Dusk. It’s winter. The sun is setting earlier and earlier, and the dark times are upon us. As the nights get colder (and the days aren’t much warmer), you arrive home from work. Kicking off your shoes, you find the comfiest chair and power-on the closest screen. For times like these this holiday season, there is the GEN Video Playlist for the Holidays. Ten short, fun and fascinating videos for you or your whole family to enjoy.
So, warm-up some eggnog, put on your fuzziest slippers and enjoy some fun science!
1. 20 Questions with Neil deGrasse Tyson
National Geographic sat down with world-renown astrophysicist and ambassador of science Neil deGrasse Tyson, and asked him twenty questions. These are not the kind of questions he usually gets asked.
2. Life Near Underwater Volcanoes
On the Discovery Channel’s 100 Greatest Discoveries show, Bill Nye and John Ballard (of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) discuss the discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977. Most surprising to them were the myriad of plants and animals that had evolved to thrive in those unique conditions.
3. How Tesla Made Power from Water
In this clip from the Science Channel’s Impossible Engineering show, we can see how Nikola Tesla electrified the world by building the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. While Tesla’s original power station is now a museum, the Niagara Power Authority continues to provide over 2.4 million kilowatts of the world’s cleanest and cheapest energy to Canada and the U.S.
4. The Hidden Life in Pond Water
We don’t need to travel into the deep ocean to find the most unusual lifeforms. This short clip is a journey into a bizarre world of microscopic inhabitants of pond water through the eye of a water flea. Featuring both microscopy and ultra-macro images of pond animals.
5. 18 Minutes with an Agile Mind
If we could recommend one TEDtalk, it would be Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on education, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” But if we at GEN could recommend a second one—one that would make you smile and look at the world a little differently—then we would recommend “A Call to Learn.” Clifford Stoll is an astronomer, part-time physics teacher, and amateur maker of Klein bottles—all at the same time. Just sit back and enjoy eighteen minutes with an agile mind.
6. “All About That Space”
In 2014, the interns at NASA’s Johnson Space Center came up with a parody song and music video of Meagan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” This song came out just as SpaceX unveiled its Dragon capsule and began launching reusable rockets. “We’re bringing rockets back!”
7. Robot Orchestra Performing Doctor Who Theme
Recorded by BBC Four at the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, 2014. If nothing else, this is a short video of a robot playing the theremin!
8. Exploding Foam Science
Featuring Jeff Vinokur (The Dancing Scientist), the short series of demonstrations from The Rachel Ray Show illustrates how to have fun with hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. Vinokur is a biochemistry Ph.D. candidate at UCLA, and spends his spare time touring the U.S., performing his science education show at over 300 schools.
9. How Einstein Was Proved Right 100 Years Later
Brian Greene (author of The Elegant Universe) explains to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show how scientists detected the gravity waves predicted by Albert Einstein, using actual lasers!
10. How Big Is the Universe?
British astronomer Pete Edwards, University of Durham, describes to The Guardian just how big the universe is, and how difficult it is for our brains to comprehend the scale of the universe.