexpected ways bad actors and hackers can exploit their customers:
Destin Sandlin discusses how lasers can
send hidden commands to IoT devices
A YouTube host who calls himself CGP Grey has created a channel for anyone interested in general knowledge. He specializes in topics with common misconceptions, like:
But Grey’s best videos, in my opinion, cover science, technology, engineering or math. For instance, he’s talked about the science and ethics of Star Trek’s transporters, simple solutions to traffic, machine learning and much more.
If you really want to get your feet wet with CGP Grey, ask yourself: “What is the closest planet to Earth?” Then watch the video below. The truth might shock you:
CGP Grey discusses the weird truth
about the closest planet to Earth
Still miss Mythbusters? I might have something to scratch that itch: the YouTube channel The King of Random. Grant Thompson created the show. But a while back, he passed hosting duties on to the entertaining duo of Nate Bonham and Calli Gade.
Just like Mythbusters, the pair perform experiments, big and small, to test myths, life-hacks and more.
What’s most loveable about the show is that it taps into an engineer’s younger self. You know — back when you took a TV apart with a screwdriver. For instance, the show covers curiosities like what happens if you put metal in a microwave or drop a basketball-sized bouncy ball from a forklift.
To see them play around with the Coandă effect, watch the video below:
Nate Bonham and Calli Gade have fun with the Coandă effect
Save the odd historical fiction or horror, science fiction and fantasy are the only genres that frequently feature character stand-ins for the engineering profession. After all, someone has to design Iron Man’s suit, scrape together the DeLorean and keep the USS Enterprise on trek.
Through all the technobabble uttered on these shows, there are typically real-world theories connecting the fiction to science. If you ever wondered what that science is, how it works and how it’s engineered, then you need to watch Kyle Hill from Because Science.
In it, he describes everything from how force lightning works to why Thor fears tasers. But if you really want to get into some crazy science, I suggest you watch his video on how black lightsabers (aka Darksabers) work:
Kyle Hill explains the potential science behind darksabers
The thing I loved most about high school physics was how my teacher, a former engineer herself, could simplify a complex problem into a box and a few arrows. Every time she did this, the concepts would quickly gel into comprehension.
These force diagrams have popped into the daily lives of many engineers. You could even argue that the pre-processing of many simulations bears a striking resemblance to the practice.
But what happens when physics problems move to the theoretical, like quantum mechanics, string theory, relativity and paradoxes? Can stick figures, illustrations and force diagrams really describe these phenomena? Henry Reich from minutephysics has found a way and has already covered those topics — and many more.
For a sneak peak, watch him work his way through the physical questions posed by the popular videogame Portal:
Watch Henry Reich debate the physics of the portals from the videogame Portal
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