3 US Science Labs You Can Follow On YouTube [Stuff to Watch]

YouTube is an increasingly important educational resource that’s not only a great way to study but can also help you pick up DIY basics, blossom as an artist or learn to cook. If you can create an instructional video about it, chances are there are whole channels dedicated to it on YouTube, though there are often subjects that users simply can’t quite deliver on like the big boys can.

In this case, it’s science and the pursuit of knowledge. It’s unfair to expect a simple home physics enthusiast build their own particle accelerator, and for experiments on this scale we’re lucky enough to have some of the United States’ top scientific facilities showcasing their work on YouTube.

In addition to expanding knowledge, increasing safety and pushing the boundaries of science, these labs have real-world impacts on many of the products and services we use, as you’ll see in the videos below.

Jefferson Lab

Jefferson Lab is a US Department of Energy facility that spends millions of dollars each year “exploring the nature of matter”. There are 17 national laboratories pushing the boundaries of our knowledge with expensive bits of kit like particle accelerators.

In case you need to brush up on some scientific terms you may only have heard in video games or movies – like cryomodule – then Jefferson Lab have made a series of videos to bring you up to speed:

And just what is a photomultiplier tube?

Like most science-themed channels on YouTube, Jefferson Lab provide some easy to digest experiments, a lot of the time involving our old friend liquid nitrogen.

In addition to short experiments and physics class brush-ups, the lab makes available a number of full lectures online. One example is the talk below given by Italian scientist and Time person of the year runner-up Dr. Fabiola Gianotti of CERN. Her talk involves the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, and the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle and how it affects our lives.

Berkeley Lab

Scientists at Berkeley Lab conduct all kinds of experiments and enable better understanding of design and often consumer products. Many of the discoveries made at Berkley Lab have a very real knock-on effect years down the line when you go to buy something, like a range hood for example:

This is just one of the ways in which science affects the ways products make it into your home. The scientists at Berkeley are also happy to answer some user questions, and apply their scientific minds to the subject of energy efficiency.

Environmental issues are never far away, like in this snippet from Blake Simmons’ eight minute talk on replacing the barrel of oil with plants and microbes. You can watch the full talk here.

The channel’s most popular video is this silent computer animation created using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey of a simulated trip through a small slice of the universe, complete with more than 400,000 galaxies.

Sandia Labs

Sandia Labs are in charge of safeguarding and maintaining the United States’ nuclear weapon stockpile. Initially established thanks in part to the post-second World War Manhattan Project, the research facilities have now branched out to explore areas surrounding energy research, supercomputing, treaty verification, nanotechnology, and nonproliferation.

Defence research involves things like the robotic hand above, a device designed to be used in the removal of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the battelground. Another of Sandia’s projects was an efficient water disruptor, as can be seen below.

Sandia Labs have built their fair share of robotics over the years, though it’s not all about bomb detonation and warfare – here’s a mine-rescue robot designed to overcome piles of rubble and floods:

Perhaps one of Sandia’s more “useful” products (in terms of future consumer electronics) is the Sandia Cooler, a vastly improved cooling system that uses an impeller design and a barrier of area to transfer heat from a stationary source like a CPU and cooling it using 2000 rpm and some clever engineering.

One final project that MakeUseOf readers in particular might find especially interesting is Sandia’s MegaDroid, 300,000 virtual networked Android devices powered by a small cluster of home PCs. Why? Click Play and find out.

You can keep up with these science labs and the work they are doing on the next big things via their respective YouTube channels. Let us know what your favourite science channels are in the comments, below.

Image Credit: Polymers! (Josh Vaughn)

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