10 YouTube Channels That Will Make You Feel Smarter

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(SPOT.ph) Knowing things is an amazing experience. For some, it opens opportunities to win game shows, but for others, the joy of gaining insight is the ultimate benefit. We call them geeks and nerds. Shirts promoting that culture are all over the place, but before you wear one, remember that there’s more to the label than just wearing thick plastic glasses and rubbing information in people’s faces.

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Geeking is taking pleasure in fattening up your brain and sharing the information with anyone who is willing to listen. Because science is fun and, in theory, broadens your perspective enough to make you kinder toward your fellowman. Understanding and compassion go hand in hand.


In that spirit, we’re listing 10 YouTube channels that promote an enjoyment of learning. Because ignorance is bliss only to those suffering from it.




1. List25

Format: Trivia narrated to relevant graphics.

Factoids in manageable portions. The videos are loaded with fun trivia about a wide range of topic, from Beyoncé to medieval torture devices. It's a good way to start getting into the groove of collecting information-that could come in handy somehow.




2. UC Berkeley, MIT, and  Stanford University

Format: Professors giving lectures.

Hardcore learning, here we come. It may not sound particularly exciting but think about it this way: it's like free college education, or at the very least, free college classes. People pay real money to get into these lectures; you only have to pay attention. Each channel uploads full courses on topics like General Psychology, Ethics in an Energy Crisis, East Asian Languages, and other specialized topics. If you want to go hardcore, log on now.




3. Veritasium

Format: Facts, myths, and ideas are tested for accuracy and zany questions answered through humorous skits.

Hurrah for the scientific method! Veritasium is, quite obviously, dedicated to all things related to science. Created by Derek Muller, it aims to promote both curiosity and skepticism. Muller encourages people to ask questions that seem somewhat embarrassing, like what is a candle flame made of? If you’ve ever been interested in finding out, this is the channel you should subscribe to. (Did you know that the sky isn’t blue? Find out why through Veritasium.)




4. Numberphile

Format: People making mathematics fun!

We’re picking the best sample video (see above), where the people behind Numberphile answer the ultimate question: why do people hate mathematics? The channel discusses everything with numbers: chess, 666, infinities, and Usain Bolt. Yes, Usain Bolt. It does require some patience, but if you’re ready to conquer your fear of math, the videos are waiting for you to watch. (Best quote: "Your ignorance can be used by the powers that be.")




5. TED Talks

Format: Awesome people giving motivational speeches to promote a "we can do this!" attitude.

We all fell in love with Joey Ayala’s inspirational Lupang Hinirang TEDxDiliman talk. If you want more of that, subscribe to the official TED channel and browse through thousands of brief pep talks from every kind of person imaginable-models telling people that beauty isn’t everything, scientists who will shake your faith, introverts asserting the power of being quiet. Warning: these talks are highly addicting. You’ll feel like you took happy pills, and you’ll be high on life after.




6. Big Think

Format: Short interviews with the best minds alive today.

Brief guides to life, the universe, and everything in between. Big Think is where physicists wonder if God is a mathematician, and where researchers want to know if you’re a psychopath. You’ll find out how to catch a liar and if you have the traits of a genius. The best part? They’ll tell you all about it in under five minutes. Learning: it doesn’t have to be excruciatingly difficult (or dull).





7. C.G.P. Grey

Format: Simple to complex ideas explained by a soothing voice and cool graphics.

Find out the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain now. You might also want to know why "continent" is a useless description for the huge mass of land we live in. C.G.P. Grey covers an interesting range of topics-things you never really give much thought to, like how democratic is voting? We wish he would upload more but his old videos are worth a repeat or two. Or five.




8. PBS Idea Channel

Format: Your obsessions explained.

Why does watching Adventure Time feel good? What does The Doctor mean to you, and is Doctor Who a religion? Once those questions have been answered for you, you might find yourself gravitating toward other things like music, games, art, and algorithms. And after that, you’ll find yourself getting sucked into the rest of the PBS Channel network. Go and geek out.




9. SciShow / Mental Floss / Crash Course

Format: The Green Brothers being awesome by talking to you and making you smarter.

We know, John and Hank are awesome. We know, it’s crazy that some people don’t know this. The Green brothers have been educating people since the beginning of Vlog Brothers, and over the years, they’ve formalized this in Crash Course, Sci Show, and, most recently, Mental Floss. All three channels basically feature John and Hank talking to you like you’re the only person in the world, sharing information about world history, chemistry, literature, but most fun of all, they debunk common misconceptions you have about life. Watch Hank Green explain Schrodinger’s Cat, so that you know what it really means. Plus, did you know that Snow White’s evil queen mom has a name? It’s Grimhilde. Check out Mental Floss’s 44 Fictional Character Names Revealed. The Internet: use it wisely.




10. Minute Physics

Format: Scientific concepts explained in the briefest, simplest way possible-with quirky time lapse drawings.

Remember when they discovered the Higgs Boson and you didn’t even know what that was? Minute Physics will take care of that problem. Henry Reich wanted to make learning accessible in every possible way. This means not just making the materials available, but also inviting. The channel has expanded to Minute Earth, which operates under the same concept of uncomplicating science for people without having to dumb it down.


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