The Best Science Videos of 2012
2012 has been a bumper year for smart science videos and here's a top ten list curated by the Ri Channel team.
From the discovery of the Higgs Boson to a curious descent to Mars and a twice-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, 2012 has included some amazing scientific highlights. Accompanied by the continuing explosion in online audiences and the increasing ease of producing/publishing multimedia content it’s been a bumper year for science videos.
Since launching the Ri Channel back in December 2011 we've become pretty adept at looking around the web for the best videos exploring science, technology, engineering or maths.In fact, I think my colleague Ed Prosser and I probably watch more science-related video than perhaps anyone else.
As the website celebrates its one year anniversary we wondered if we could compile a top ten list of the best of the "best of the web" - the videos that have entertained, educateed, and ultimately inspired us throughout the year.
The top ten
This is the selection from me and the rest of the Ri Channel team (as well as some feedback from our users). It’s in no particular order and, as with all lists, not everyone will agree – I’m sure we have missed some great content. What is your favourite science video from 2012?
Beyond the Gardens
A beautifully-crafted film from Kew Gardens that deserves a far larger audience than it’s currently gained.
Life without a pulse
Is life possible without a pulse or a heartbeat? Groundbreaking medical technology features in this early entry to the Focus Forward film competition (warning: contains footage not for the feint of heart).
Seven Minutes of Terror
A computer-animated imagining of Curiosity’s risky, awe-inspiring descent to Mars. What could possibly go wrong?(Note: NASA continues to release huge amounts of high quality video material and images into the public domain – see http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia).
Transit of Venus
A lesson in not overcomplicating things as Oxford University’s Andrew Steele explains the transit of Venus with a simple script and a touch of motion graphics.
Levitating Barbecue! Electromagnetic Induction
Derek Muller’s Veritasium series on YouTube challenges popular misconceptions about science and the world. It’s hard to pick out just one but this demo is pretty spectacular and feature Faraday’s induction ring.
Under the Microscope
Combining simple audio interviews with high resolution microscopic images, this series from Cambridge University proves that creating engaging science content doesn’t have to be costly or complex.
Choreographed by research biologist Christian Sardet, The Plankton Chronicles is a beautiful video series revealing the visual splendour of largely hidden marine organisms. This example from Ted-Edcombines the footage to chart the lifecycle of a humble Red Snapper.
Understanding the Network
We always like to capture real phenomena in our videos but some things are too small (or too big!) to see. This short animation on our data-driven online transactions proves the power of animation to communicate complex ideas.
Glassblowing and Didymium Glasses
We had to sneak in one of our ownvideos and this gem by Ed Prosser combines all the elements of telling a successful story on film: a unique location, a beautifuldemo, sound sciencecontent and a great storyteller (Prof. Andrea Sella).
I think I watched this video more than any other on the Channel. It contains none of the above characteristics but demonstrates in a once-in-a -lifetime moment the inspirational power and beauty of nature.
A version of this article, written by Robert Cawston, first appeared in the Guardian.
Best of the Web
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