Friday, July 1, 2016

Educational YouTube Channels: engineerguy

Just a few weeks ago I came across an excellent channel on YouTube called engineerguy, run by Bill Hammack, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show how some cool machine works, and a few that explain the science and history behind it, but typically they are one off videos and the maker never posts more. Or they have a channel filled with fluff, and only or two good videos.

The engineerguy channel has videos about topics like the alignment optical telescope used on the Apollo missions, that allowed them to fly to the moon.
What makes his videos stand out from other "how it works" videos is how he packs in so much depth into a short video in such a way that even someone with a PhD in physics can feel like they have learned something. When he explains something the insights shared can have applications far beyond the immediate topic, which is why his videos are unlike others on YouTube.

While I am a fan of engineering videos, especially "How It's Made", the engineerguy videos help me appreciate the complexity and ingenuity that went into some designs that we may take for granted.

Just to warn you, sometimes he will be explaining how something works and he will go into fill engineer mode, using technical language that most people will not understand. If there are things he mentions that you don't get, don't worry, just keep watching, it's only something that people with a PhD in a scientific field will care about. You can still pick up on what he is talking about without understanding everything. Just don't be intimidated by technical language.