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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Science never quite clicked for me. Then I discovered YouTube | Op-Eds -

Tom Hawking, freelance writer based in Melbourne recommends, Fascinating mathematical concepts explained in a way that’s entertaining.

Photo: Ramachandra Babu/©Gulf News
YouTube has long had a reputation as a hive of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and pseudoscience. All these accusations are, more or less, true — if you’re vulnerable to the wooing of Flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, 9/11 truthers, the alt-right, and every other sort of lunatic fringe flourishing in 2018, they’re all there, waiting for you on YouTube.

But as with all the other “platforms” that dominate the internet — Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc — YouTube is more than a morass of anti-scientific nutters. The site is also home to much of the web’s best and most compelling popular science content.  

Like pretty much everyone, I studied science and maths for the first few years of high school and eventually pursued chemistry and maths right through year 12. I found the concepts involved fascinating, but I was never much good at the actual work. I was less interested in learning how to solve quadratic equations than I was in why quadratic equations could be solved. What I wanted, I guess, was popular science. And one day a couple of years ago, tooling around on the internet while I should have been working, I found it on YouTube.

My YouTube rabbit hole started with Numberphile, the maths-based channel that forms part of Australian videographer Brady Haran’s YouTube empire...

It’s not just mathematics that benefits from the possibilities for visual illustration that YouTube allows. If you search, you’ll find people who take similar approaches to physics, chemistry, biology, electronics, along with a heap of generalists who address all these topics and more.
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