Educational videos/shows on space and physics
May 13, 2019 1:21 PM   Subscribe

My man-friend and I share a love of learning new things, and a love of astronomy & physics. We are looking for recommendations on Youtube channels, documentaries, interviews, or television series that are relatively up-to-date and delve into the latest theories and concepts. Neil DGT's Cosmos is great, but not quite what we are looking for -- we want things that twist the brain a bit. Help us nerd up our date night!
posted by tealcoffeecup to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I should have added cosmology to astronomy & physics!
posted by tealcoffeecup at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2019

If you haven't watched The Most Unknown yet, I would recommend it. It's sort of broad science-based, but absolutely deliciously brain twisty.

One Strange Rock is brilliantly shot, but the science is a little basic. I found it completely worth watching for the imagery.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:54 PM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

PBS Space Time is for people just like you (and me - I will be watching this thread with interest).
posted by inexorably_forward at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

physics for future presidents, richard muller, berkeley. 26 episodes.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you want something old (like 1980's old) and classical physics with a *lot* of history and names in a grand tour of 52 episodes then there's also The Mechanical Universe.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2019

posted by humboldt32 at 3:21 PM on May 13, 2019

I've long been a fan of Nima Arkani-Hamed. He's a particle physicist who has been involved with CERN. He has a few broad, popular science-ish lectures online, and they are very brain-twisty.
He's very much at the forefront of new physics, and his current passion is to try to go deep beyond the concept of space-time to a more fundamental description of nature (not necessarily a theory of everything) but, as he describes it, one it which space-time arises from principles rather than being an a priori state of affairs.

He's got quite a unique style of speaking, but once you get into his rhythm he can be very fascinating.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:31 PM on May 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Terence Tao's lecture on the cosmic distance ladder is a fascinating and accessible explanation of how the sizes and distances of celestial objects were discovered, from Eratosthenes's experiment to find the radius of the Earth to measuring the red-shift of galaxies to find their distance via Hubble's Law. It's not about the state of the art, but I'm sure it will "twist the brain a bit".
posted by J.K. Seazer at 4:40 PM on May 13, 2019

I think you should give Anton Petrov's channel a try.

For some reason, YouTube doesn't offer me the ability to link to his channel as a whole the way humboldt32 did with his suggested channel, but here's an interesting and alarming video about the 30+ defunct nuclear reactors currently in orbit around the Earth.

Most of his stuff has an awed tone and he is very eclectic as well as prolific, but he has a gift for simplifying without being condescending, and whatever mistakes he may be making must be over my head, because I can't remember catching one.
posted by jamjam at 5:23 PM on May 13, 2019

Anton Petrov

posted by zengargoyle at 6:41 PM on May 13, 2019

Brian Greene's Elegant Universe. 2003 Peabody Award Winner.

Although I don't understand your concern for Cosmos. That's probably the best science documentary ever made. While stuff that is mindblowing is usually unproven theory, Cosmos has a lot of mindblowing stuff that is actual known proven science.
posted by andryeevna at 7:50 PM on May 13, 2019

I forgot to mention my personal favorite:

How long is a piece of string?
posted by andryeevna at 7:56 PM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Isaac Arthur!

Super in-depth for-the-layman videos of hard scifi concepts achievable with technology available or feasible with known science + far-future mindbending stuff. Recent episodes include Black Hole Ships, Matrioshka Worlds, and Sky Platforms.
posted by saysthis at 5:24 AM on May 14, 2019

Some good examples above.

I sometimes use minute physics in the college classroom. It's a little gimmicky, but accurate, contemporary, and thoughtful.
posted by eotvos at 7:25 AM on May 14, 2019

I'll recommend "How the Universe Works" on Science Channel. It has a good back log of episodes (they're showing reruns as well as new ones). The only complaint I have is that a lot of the "new episodes" are just three previous shows put into one. However, since I haven't seen the vast majority of them, it works for me.

I'll also be watching this thread with interest and am checking out PBS Space Time soon.
posted by kathrynm at 7:26 AM on May 14, 2019

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