Science channels explode onto YouTube

Google is investing in education and science, with five new YouTube channels dedicated to mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, physics – and spectacular demonstrations

Back in May I wrote a blog post about YouTube and the rise of the amateur in science communication. It’s exciting to now see a kind of punk mentality in science communication, a sense that anyone can do it. This is something I do myself on YouTube and in that article I encouraged you to join me.

Now, in a move away from its traditional user-generated content, YouTube has recently announced its first venture into original content. So let’s take a look at what YouTube will be offering in the way of science communication.

Certainly, this is a major move on behalf of YouTube and its owners at Google. It’s part of a rumoured $100m investment, beginning with the announcement of 100 new channels. These include some big names in entertainment such as Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Jay-Z. There are also news channels from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, among others such as channels for WWE and Red Bull. And, further down this list, me.

Well, when I say me, I mean a channel called Numberphile, which will feature me and other mathematicians, with each video being about a different number. Numberphile is actually the brainchild of video journalist Brady Haran, who is already popular on YouTube – and with readers of the Guardian blogger GrrlScientist – for his Periodic Table of Videos, as well as Sixty Symbols (physics) and his Favourite Scientistchannel.

Numberphile launches on 11 November 2011, that’s 11.11.11 – well it seemed appropriate – making it one of the first of the new YouTube 100.

The fact that 10 of the channels in this announcement are educational channels is encouraging. While the serious money may be in channels such as Red Bull and WWE, Google is investing in education, too. In fact, half of those educational channels on offer are science-related.

Brady’s other new channel is on astronomy, Deep Sky Videos. The channel will start by looking at the Messier Objects, a list of approximately 100 astronomical objects. Here’s a preview.

So, with my journalist hat on (it has a piece of card sticking out of the hat band with “Press” written on it), I asked Brady for the inside scoop. Although Brady says he’s “mildly daunted” by the number of videos he will have to produce, he also told me how exciting it was. And I can see why: this is a huge endorsement from YouTube.

To continue reading the Guardian article please click here