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Lunch Dates: Derek Muller

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Perhaps better known by his super neat videos on physics, Derek Muller (a.k.a. Veritasium) has produced a bunch of cool and informative videos on how stuff works. His usual format consists of asking a central question, asking real n-the-street people for input, performing the experiment, and an explanation for the workings… sort of a version of Mythbusters, but without the explosions or crazy prop shop. He, instead, visits a lot of universities (and professors at/from universities) to get high-quality explanations and demonstrations.

The first video to get attention had to do with Slinkies. Well, one Slinky:

(And check out the answer as well as the extended version.)

Oh, Dr. Muller’s a nerd all right. Check out his fantastically obvious nerdly delight at getting to touch THE kilogram:

Was it good for you, too?

In a number of his videos, Dr. Muller proposes an experiment, then asks a number of random bystanders what they think will happen. He has been called all sorts of names because of it. Really, he’s got his own PhD thesis to back up ferreting-out and addressing misconceptions head-on, as well as a short TEDx talk. I think he’d get along well with dy/dan who’s working on his own PhD (in math education).

Things to ask during lunch:

  • What is the most exciting thing about education today?
  • What do educational systems get right? wrong?
  • You’re not from or in the U.S.. What do the U.K. and Australia do better (and worse) than the U.S.?
  • Do you think that there should be more science education, and at what level(s)?
  • How do you think of new videos?
  • You probably didn’t think you’d be doing YouTube videos for a living. What did you intend on doing with your PhD?
  • You’ve already got a PhD, a successful YouTube channel, a loyal fanbase, and a TED talk under your belt. For you personally, what kind of recognition or kudos would you consider your ultimate goal?
  • Who in the non-formal-education arena would you like to meet?
  • Who influences you?
  • Was meeting other YouTube-rs as fun as it looked?
  • What would be your ideal day, working or not?
  • What’s your pet sub-subject? Besides education, the physics-related thing that you really love?
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