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60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

By Hamish Johnston

If you are a fan of astronomy and the comedian David Mitchell, the Open University has a treat for you. Mitchell and the OU have made a series of 12 short animated videos about the physics of the cosmos.

Called 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy, the series kicks off with a description of the Big Bang, comparing its roar to that of a middling rock concert. I’m still not sure how they worked up that analogy but it made me laugh.

Other explosive topics include supernovae and the Large Hadron Collider. The latter has a rather tenuous connection to what I would consider astronomy (as does the video on special relativity) but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

More astronomical subjects covered include exoplanets, black holes and life on Mars.

I enjoyed Mitchell’s “geek chic” narration, which has the perfect combination of authority and cheekiness to hold your attention.

So if you have 12 minutes to kill, enjoy the videos and tell us what you think about them.

Oh, and not to be outdone by Mitchell and the OU, we have a series of short videos that cover a wide range of physics topics in just 100 seconds. You can learn about everything from molecular gastronomy to quantum teleportation — and there’s more coming soon.


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One comment to 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

  1. John Duffield

    I watched the cosmology/relativity/LHC videos and thought they were pretty good actually. The Big Bang video was maybe a bit weak, the word singularity stuck out, and maybe it should have been alongside the Event Horizon and Dark Energy videos, and the Event Horizon video should maybe have been alongside the Black Hole video. But I liked the way the Event Horizon video said the universe can be likened to an inside-out black hole, I liked the way the Dark Matter video avoided WIMPs, and I liked the Einstein irony in the Dark Energy video. Maybe the LHC video was weak too, but hey, it’s too easy to carp. All in all I enjoyed the videos. They kind of gave me an uplifting warm glow, if you know what I mean.


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