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Scientific Animation on YouTube: Beyond Classroom Learning

by Saif Hossain

The visualization and animation of scientific concepts through YouTube channels like Crash Course and Amoeba Sisters have helped countless students reinforce their understanding of classroom material. However, scientific animation also has value outside of cramming for exams; it helps stimulate a genuine interest in learning more about the world around us. Learning that occurs not for a grade, but out of intrigue and curiosity. 

The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell has reinvigorated the scientific curiosity of millions of views since it debuted on YouTube ten years ago. The channel uploads new content approximately once per month, covering a variety of topics such as health, science, technology, history, and philosophy. Based in Munich, Germany, Kurzgesagt’s videos are made by a team of illustrators, animators, research scientists, and producers who thoroughly fact-check and verify the information they feature on YouTube. 

If you like nature documentaries, the Discovery Channel, or National Geographic, then you’ll love Kurzgesagt. And if you don’t, but are curious to learn more about science, you’ll find that their videos easily retain your attention. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell utilizes colorful, bright animation to break down complex topics and educate the public in engaging ten-minute videos. With intriguing storytelling, exhaustive fact-checking, and just the right amount of humor, their videos are not only easy to follow, but explain concepts in a way that is easily understandable to those with a limited background in science. The animation is simple but aesthetically pleasing, and the narration is both relaxing and compelling. Some videos feature a thorough breakdown of the mechanisms and risk factors behind health issues such as cancer, vaccines, and aging, while other videos address contemporary issues such as GMOs, the effects of eating meat, and mental health. They even feature videos using science to analyze hypothetical scenarios, such as the end of the universe, the birth of the last human, and the Fermi Paradox. 

Kurzgesagt’s videos are made with a genuine passion for scientific inquiry and education, and their goal is to inspire that same curiosity and love of learning in their viewers. Generally, their videos are divided into four parts: a description of the topic, why it is relevant, what we can do about it, and its future ramifications for society. Kurzgesagt makes a concerted effort to end its videos on an optimistic and even empowering note. Their videos, especially those featuring cancer and aging, provide some powerful perspectives that can reshape one’s outlook on society and their life. I truly appreciate their explanations on how viewers can use what they learn to make real, positive changes for the health of our communities and future generations. Thus, I highly recommend Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell as a great source of education, entertainment, and perspective on the world around us.

You can watch Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell on YouTube.