Comments: 548 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

shortstheory71 karma

Hi Derek! I have a couple of questions:

1) How do you feel when Brady "mispronounces" your channel's name on Hello Internet?

2) Do you have any plans in the pipeline to start a podcast (maybe with Henry Reich as you hinted at Vidcon '14)?

veritasium99 karma

1) What do you mean? Bradley always get's my name right. 2) I have recorded a podcast with Henry! We just haven't released it yet...

SecretNature19 karma

Is the podcast going to be a regular thing or was this a one-off?

veritasium56 karma

if people listen to it, more will come.

pete10101110 karma

So excited to listen, Dirk!

veritasium19 karma

Keep your expectations low. Henry and I are rookies and you know how long it took Brady and Grey to get good ;)

DrMoreau_10 karma

Do you plan on releasing it any time soon?? If so, have you set a release time yet?

veritasium27 karma

If we reach our next stretch goal for Snatoms by next Monday I'll release it then, how bout that?

DrMoreau_5 karma

That sounds awesome. I'll definitely keep an eye on the campaign. I would totally back it up, but I'm just a student and don't have much on me.

Follow up, question: Where will you most likely announce the podcast?

veritasium6 karma

Facebook, twitter, sparingly used mailing list

CJ_Jones43 karma

Hi Dirk Derek, greeting from the UK.

Big fan of your work as well as all of the Random Acts of Intelligence Crew.

My Question: Is there any chance of a another RAoI at any point in the future, would it be possible to have in Europe next time?

veritasium47 karma

I am all over the planet right now. I could do a RAoI at any time, you just can never know. It's the other folks we have to convince to travel. Let's make the Everest base camp RAoI happen. I'm down! Or up... for whatever

Jkuz34 karma

Would you be interesting in helping mod /r/Veritasium?

squamosal50 karma

I think you mean /r/Veristablium

veritasium52 karma


YannisKats29 karma

How do you come up with an idea for a video and how do you develope it into something that awesome?

veritasium56 karma

Idea for video:

Housemate comes home and says 'you know how you're heaviest at night and lightest in the morning?' like it's a fact. Except it doesn't sound right so I argue and then after that, make a video

I make a video about Facebook clickfraud and then a bunch of internet marketers say 'No, but Facebook advertising worked for me, so there can't be fake likes out there' so I made a video about seeing what you want to see

People in real life call you a jerk for making people look stupid, so I made a video to explain myself

Live in the Southern Hemisphere and want to do a collab with Destin so make two videos about things people wonder about

I guess my point is inspiration comes from everywhere. The topics that are most interesting to me are those that A) are relevant to people's lives (eg. a slinky falling, loss aversion, confirmation bias) and B) are something people have never seen before or presented in a way that is new and useful

YannisKats7 karma

How much time does a video usually take you? Because i understand that all those topics that you mentioned began as ideas and then they became whole projects!So i am guessing that you probably do a lot of research...plus i tried making a video myself before and i found it extremly difficult to explain a phisical pnenomenom through a video so I appreciate your work and also thank you!

veritasium8 karma

At least a week. Sometimes three years

arcsi952 karma

As a follow-up question, how many ideas turn into videos and how many just stay in the project phase or gets dumped?

veritasium2 karma

with most ideas, I know pretty quickly whether they will become videos or not, some of them stay in development for months, others happen in the next few days. My video about quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance I worked on for about a month of solid work but spread over 8 months (redoing things to make it even partially understandable).

FluoCantus2 karma

I don't think you're a pretentious douche bag. You're one of six YouTube channels that I subscribe to because your channel is one of the few that I think is a good valuable use of my time. I'm glad you made the video explaining your method, though. Very interesting to see.

veritasium2 karma

the ending of that video wasn't originally written that way, but when I was filming it, it just seemed like the right thing to say.

razorbeamz27 karma

Hey, it's Dirk from Veristablium!

Do you cringe whenever Brady says that on Hello Internet?

veritasium63 karma

I cringe whenever he says "naughty"

DaPlayerNinetyNine26 karma

Hey Derek, greetings from England and thanks for doing an AMA!

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to make the video, "Our Greatest Delusion"?

It was such a humbling, true and thought provoking video :)

veritasium32 karma

Glad you liked it! Chernobyl was partly my inspiration. I was staying in a crappy hotel with paper thin walls where the temp went down nearly to freezing in the room overnight. I slept in all my clothes and under the blankets and then got up to spend 12 hours filming in a radioactive wasteland for four days. So it was a strange time. But honestly I made that video for myself, to remind myself no matter how pressing each problem seems right now, however permanent and significant a thing seems, it's not. That both makes me feel smaller and bolder. I think the more I can remember that, the happier I'll be.

Adrastean25 karma

Hi Derek, greetings from Germany.

I only got a short question: Will there be any more documentaries in the future? I was a huge fan of Uranium - Twisting the Dragon's Tail!

supplementary question: What was the most exciting place you visited during the film shooting of your documentary?

I really appreciate the effort you put in your videos! Love you, bye! :)

veritasium48 karma

Next up: Sodium: Shaking the tiger's paw. Haha, yes I'm doing more documentaries. I'm working on a six-part series with Discovery International called Question Everything. Plus I'm working on a top secret documentary that I hope to release on a platform online so we don't have the same geoblocking as last time.

murcuo25 karma

Hi Derek, thanks so much for your amazing content, which has inspired me to embark upon a quest of studying mathematics and physics in my free time.

My question is a little more general. Neil deGrasse Tyson made a great statement a few years ago, questioning the amount of lawyers in congress and expressing frustration with the lack of scientists and engineers. Do you think that scientists should become more politically involved? Where do you see the role of science in the future of social organisation (politics and social affairs in general)?

veritasium26 karma

YES! Very yes!! I don't know why we want to elect people to make important decisions when they have shown no aptitude from problem-solving or even understanding the underlying phenomena. The biggest problem in my view is getting scientists who want to be politicians. Who wants to work as a fundraiser most of the time and make promises to donors and the public just to get elected. Science is way more fun.

MaxHassle20 karma

How big of a molecule can you build with Snatoms before it starts to fall apart?

veritasium18 karma

Good question! You can't go throwing around long chain molecules, eg. octane, because it will fall apart. Ring structures add strength so I have made multiple connected rings involving say 12-18 carbons without much trouble. I have a plan for bigger molecules but right now it's top secret. Hope to reveal it on Monday if we can hit our stretch goal

Gusta1006918 karma

Hey Derek, if you could give a tip for regular science educators all over the world, what would it be?

veritasium26 karma

You do the most important job on the planet and no one ever says thank you. So I'd say thank you. Then I would encourage every science educator to involve their students in the teaching process. I liked to never say something my students could say for me. It's a good way to keep them engaged and keep me honest so I don't think they know something they don't.

wordsnwood16 karma

Hi Derek, thanks for the postcard (six degrees of separation)

Other than the toilet video with Destin, what is the video/project that took you the longest to work on? Or is there one that took even longer?

veritasium7 karma

There are ones I haven't finished yet, speaking of which, I'm holding a screening of never-before-seen footage in LA as a reward for Snatoms. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, giving a small group some sneak peeks and insight into what goes into making a Veritasium video.

Ntimblack15 karma

What do you think of Youtube Red as a content creator and as a consumer of youtube?

Will you be attempting to bring more documentary style content to TV?

What topics/discussion in the field of physics are particularly interesting to you right now?

Have a nice Thanksgiving!

veritasium15 karma

  1. I love it and I've been lobbying for it for a long time because a) as a consumer I hate ads and b) ads pay so little that a cent a view would be a huge increase over the revenue we currently receive (this is in fact the model I was proposing)
  2. I will be doing more doc style TV but I want to do it online. If there is a way for me to do TV and online distribution simultaneously, that's what I'll do. If it has to be one or the other, I want it online.

roseiro13 karma

What are the best geophysics prospection metods in search of uranium? and why?

veritasium17 karma

What a scintillating first question! In the past geiger counters have been commonly used but these days I'm sure people use much more sophisticated methods like looking for reflectivity of certain wavelengths from satellites. This is now standard practice for locating new ore deposits of all sorts.

Gusta1006913 karma

Hi Derek. If youtube didn't exist, in what would you work on? Greets from Brazil

veritasium10 karma

I think I'd be an entrepreneur of some sort. Before I made YouTube videos I ran the science department of a tutoring college. And I would want to make science equipment like the best hands-on chemistry kit of all time

robmackenzie12 karma

My favorite video so far was the bullet block, because of the way you presented the question to other youtubers and the audience, allowing everyone the chance to be the person you interview. Do you have any plans for another mass participation video like this?

veritasium14 karma

I would LOVE to do another video like this. The trouble is finding good questions. When I have another one (and access to willing YouTubers) I'll do it!

ballthyrm10 karma

Hi Derek , i love the idea of Snatoms, do you think it would be possible to make DNA with it ? Right now, there is only phosphorus missing .

PS: i think a full DNA Snatoms helix would be glorious

veritasium12 karma

Totally agree! DNA is a huge molecule I'd love to be able to make and I have a trick up my sleeve that I think could make it work in a pro version.

MadRedMC9 karma

Hi Derek ! i have a simple question :

When did you realize that you looked sooo much better with a beard ?

veritasium13 karma

hahaha I hair you but opinion is split almost 50/50, let's say 60/40 over the beard. I have it this way not for looks but because I'm lazy and my skin is too sensitive to shave it off regularly.

Taxi_17298 karma

Hi Derek, I really like your videos on your 2veritasium channel. I find these videos really interesting and inspirational. How much do you prepare and plan what you are going to say in the videos when you are holding the camera and speaking? They manage to sound unscripted and impromptu while also being concise and interesting. You make amazing content and as a science minded school leaver I really appreciate the content on your second channel - videos like "Should you listen to your parents" are brilliant.

veritasium12 karma

"unscripted and impromptu" - what they actually are.

"concise and interesting" - through a day of painstaking editing.

I normally jot down a couple notes about something I'm thinking about. Then I proceed to film myself talking about it, often while walking. Then I nearly pull my hair out for several days wishing I said it better than I did. But I think there's something very appealing about the impromptu nature of those videos and I want to do more so hopefully I can get better at them.

Gei3t8 karma

What do you think is the most difficult subject matter to communicate to other people? Have you also thought about trying to explain more abstract concepts from mathematics to people, like fractals that also occure in nature quite a lot?

veritasium10 karma

Love this idea - chaos has been on my list for a long time and to do that I would have to get into fractals, fractional dimensions etc. Look out for this one!

roryn588 karma

Derek! Fellow Queens student here!

I've always wondered about your background, I understand you did your undergrad and high school in Canada then went to Australia? Why the move? Are you (or your parents) from there originally?

Thanks and cha gheill!

veritasium14 karma

I am the Commonwealth kid. Let me explain:

South Africa - where my parents are from

Australia - where I was born and where I lived til I was 2 and then from 22-32

Canada - where I lived from 2 to 22

Now I live in LA, which is not part of the commonwealth but the accents are like Canada and the weather is like Australia

reentry8 karma

Hey Derek, I'm a huge fan of your youtube videos, they are really, really cool! (Keep up the good work, and keep dispelling our misconceptions!)

Why did you choose an atomic number of 42 for your logo (for Veritasium)?

EDIT: There has to be a reason beside just 'meaning of life' right?

veritasium16 karma

People complain periodically that I stole Molybdenum's spot on the periodic table. But it's not true! The atomic number of Veritasium is i the square root of negative one, or the imaginary number, which only seemed fitting since Veritasium is an imaginary element. It's the mass number that is 42. I thought about pi or e but ultimately I had to go with the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

salamishit6 karma

Do you have a cat? if not, do you want to get a cat?

veritasium13 karma

No cat now, though if I were pussed I'm feline like I'd rather get a dog.

I had a cat growing up. Her name: Mischief

valarmorghulis2566 karma

What did you think of your visit to stockholm?

veritasium10 karma

It was Swede! Seriously my favourite part was the meetup, met so many amazing people and had nice hearty Swedish dinner.

spagasaurus5 karma

What do you find to be the most unpleasant aspects when creating your Veritasium videos?

I'm curious about what advantages the traditional ball-and-stick models might have over Snatoms. Would you care to comment?

Would you consider doing a crossover with Brady Haran's Periodic Videos about Snatoms the next time your are in the UK?

veritasium7 karma

Most unpleasant aspect of making Veritasium? Writing something, filming it, getting it almost right but wishing I had just a little extra footage. Since I don't have it, I have to stress in the editing and try to make things work but it would have been so much better if I got it right the first time. Often filming itself is super stressful because the sun is going down, cars/planes/trains/people/birds/animals/construction/machines are making noise. Someone doesn't want you to film there, you run out of batteries. Your script flies away in the wind or you can't film because there's too much wind on the mic. You get home to find all your footage was out of focus / over-exposed / cast with a nasty yellow hue. I like this thing Ira Glass said (and I'm paraphrasing): everything you make is trying to be bad. It's working as hard as it can to be crap. It is your job to be a soldier and battle the badness and salvage something good from something that just wants to be awful.

I would love to collab with Brady. His audience (and even his interview subjects) are the perfect targets for Snatoms

sanchotomato5 karma

Hi Derek, thanks for doing this AMA!

I just wanted to ask if you've got any tips for a beginning physics student?

veritasium17 karma

Double check your work! You know that old idea of your gut feeling is normally right? I don't think that works in physics. Make sure you check and double check your work. I found soooooo many mistakes on the second pass and I think that's what made me such a good physics student.

elyisgreat5 karma

I loved your snatoms video (I love all your videos, tbh). I'm curious; how do you represent double and triple bonds using snatoms? What about lone pairs/lone single electrons?

veritasium5 karma

Double and triple bonds will be made with springs and magnets, kind of like how they are done for molymod kits. I will be demoing this very soon. Can't wait til we reach the double bond stretch goal on kickstarter

DigitiQuinti4 karma

Hey, Derek! Love the channel and Snatoms - I'm backing it because I think it's a great learning tool along with your other endeavors!

As a medical student, I can't help but notice the skew of yours and many others' (Smarter Everyday, etc.) educational videos geared towards physics, chemistry, astrophysics, astronomy, environmental science and engineering, which is awesome, but I wonder why subjects like biology, biochemistry, physiology, medicine, biophysics, biomedical engineering, genetics, microbiology, nutrition and pharmacology take such a backseat when it comes to science education media? Do you have plans to dive more into those areas in the future or do you know of any good channels that do delve into those areas?

There's so much overlap between those groups and the latter group dictates so much of our daily lives, it seems criminal to neglect it and educate the public about it! Thanks for all you do!

veritasium6 karma

I'll make a video about anything that's interesting. I've made some about psychology and biases. I'll make more about biology and genetics, but things like nutrition are just hard to squeeze a mind-blowing video out of y'know?

fatterSurfer4 karma

Hi Derek! I know a lot of YouTube creators have had serious problems with freebooting (notably discussed by Hank Green, Destin / Smarter Every Day, CGP Grey / Brady of Numberphile, and many others). I'd be curious to hear 1) how much of a problem has freebooting been for you personally?

In a very similar vein: I personally have very little faith in our legal system to produce intelligent, effective intellectual property policy in the digital age, and I suspect a great many people have had similar thoughts. Youtube's content ID system, imperfect though it may be, has been (in my opinion) a far more effective mechanism than DMCA takedown requests, despite it being basically entirely extra-legal. Do you have any thoughts on technological approaches to IP protection, or any other advice from a creator to people working in the field?

veritasium3 karma

  1. Freebooting is a serious problem for all creators including me.

  2. I don't want to bother thinking about Freebooting. So my approach up to this point is I'm surviving ok, Freebooting is a part of life and hopefully one day tech will fix the problem.

I think YouTube's content ID is as good as anything out there and hopefully it continues to improve and identify stuff anywhere on the net.

aru3d4 karma

Hi Derek, thanks for doing this AMA and congratulations on the job as host for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert Youtube show. If you could ask Richard Feynman in one question, what would it be?

veritasium6 karma

Thanks! How did you find out about that?!

I think I'd ask Feynman about his art, because he was an amazing artist

aru3d2 karma

Thanks for the answer. :) I am the dude that loves science (and reddit) at the NPPC team. Hope to talk more about Feynman and Veritasium in Oslo. Cheers!

veritasium3 karma

Cool - has this been publicly announced now? I mean obviously it has now...

Alterux4 karma

Hello Derek! My physics book's official website uses many of your videos to make it easier for students to understand the material. Did you know this, and how do you feel about it?

Example: http://romstofftid2.cappelendamm.no/elevreal/tekst.html?tid=1201386&sec_tid=1300496

veritasium3 karma

I'm cool with it

azlhiacneg3 karma

How do you pick which question to answer first on Ama's?...

veritasium3 karma

Whichever one I see and feel I have a good/interesting answer for. Shorter ones are easier but some of the long ones are really important.

jotarenan3 karma

Hi Derek, greetings from Brazil!

Could you tell us the achievement you are most proud of, after all your career on Youtube?

Thanks, really enjoy your videos! Bye

veritasium3 karma

I'm proud of some of the videos, like Can you solve this? But the thing I am happiest about is that there is a youtube science community that I am a part of. And now we're making something real in the world with Snatoms

Smurray3143 karma

Hi Derek, couple of questions, how do you pick the topics you cover on Veritasium?

Also, I run into this problem where I want to be able to do everything. I want to build robots and do C# programming and start doing homebrew genetic engineering and model the functions of a human brain. What do you do if you want to everything but only have time for a limited amount of time and skill?

Edit: I edited out my HILARIOUS spelling mistakes on your name and channel. I'm not as original as I thought.

veritasium7 karma

I also want to do everything! There is a story about a guy who made a lot of money giving advice to Henry Ford (or someone, I may get the particulars wrong but the story goes). He asked Henry to make a list every night of the top three things he wanted to get done the next day. And then the next day, only do the number one thing. So my advice to you would be: do the thing you most want to do right now. At some point that may change and then you can change what you're doing but I think monomaniacal focus can be very useful. It's been useful for me.

YannisKats3 karma

Hi Derek, how interesting do you think computer science is? And what is the most fascinating way computer science and physics could be combined?

veritasium3 karma

I don't know about interesting (that's a matter of taste) but computer science is incredibly important. It's vital to so much science but places like the LHC come immediately to mind. If you're into it I'd say go for it because there is a lot of progress to be made in this area. One of my favorite computer science/physics crossovers is in simulating the quantum vacuum

D3ns0n3 karma

Hey Derek!

What are your thoughts on AI? Do you think it will lead to the end of humanity, or are you more optimistic about the future of AI?

veritasium8 karma

I am an Optimist Prime-marily because I think all the fear about AI's is overblown. We've still got a long way to go to see if real AI is possible and I don't think humans will create something so powerful we can't stop it.

jonathansalter2 karma

Derek, this is my special field of interest so I'd like to comment on this. Your position is an understandable one if you only have heard about the risk from AI from mainstream media outlets and some tweets from people like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, but have you read the now standard arguments for why superintelligence is possible and extremely dangerous? You should take a look at Nick Boström's Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, an excellent and very in depth guide to the subject of smarter-than-human agents.

veritasium3 karma

I'll check it out - thanks!

m_chaael3 karma

Are you single Derek? :)

veritasium6 karma

Nope! I am happily dating a wonderful woman who is doing her PhD in science. Simply put, she's awesome.

jonathansalter3 karma

Hi Dr Müller! Long time viewer, and we've also met, in Stockholm in March of 2014, which was an awesome experience!

I was wondering whether you could speculate on what the future of YouTube is? What do you think YouTube is going to be like 10 years down the line?

Also, do you have any favourite documentaries/science series (besides your own)? My favourite so far are the original Cosmos and Connections with James Burke.

Thanks for doing this AMA Derek, I've done my best to promote your content on Reddit as promised!

veritasium4 karma

I love connections! I was actually pitching a revival of the show.

Youtube in 10 years. Woah! Who knows what it will look like - they'll have changed it at least 20 times by that point. I do think we'll watch a lot more online video and I'd guess that much of that would be through YouTube but it's not a sure bet.

It was great meeting you in Stockholm!

janniktr2 karma

Hi Derek! I saw your video with Richard Dawkins and I was wondering if you talked about some other stuff, and if so, will you upload the whole conversation? I would be really interested in that! Thanks! :)

veritasium2 karma

We talked about lots of stuff. I really like the Selfish Gene stuff and will likely make a video about that at some point. D

Pauloguiz2 karma

Hey Derek, Where do you base your research for the videos? Thanks for hosting this AMA!

veritasium4 karma

Everywhere! Scientific papers are awesome sources, but often talking to scientists reveals things I never knew before, like the fact there is water on the moon! (Topic for a new video)...

Dan17on2 karma

Hello, all the way from Ethiopia. A huge fan of your work. As a Math enthusiast and Physics lovers I want to ask you what's your favorite Math or Physics equation? Explain.

veritasium4 karma

ei*pi+1=0 Does it get more beautiful than that?

bantersaur0us_rex2 karma

Hi Derek, What do you think will be the most revolutionary scientific discovery in the next 10 years?

veritasium8 karma

Gotta be in genetics - the amount of genetic information we're accumulating today and ability to manipulate the genome will lead to incredible breakthroughs understanding disease, aging, diagnosing and treating illness.

Gusta100692 karma

Hey Derek! Are you usually scared to be in large laboratories or doing complex experiments?

veritasium13 karma

Nope - that's where the science happens!! While working on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory we had to go down a mine shaft over 1km into the ground. When the elevator stopped we bounced up and down with an amplitude of 3 metres because the cable was so long. That was awesome!

mks1132 karma


I recall the first time I saw one of your awesome videos and noticed you also wearing an iron ring.

Do you associate yourself more as an engineer, a physicist, or an educator? Or does it really matter?

I'm an engineer at a nuclear plant and think you did an amazing job on Uranium. Keep it up!

veritasium5 karma

Haha, I don't think it matters these days. I'm a science communicator if I have to have a label but I worked my butt off for four years for that ring so it's staying with me.

Fun fact: my first job offer came from the nuclear plant outside of Toronto. I turned it down and moved to Australia.

Resemblence2 karma

Do you believe in randomness?

veritasium8 karma

Randomness cares not whether you believe in it or not.

AzBrah2 karma

Hey Derek. What's one physics phenomena that really blows your mind?

robmackenzie2 karma

How much time do you spend in Vancouver vs. Australia? It seems from your vids that you seem to split your time between the two.

veritasium6 karma

My quantum wave function extends over all continents! These days I'm living in LA, though my family is still in Vancouver and I love Australia and go back when I can. The balance of location will shift to be more North America centric now...

ItsKevinJ2 karma

Hi Derek What's the best thing about being a YouTuber? Also how does it feel like when random people recognize on the streets?

veritasium2 karma

Being able to do whatever you want most days, pursue the things that interest you, learn new things all the time, speak to interesting people, try to make something that other people will enjoy and learn from. When random people recognize me I am always excited because that is the most real validation I have that the numbers on the screen aren't lies, they are real living breathing people. And it feels so much more personal to meet someone and know that they know you in a way from the things I've shared online.

rougegorge2 karma

Hi Derek, I'm a huge fan of your thesis (and Veritasium). If you had to amend anything about your thesis based on your thus far cumulated experience with Veritasium, what would it be?

veritasium3 karma

Nope, my thesis is perfect. Ha! But seriously, Veritasium is not about research so it's hard to amend anything in that research document. I have certainly learned a lot about the artistry of filmmaking over the past five years but I always recognized educational video, like teaching, is both art and science. There are principles that work, and then there are creative choices you have to make that can help or hinder and whether it works or not maybe very context dependent.

jack_knol2 karma


First off, thank you so so much for all that you are doing in science communication, you are doing an absolutely amazing job.

Have you ever had any weird or unpleasant situations arise while you are questioning the general public for your videos?

Also when will you be in Perth next? I missed out on your last little meet and greet by about half an hour!

veritasium3 karma

It was actually in Perth where a guy tried to fight me because he saw me on the Rottnest ferry trying to interview people about when during the day are you lightest and where do trees get their mass from. He took my pen and wrote my name on his hand and then told me I had been standing there 15 seconds longer than I was welcome. I went on a soul-searching walk around Perth after that. Then I made the video: why do you make people look stupid?

Iavasloke2 karma

Good afternoon, Dr. Müeller! I recently discovered your channel via Vsauce binge, and I love the way you tackle misconceptions head-on. I thought I was pretty science savvy, but you helped me realize I definitely had some things wrong. Thanks!

I was most impacted by your video about nihilism. I have a set of spiritual beliefs that I hold dear, and your video made me deeply uncomfortable. I liked that, because I think we do our best learning when we confront what we believe and ask ourselves if we really believe it. So my question is: What first interested you in the nihilist perspective, and do you believe science has room for other beliefs? I would like to learn more about this discomforting topic, and would greatly appreciate any thoughts or sources you might be willing to share.

Thank you, and keep up the awesome work! I will definitely be getting some Snatoms when I start homeschooling the kiddos!

veritasium5 karma

My personal belief is that nihilism is what you come around to when you're finished fooling yourself. Now I'm not an absolutist and I readily admit that I might be wrong, but I suspect that I'm not. I think there is a trap that people fall into when they think: there might be an afterlife and there might not, reincarnation might exist or it might not, God might exist or maybe no. All of these things make it seem like the odds are 50/50. But in my view they really are not. Given everything we know about the universe, chances are we have no consciousness after death, there is no God, no reincarnation, no heaven. There is only these precious few years we have on Earth and then ultimate, everlasting nothingness so complete you can barely conceive of it. I find it hard to hold the idea in mind for long, and that's why I made the video, to remind myself.

usernumber362 karma

Hi Derek - love your work! I thought your documentary series on uranium was a cut above most other science documentaries.

My question is this - in your snatoms promotion, you mention how the magnetism helps concretely go against the popular misconception that bonds "trap energy". As a fellow science education guy, I'm constantly plagued by misconceptions like these and trying to find ways to fix them....

what do you think is the most common, yet highly inaccurate misconception out there?

veritasium2 karma

I made a bajillion videos about inertia in my early days because I think that is one of the most common, most persistent, and difficult to overcome. Most people have the idea that motion requires an unbalanced force.

salamishit2 karma

Hey Derek, big fan from Norway here, i saw the documentary Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail on the Norwegian state channel NRK. And i loved it. I was just wondering if you have any similar documentaries in the making? it always makes me happy when you upload a new video, the highlight of the day :)

veritasium4 karma

More is coming on Discovery International and a few projects after that. Plus I'm coming to Oslo! Dec. 10-11

dramaticdawkins2 karma

I enjoyed your videos on Facebook's misalignment of incentives, treating everyone as advertisers and making engagement costly through fake "likes". Has there been any official response to these criticisms? User base aside, what's your preferred social media platform from the perspective of an educator and creator?

veritasium4 karma

No official response, though some reporters sent Facebook's comments through to me. To me the behavior they engage in seems unethical and sneaky, like counting a view after 3 seconds of mute video. I get that it's a competitive space but they don't seem to want to play fair.

Having said that Facebook is great for organizing meetups - no other social media is so widespread and targeted. So for live events I wouldn't consider anything else.

For connecting to other people, making a difference in others' lives and having in impact on the world, nothing beats YouTube from my perspective, but of course I would say that because YouTube is my home on the internet.

Carloamato251 karma

How did you start veritasium?

veritasium2 karma

I just started. This is the most common question I get asked with the least satisfying answer. The honest truth is I made one video and then I made another. The key was not stopping (which I definitely thought about doing many times). I told myself when I started that I would give it at least 6 months to see if it would go anywhere. I tried doing the math: how many views would I need to get to live off the revenue? How many videos would I need to publish before I could hit 1 million views? The math seemed frightening considering my viewcounts at the time so I never thought it remotely possible that I could be successful. Then in my third month a video went big here on Reddit and I got 500k views in a few weeks. That gave me a little bit of motivation to keep on going.

hughescmr1 karma

What would you say to someone who appears unwilling to learn?

veritasium2 karma

see ya!

virgilinojuca1 karma

If you weren't a scientist, what do you think you would probably be? Or, what was your dream job growing up as kid?

veritasium3 karma

First thing I ever wanted to be was an author. I wrote horrible long stories where absolutely nothing happened when I was a kid. So maybe that would have been a terrible career choice for me. But I also wanted to be, at various points, an actor, director, filmmaker, engineer, scientist, so now I get to do lots of these things!

driesdries1 karma

I love your show! I've always wondered how many takes you have to do on average when doing a long monologue, because it always seems perfect. Do you write all your text yourself?

veritasium3 karma

I write almost all text myself and sometimes I do a dozen takes. Sometimes my monologues are not fully written though and I just ad lib on the spot. This makes pre-production quicker and post-production a lot longer as I struggle to piece together a coherent message.

MorphineBear1 karma

Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ben Affleck? If offered, would you take the role of Batman for the next decade or stick with making Veritasium videos?

veritasium5 karma

Yes. Yes they have. I would play Batman for one movie, but for a decade? Gotta stay true to Veritasium.

johnrod7241 karma

Dear Derek,

I am very happy that you decided to do an AMA! This is my first time commenting on reddit. My question: I teach a biology lab and I would like to know...how would you deal with students who are in college, but are having trouble thinking outside-of-the-box?

veritasium2 karma

Gah! I know that feeling. I'd give them an assignment where they have to think outside the box. They have to get comfortable not knowing and I think the only way to do that is to throw them in the deep end.

roshmar1 karma

Hey Derek, greetings from Mexico.

Was it difficult for you the change from high school physics to college physics?

It has been quite hard for me to adapt and I'm thinking to change careers.

Thanks a lot for your videos :D

veritasium3 karma

The transition from high school to college is always hard. I skipped half my classes in first year, my average dropped by 15% and I generally had a tough time. College is a good time to figure out what you want to do so if you don't feel like physics is right then try something else. Now is the time to figure out exactly what you want to do, what plays to your strengths, what motivates you, and what will fill a need in the world.

madesense1 karma

What's the longest period of time you've had between getting footage because you happened to be in the right place and releasing a final video?

How many videos are currently in a partially-finished state?

veritasium3 karma

I have footage from maybe a dozen things no one has seen yet. In fact I have footage from three years ago that will make its way into a video soon so that's probably the longest. Btw there is a snatoms reward for a screening with me and some of this never-before seen footage

timwenzel1 karma

Hi Derek!

if you must choose one video of Veritasium that shows best the character of the show, which one would it be?

Fishyjedi1 karma

When did your love for science start?

veritasium4 karma

I always loved it. Who isn't interested in finding out how things works? Magnets for instance are magical. Plants growing out of soil also seemed miraculous to me. This video is me talking about all the awesome magic of science that had me hooked at a young age.

solsang1 karma

Hi Derek, i would love to ask whether you dare to open for the possibility of reincarnation and other spiritual ideas outside the realm of science? Your life and death video seemed to show you believe in materialism even though you call it magic, while I think that it might happen that all our knowledge can continue and grow in a coming life, so that your love of science will continue to help people far into the future :)

veritasium3 karma

I certainly wouldn't rule it out entirely but I do think it is very, very unlikely. That's because we can imagine all sorts of great things like going to heaven and hanging out with friends all day with no work to do but it sounds a little too much like wishful thinking to me and it seems to ignore what we know about consciousness (it exists only inside living brains). But I certainly could be wrong.

DerpicaJR1 karma

Combining your love of physics and film could have lead to many different paths. Why did you choose to get your undergrad in physics vs film? What inspired you to get your PhD in the use of multimedia for physics education (vs animation/modeling, some form of camera engineering for example...)? Why did you choose Australia vs Canada, UK or US which all also have built out film industries.

veritasium2 karma

Film doesn't seem like a very stable career choice. I couldn't accept the idea of not being in control of my destiny (as I feel is the case for actors and directors) so I did something practical and reasonable, which is still very interesting to me and important: engineering physics. Later, once I was financially stable I thought I could pursue my film dreams on my own terms, and in the meantime YouTube was invented! Win-win.

The PhD was really my effort to merge my interests in science and engineering with my passion for creative endeavors like film and acting. I chose Australia because I wanted warmth, adventure, something different, exotic where I was out there all on my own.

custerdome1 karma

Hi Derek! What are your thoughts on traditional classroom education? I hated school but could watch science videos and documentaries (yours included) all day.

veritasium2 karma

I had great teachers and loved school so I think in the right hands it can be amazing and in the wrong hands it can be terrible. And it's sucky that education is inconsistent like that.

leShubitz1 karma

Hi Derek, greetings from Mexico.
What do you think is the best way to engage in meaningful conversations with people that disregard science? i.e. don't care about evidence, absolute relativists, conspiracy theorists, etc...

veritasium2 karma

Sometimes I think it's not worth the effort, but I also feel like we need to engage all people, especially those not already in 'the choir'. So I don't know, respectfully and listening more than trying to assert your views. That is always a good place to start.

sliceeguy-4 karma

ass or tits?

veritasium6 karma

Must say I'm a tit man myself, Great Tits are my favourite.