Brain food: top 10 Youtube channels for learning something new

Education doesn’t have to end when you graduate. There’s a ton of information out there, and there’s always more to learn. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds, buried under the sheer weight of human knowledge on offer. Especially in the age of the internet, the struggle is frequently not in finding information, but in controlling its flow.

That’s where the channels below come into the picture. Each has taken on the role of educator, explaining their chosen field in layman’s terms, using simple graphics and engaging presentations. There’s a lot to learn in this world, but it’s always nice to have someone guiding you through it and equally as nice to have excellent WiFi so your videos don’t buffer.


Veritasium is a Youtube channel run by Derek Muller, focused primarily on engineering, physics, and chemistry. Each of his videos explains unique or interesting physical phenomena or illuminates hidden aspects of otherwise ‘normal’ objects and situations.

In the video above, Muller explores the ruins of Chernobyl, giving viewers a look at the long-term impact of the world’s greatest nuclear disaster, and its impact on the environment.


Channel owner Evan Puschak takes a different approach, exploring the disparate fields of linguistic theory, art history, and pop culture. If Veritasium represents the STEM side of things, then the Nerdwriter channel represents the humanities.

In the above video, Puschak examines the unique characteristics of Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, noting the masterful ways in which the Reverend referenced moments in America’s revolutionary past through his words and phrasing.


Returning to the world of STEM, there’s Vsauce. Home to an eclectic group of individuals, Vsauce content is characterized by wide-ranging examination of particular fields, with an almost stream-of-consciousness style approach. Michael Stevens, the channel’s producer, and host, rapidly leaps from topic to topic, yet always manages to remain both informative and engaging.

The above video outlines the legal status of space and celestial bodies, referencing more terrestrial issues in the process.

Minute Physics

As the channel’s title indicates, Minute Physics is all about physics and short-form videos. Creator Henry Reich focuses more heavily on the underlying mathematics of physics than the other channels on this list but nonetheless remains fairly accessible for an audience without a physics background.

If you’ve ever been caught outside in the rain, then the above video is for you.

Extra Credits

Moving away from the physical world, there are Extra Credits. If you’ve got questions about video games, then Extra Credits has answers for you. Their content focuses on celebrating the unique artistic, psychological, and social aspects of gaming, as well as the underlying technological and industry-specific characteristics of the medium itself.

This clip examines the issues surrounding political representation in gaming, and narrator Daniel Floyd presents a compelling argument for further exploration of political issues through that lens.

Real Engineering

Returning to the hard sciences, Real Engineering focuses on explaining unique engineering issues and historical anecdotes, with a specific orientation on aviation. Brian McManus’s videos, much like the others on this list, often begin with a simple question that balloons into a more complicated topic.

For example, the above video begins with a simple, if somewhat odd, question leading to a discussion surrounding both little-known historical facts, and a short run-down on the effects of widespread nuclear testing during the Cold War.

Tom Scott

In his own words, Tom Scott makes “things” that will “probably come back to haunt [him] in a few years’ time,” including “web video and television.” This somewhat vague and self-effacing description sells Scott short; his videos cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the history of Bluetooth (going back to the time of the Vikings) to the great pigment war, as well as experiments involving lightning and drones.

In the clip above, Scott takes a critical look at the nature of government backdoors in services like WhatsApp, as well as the nature of modern-day encryption.

Mark Brown

Much like Extra Credits, Mark Brown focuses on analyzing video games, approaching them from a developer’s perspective and picking apart their underlying systems. Like many of the other channels on this list, Brown’s content tends towards the 10-15 minute range, but that time frame allows him to delve deeper into his topics than channels with shorter videos.

In the above video, Brown examines the development and evolution of gaming AI, pointing out that sometimes the right course is to focus less on creating intelligence than on creating fun.

CGP Grey

CGP Grey focuses primarily on geopolitics, providing insight into the problems and the attributes of the modern political landscape. In his videos he’s explained the electoral college, the significance of gerrymandering, and, as seen in the above video, why Americans both do and don’t have a national ID card.


Lastly, the only official news program on the list: Vox. Their “explainer” style videos do a credible job of describing our modern world through info graphics and narration. Though their content has a marked slant given its target audience (primarily college students), their videos nonetheless provide factual and well-researched information in a compelling manner. The above video, for example, breaks down how difficult it is to illustrate black holes.